2014-2018 Strategic Plan


PAFA promotes the transformative power of art and art-making.


PAFA will inspire the future of American art by creating, challenging, cultivating, and celebrating excellence in the fine arts.

Core Values

EDUCATION. Education in the fine arts is the center of all that we do. PAFA is committed to providing widely accessible art education and experiences to people of all ages and levels of expertise.

COMMUNITY. PAFA’s unique community of scholars, curators, aspiring and established artists, faculty, critics, alumni and staff delivers intense, personal experiences with art and art making.

TRADITIONS. We believe that to achieve a distinctive voice, contemporary art and artists must have active engagement and dialogue with historic fine arts traditions.

STEWARDSHIP. We responsibly steward our collections and campus through preservation and scholarship for the benefit of current and future generations.

DIVERSITY. We are deeply committed to ethnic, cultural, gender, and artistic diversity in the student body, faculty, professional staff and volunteers, and actively seek to reflect the needs of diverse audiences in our programs and collections.

Goal Statements and Key Objectives

EXHIBITIONS – PAFA will be known for intellectually rigorous, accessible, and popular exhibitions that promote PAFA’s distinguished history to a national audience, and that introduce Philadelphia audiences to important American art and artists.

Key Objectives:

  1. Develop a long-term, best practices planning model that includes mobilization of community partners for all exhibitions, touring of select exhibitions, and measurements of success.
  2. Integrate the school, its programs and the exhibition plan through a coordinated effort.
  3. Determine the best use and location of all exhibition galleries.

TRAINING ARTISTS – Redefine fine arts training for the 21st century that maintains a strong commitment to mastery of traditional fine arts approaches and techniques while embracing new approaches to contemporary media, professional practices, collaboration, and community engagement.

Key Objectives:

  1. Develop the curriculum and services to create individualized learning plans, integrate history and criticism with practice, incorporate digital and online learning resources and foster cross-disciplinary learning, including team-taught courses that put different disciplines and aesthetic perspectives in an active dialog.
  2. Through professional development and hiring, develop the faculty and staff to support these new curricula and approaches, including expertise in new media tied to the traditional disciplines.
  3. Evolve the school facilities to encourage collaboration and mixing of disciplines, and provide better video and digital imaging capabilities.

COLLECTIONS – Maintain the strength of our 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st-century collections by building on our tradition of actively collecting contemporary art.

Key Objectives:

  1. Establish a sufficient Collections Endowment Fund to promote the active collection of contemporary art.
  2. Develop and implement plans for collections storage, conservation and permanent exhibition galleries for modernist and contemporary art.
  3. Enhance cultivation of outright and planned gifts of significant works of American art, with a particular emphasis on addressing gaps in the collection.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION & ENGAGEMENT – Integrate and enhance our community offerings, building upon our combined strengths of making, understanding and appreciating art, to strengthen PAFA’s role as a leading art education resource in Philadelphia.

Key Objectives:

  1. Create and sustain programs that support lifelong learning opportunities for segment-specific audiences.
  2. Create a welcoming, accessible and coherent visitor experience that features art and art making.
  3. Develop the facilities and technology to support an exceptional visitor experience.

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.