Sophie Sanders is an artist, art historian, and curator. She holds a BFA in Printmaking from the School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis, MO; an MFA in Printmaking from the Slade School of Art, University College London, England; and a Ph.D. in Art History from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She has shown her figurative and pattern-based fiber artworks, prints, and paintings nationally in Venice Beach and Oakland, California, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Missouri, New Jersey, and New York City, and internationally in London, Scotland, and Japan.  In 2017, her work was featured in the exhibition Message to Our Daughters at Philadelphia’s City Hall and Danny Simmons' Rush Gallery.  In 2018, Sanders was a featured artist on the Woodmere Art Museum's podcast about the Woodmere Annual, Diving Board.

Sanders has received grants, solo exhibitions, and fellowships for her art and scholarly projects. Her dissertation, entitled Spirited Pattern and Decoration in Contemporary Black Atlantic Art, was published by ProQuest in 2013.

She has taught art history as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Arcadia University, Ursinus College, and Tyler School of Art at Temple University, where she currently teaches a course on race and identity in American art.  Sanders will be teaching an art history course for Swarthmore College in 2019.

Curriculum Vitae



  • PhD in Art History, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia. Dissertation: Spirited Pattern and Decoration in Contemporary Black Atlantic Art


  • MFA, Printmaking, The Slade School of Art, University College London, England (1997)


  • BFA, Washington University in St. Louis, MO
  • Temple University Rome Art Program, Rome, Italy


  • University of Georgia Cortona Program, Italy

Select Exhibitions, Projects, and Commissions


  • Fleisher Art Memorial Wind Challenge (planned for 2018 – 2019 season)
  • My work included in the 77th Woodmere Annual Exhibition and also featured on the Woodmere Art Museum's podcast about the Woodmere Annual, Diving Board:


  • Politics Unusual, curated by Raphael Tiberino, Rush Arts, Philadelphia, PA
  • Message to Our Daughters, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA


  • The Written Image, curated by Susanna Gold, PhD, private exhibition in curator’s home, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • The Woodmere Annual: 75th Juried Exhibition: The Condition of Place, curated by Odili Donald Odita, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA (June 4 – August 28, 2016)
  • Viral: 25 Years From Rodney King, traveling exhibition which included public programs and community events and will continue to travel until 2018.  The first two venues include: SPARC’s Durón Gallery, Venice Beach, CA (April – June), Betti Ono Gallery, Oakland, CA (September – November)
  • In Case You Didn’t Know performance video by singer-songwriter Rhonda Ross featured some of my portraits. Ross debuted the video at her concert at Joe’s Pub, The Public Theater, New York, NY (November 14, 2016)


  • Fabric Workshop and Museum, Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, Philadelphia, PA (December 17, 2015 – March, 2016)


  • Temple Judea Museum, “Step Into My Studio” Said the Artist to the Prophet, Elkins Park, PA (September 2014 – January 2015)
  • Limner Gallery, A Show of Heads, Hudson, NY (October 25 – November 23, 2014)


  • Kunstenlab, Laboratorium plein 1, In Kritieke staat, The Netherlands,
  • Napoleon Gallery, Big And Little: Charity Art Sale, Philadelphia, PA


  • Colonial Wallpaper, Philadelphia, PA


  • Projects Gallery, Art Styles – Abstraction, Philadelphia, PA
  • Projects Gallery, Máscara (Mask), Philadelphia, PA


  • Blanket of Security, a project funded by the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, in conjunction with Fighting from the Sidelines: The WWII Home-Front, Temple Judea Museum, Elkins Park, PA (solo exhibition)
  • Fox Art Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Undressing Race, curated by Race Dialogue Project, Philadelphia, PA
  • Some Things Looming: Simply IrRESISTible, Reading, PA
  • Snyderman Gallery: Seventh International Fiber Biennial, Philadelphia, PA


  • Art City Hall, On the Fringe of Fiber, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
  • Gallery 355, “Intersubjective,” New York, NY (solo exhibition)


