*To develop a community of Friends interested in the arts
*To nurture the arts within the Religious Society of Friends
*To celebrate and share with others the work of Quaker artists
*To join Quakerism and art in our lives as expressions of personal creativity and spiritual witness
We believe that spirituality and art have a synergy which deepens our individual spiritual wellbeing, our Society’s spiritual health, and our ability to make our witness known through our art. FQA aims to join Quakerism and art in our lives as we move toward wholeness.
FQA could not have existed until recently. For centuries Friends held that the arts were self-intoxicating and untruthful, that art encouraged “vain imaginings” and distracted us from “attending to the pure Life” and doing God’s work. Attitudes changed slowly. In his 1978 Swarthmore lecture, “Signs of Life,” Ormerod Greenwood called our forebears’ shunning of the arts “a grave misreading of the Divine purpose.” We agree. The evolution of Friends’ views on the arts is presented through quotations in our book, Beyond Uneasy Tolerance, compiled by Esther Murer.
The Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts began in 1993 with a Friends Theater Group in Burlington Quarter of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. A member of the group, Minnie Jane‒a painter and sculptor from Trenton NJ Monthly Meeting‒felt led to patch the broken connections between the spiritual and the esthetic, between artists and other Friends. Minnie Jane contacted British Friends of the Quaker Arts Network, collected names and addresses of North American Quakers involved in the arts, and founded FQA as an independent Quaker organization.
Productions of the Friends Theater Group were soon followed by art exhibits, poetry readings, coffee houses, dinner meetings featuring one artist, and neighborhood arts festivals. FQA has hosted art shows and receptions at art galleries, at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s annual sessions, and at our own arts conferences. We published a literary anthology, The Best of Friends, edited by Chuck Fager, and we have a quarterly journal, Types & Shadows. Each issue of T&S features the work of member artists.
In 1998, at the annual summer Gathering of Friends General Conference, FQA inaugurated the Lemonade Gallery, an exhibition and performance space which became one of the Gathering’s most popular attractions. Eventually the Lemonade Gallery morphed into FGC’s Quaker Arts Center, which FQA manages for FGC.
We have members throughout the US and in Canada. From time to time we publish a directory with information about members and their art activities. Members are welcome to participate in FQA-sponsored art shows and other art events and to be listed on our Links to Members page.
Membership in FQA is open to individuals and institutions who are in harmony with our purpose. We welcome artists and supporters of the arts, Quakers and those who are not Quakers. Members’ dues provide most of our income. We also welcome support, financial and spiritual, from Monthly Meetings and other Quaker bodies. Contributions to FQA are tax deductible.
The Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts is a ministry of Trenton Monthly Meeting.
Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts (FQA)
119 Burnett St.
Baltimore, MD 21230