By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Fabric Workshop and Museum near 12th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia has unpacked 40 years of its own history. It’s opened hundreds of Artist Boxes that were stacked floor to ceiling, and put the contents of nearly 60 boxes on display.

The exhibition now on view, is curated by Executive Director Susan L. Talbott.

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(credit: Steve Tawa)

“This behind the scenes stuff,” she said. “This idea of pulling back the curtain on how art is made was absolutely fascinating.”

Called “Process and Practice, 40-years of Experimentation,” Talbott says those Artist Boxes were bursting with notes, sketches, and prototypes, and they’re paired with finished works that were produced in FWM’s workshop.

(credit: Steve Tawa)

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“To excavate this material was the best possible way to celebrate the Fabric Workshop’s 40-years,” she said.

She says “opening each box was a gift.”

“And they give us the gift of all of their thinking,” Talbott said, “and all of the research and material that they leave behind.”

Talbott says the Artists-In-Residence who passed through were “free to experiment, even fail, in creating their dream projects” and this display shows off their “creative process.”

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“This idea that artists don’t always have to succeed is embedded in the DNA of this organization,” she said, “unlike a traditional museum, which is mostly interested in the projects that make it.”