  • Es Oro Polymedia Gallery, Conflicted, Jersey City, NJ
  • Vivant Art Collection, “Spirits in Motion,” Philadelphia, PA (solo exhibition)


  • NURTUREart, The Occidental Artist, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • School of Architecture, Tyler School of Art ofTemple University, Seams and Surfaces, Philadelphia, PA
  • Grand Opera House, Delaware, The First Annual Humanities Conference of the International Society for the Advancement of Africa, “Connecting with Self,” Wilmington, DE (solo exhibition)


  • African American Museum, Rhythm, Remembrance, and Re-Presentation,  Dallas, Texas (solo exhibition)
  • Danny Simmons’ Corridor Gallery, Rhythm, Remembrance, and Re-Presentation, Brooklyn, NY (solo exhibition)
  • Fabric Workshop and Museum, The Unspoken Truth, in conjunction with Lonnie Graham’s A Conversation at the Table, Philadelphia, PA         
  • Philadelphia Folklore Project, Community Fabric, Philadelphia, PA

Select Private Collections

  • Leonard Colchamiro, Director, Leonard Colchamiro PC AIA Architects
  • Muriel Davis, the Economist
  • Valentin Fuster, Director, World Heart Association
  • Kelli Morgan, Curator of American Art, Indianapolis Art Museum
  • Major General Hugh Robinson and Paula Raymond
  • Rhonda Ross, singer, songwriter, and activist
  • Pierre Schori, United Nations Ambassador to Sweden
  • Danny Simmons, Curator, Artist and Executive Director, Rush Philanthropic Foundation
  • Daryl Stenvoll-Wells and “Art Responders”

Museum Education and University Teaching Experience


  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, Swarthmore College, will teach “Facing Race and Identity in American Art


  • Adjunct Instructor, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Arcadia University, “African American Art History”, an endowed position for a course new to the university.


  • Adjunct Instructor, Art and Art History Department, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University, “Survey of Janson’s History of Art” for 85 undergraduate students
  • Summer Arts Institute Philly Program Coordinator, Studio Institute (NYC).  I taught and supervised the work of 16 summer college interns at 12 Philadelphia museums and cultural organizations


  • Visiting Critic for Graduate Programs, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA
  • Adjunct Instructor, Department of Art History, St. Joseph’s University, “Contemporary Art and Architecture” for undergraduates.


  • Adjunct Instructor, Department of Art History, University of Pennsylvania, “Facing America: Race, Gender, and Identity in American Art", an undergraduate GenEd course
  • Adjunct Instructor, Art and Art History Department, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University, “Contemporary Art Issues,” a graduate seminar in contemporary art


  • Invited Instructor, The Barnes Foundation.  This course “Avant-Garde Modernists and African Patterns in the Barnes Collection” focuses on works in the foundation collection and the Magic Ladders exhibition by Yinka Shonibare, MBE


  • Adjunct Instructor, Tyler School of Art, Temple University.  Teach courses on “Race, Identity, and Experience in American Art,” an art and art history course offered to Tyler School of Art and Temple University students


  • Tour Training and Outreach Manager, Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM), Philadelphia, PA.  Prepare exhibition trainings for FWM education and visitor services staff, curate family and community events and assist with education initiatives. I organized public programming and outreach events for the QuestionBridge: Black Males exhibition and spring Family Day programs.  Over my many years at FWM, I have managed collaborations with local and international cultural organizations and museums, and other educational initiatives

Conferences / Curatorial Projects / Symposia


  • CraftNOW: Fluid Boundaries Symposium, guest speaker, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA
  • National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates 2017 Conference, “Keith Morrison Paints a Transatlantic Consciousness” lecture with Tony Brown, M.D., Dallas, TX


  • African Studies Association Conference: #BlackLivesMatter: Transnational perspectives on the body, violence, and     performance, Co-chairs: Kim Miller, Nicholas Mirzoeff, “Nick Cave’s Soundsuits: Armor for Black bodies and Spirits,” San Diego, CA (November)
  • African American and Affiliates Annual Symposium: Sacred Geometry in the Work of John Biggers, invited speaker, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (February)


  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts' Art at Lunch series, “She’s the Boss: Mickalene Thomas’ Glittering Odalisques,” lecturer (April)


  • Call & Response: A cross-disciplinary symposium on the intersections of Visual Art, Music, and Dance, lecturer and artist presenter. Created hand-painted and indigo-dyed costumes for performance by the dance company Kariamu & Company, Conwell Dance Theater, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Graduate Symposium: Women in American Art, presented in conjunction withThe Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World, lecturer. Recipient of Tyler School of Art’s Thomas Eakins Award for participation in this event, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA


  • Faces of Africa and its Diaspora: a multimedia exhibition of portraits of influential black and multiracial artists from the 20th to the 21st Centuries by Tyler School of Art and Temple University students. It was accompanied by an exhibition catalog, for which one of my students received the Dean’s Grant. Stella Elkins Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA


  • The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas, and The Caribbean of the Graduate Center of The City University of New York Conference: The State of African American and African Diaspora Studies: Methodology, Pedagogy, and Research, speaker, Philadelphia, PA


  • From Taboo to Icon, Africanist Turnabout, exhibition of 35 artists exploring concept of taboo and icon in the African Diaspora. Co-curated with Shervone Neckles for Ice Box Project Space, Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia, PA 


  • African Impressions / Contemporary Art symposia series for Art History Department, Tyler School of Art of Temple University:

Program 1: Mining History for African Voices featuring Kimberly Camp, Ayanah Moor, Tumelo Mosaka, Dr. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, moderator: Odili Donald Odita  (November 7, 2006)

Program 2: From Taboo to Icon: Images of the Black Body featuring Allan Edmunds, Naomi Beckwith, Dr. Emily Hage, Dr. Deborah Willis, and Lonnie Graham, moderator: Dr. Susanna Gold (February 27, 2007)

Program 3: Fist& Foot: Remix of African Performance in Visual Art: featuring Dr. Robert Farris Thompson, Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Odili Donald Odita,Dr. Gaynell Sherrod, moderator: Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, and a performance by Kariamu Dance Company. (October 9, 2007)

  • Sensitivity and Spirit in the Art of African Women, symposium in conjunction with the Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions exhibition. Symposium Curator and Moderator. The event featured: Dr. Joyce Ashuntangtag, Xenobia Bailey, Dr. Adrienne Hoard, Simone Leigh, and Shervone Neckles. The African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA (March 31, 2007)
  • Transformations, Renewals and Reconfigurations Conference, speaker, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • The Aegis First Annual Symposium on Art History and Visual Culture: Cross-Cultural Encounters, speaker, University of Louisville, Kentucky

Project Funding / Grants / Awards




  • Temple University Provost’s Commission for the Arts Fellowship
  • Joan Mitchell Foundation, support of catalogue and shipping for From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout exhibition
  • Temple University Alumni Association support of African Impressions / Contemporary Art symposium
  • Tyler Student Life support of From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout exhibition
  • Crane Arts support of From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout exhibition
  • Transformations, Renewals and Reconfigurations Conference, guest speaker, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Temple University Alumni Association support of African Impressions / Contemporary Art symposia
  • Tyler Student Life support of African Impressions / Contemporary Art symposium
  • Tyler School of Art’s Office of the Dean support of African Impressions / Contemporary Art symposium
  • Art History Department of Tyler School of Art, Temple University support of African Impressions / Contemporary Art symposium


  • Guest Speaker at an Evening of Women of Opinion, Consulate General of Sweden, NY.


  • Scholarship Participant of Building on Familiar Ground: New York City Board of Education Summer Institute. Using the Katherine Dunham Model: assisted in assessment of program and produced a unique interdisciplinary curriculum for University students


  • Drum TV internship in Harlem, and Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, NYC. (1998)


  • First Prize winner for Carolyn Risque Award, Secor Award 2 years, Elliott Honors, (1991-1992)
  • Dean’s List 4 semesters (1989-1992)
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