2019-2023 Strategic Plan

Mission Statement

As the first art museum and school in the United States, PAFA celebrates the transformative power of art and art-making.

PAFA inspires the public by expanding the stories of American art through its collections, exhibitions, and programs; and educates artists from around the world to be innovative makers and critical thinkers with a deep understanding of traditions and the ability to challenge conventions.

Through its world-class museum and school, PAFA nurtures and recognizes artists at every turn in their career.


PAFA will be an inclusive, creative community of artists and audiences seeking education, contemplation, inspiration, and dialogue.

Core Values


Education in 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, from youth programs to training for professional artists.


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. PAFA is also committed to serving the full breadth of our community through relevant collections, exhibitions, programs, partnerships, and educational opportunities.


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


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

Diversity and Inclusion

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

I. Provide Exceptional Educational and Student-Life Experiences for Aspiring Artists

Goal Statement

PAFA will educate students to have a strong foundation in fine arts traditions, a breadth of knowledge across media, and an engagement with contemporary art, artists, and ideas. Through project-based learning, students will develop the professional skills to connect their artistic practices with the greater art world and beyond.

Key Objectives

  • Expand PAFA’s curriculum to prepare students for success in the 21st century, by building on PAFA’s core strengths, and expanding opportunities for intensive study in digital media, papermaking, and teacher training, while providing opportunities for students to learn deeply from PAFA’s Museum collections, exhibitions, programs, and staff, and the professional opportunities offered by the Brodsky Center.
  • Develop the facilities and other resources necessary to support PAFA’s faculty and new curricular initiatives, including expanding classrooms and technology for digital media and creating a new papermaking studio for the Brodsky Center at PAFA.
  • Dramatically increase online course offerings through Continuing Education, expanding access to PAFA’s programs and reaching new audiences nationally and internationally.
  • Enhance support for students ensuring their success at PAFA including health and wellness, professional practices, and student housing.
  • Provide support to alumni, recognizing them as life-long learners and ambassadors of PAFA. Offer continued learning opportunities through online career workshops, promote alumni success, and provide sales and exhibition opportunities. Engage alumni in recruiting, and establish mentoring programs where alumni share their experiences and success with students.

II. Develop Relevant Museum Collections, Exhibitions, Programs, Scholarship, and Digital Engagement that Educate and Inspire the Widest Possible Audiences

Goal Statement

PAFA collects, exhibits, preserves, and interprets the sweeping and evolving stories of American art in order to encourage contemplation, spark dialogue, and inspire diverse audiences of all ages.

Key Objectives

  • Broaden the story of American art so all stories are told--recognizing the creative contributions of emerging artists, women artists, and artists often overlooked by the mainstream canon. Select museum exhibitions will tour nationally (perhaps internationally) and seek national press.
  • The Museum will provide rich and rewarding art-filled experiences for its audience, thereby rewarding our current supporters and earning new audiences, through visitor engagement and campus improvements.
  • PAFA’s Museum has healthy philanthropic support and active press coverage reflecting its vibrancy, relevance, and accessibility to the community.
  • The Museum works collaboratively with the School to deepen the relationship and expand opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the public. Students, in particular, will greatly benefit from an active and collegial relationship, including through internships, project-based classroom experiences in the museum, and closer collaboration.

III. Develop PAFA’s Brand as the Arts Institution that Promotes the Lifecycle of the Artist

Goal Statement

PAFA has a unique and mutually supportive value proposition for branding and marketing its School and Museum nationally. PAFA’s unique differentiator is leveraging its interdependent mission as a school and museum of fine art, elevating the artist from student to professional through training, exhibition, collection, and acknowledgment through awards.

Key Objectives

  • By using earned and owned media, show how, PAFA recognizes the achievements, innovations, and growth of artists through exhibitions, collections, scholarship, programs, and awards.
  • Highlight the unique mission of the museum in the breadth of the stories it tells about American art and artists from myriad backgrounds and for its unique visitor experiences through collections, exhibitions, public programs, and digital media.
  • Emphasize the value of PAFA’s school for its “incubator” art-school experience that supports the development of student-artists through its curriculum, highly-mentored education, and training in the business of being an artist.
  • Create and publicize alumni stories to support the value propositions of the institution, showing their academic and professional experience as a lifecycle of the artist. These stories will be used in supporting enrollment, fostering ambassadorship, and increasing alumni engagement and philanthropic support.
  • Raise PAFA’s national brand awareness including the appointment of Trustees in each of the top 10 major metropolitan cities, engagement with new philanthropists and collectors, recruitment of national talent, and the development of national tour schedules for PAFA’s collection and exhibitions.

IV. Dramatically Increase Revenues to Realize PAFA’s Mission through Growth in Endowment, Annual Fundraising, Enrollment, and Earned Revenues

Goal Statement

PAFA will grow revenues by $6 million from $19 million to $25 million per annum by fiscal year end 2023 through increased enrollment, earned revenues, and philanthropy from PAFA alumni, friends, volunteers, parents, and institutional partners.

Key Objectives

  • Grow the operational endowment by $25 million by the fiscal year 2023 for an increase in the annual draw of $1 million.
  • Increase annual fundraising revenues by $2 million from $4.4 to $6.4 million or more annually by 2023 for operations, including exhibition support.
  • Grow school enrollment by 100 students in the undergraduate programs and net tuition by $2 million from $5.1 million to $7.1 million by year end 2023.
  • Increase Auxiliary Gross Revenues:  Facility Rentals, Museum Store, Museum Admissions, Brodsky Center Art Sales, Continuing Education, and Museum Education by $1 million (from $2 million to $3 million) by 2023.
  • The museum will increase membership, visitorship and philanthropic support by offering exciting and successful exhibitions and programs, as well as strategic acquisitions of American art.

V. PAFA Will Be a Leader in Using Technology to Engage Visitors, Educate Art Students, and Conduct Business

Goal Statement

Use technology to transform the museum visitor experience, expand the ways students make art, offer robust opportunities to purchase PAFA goods and services online, and optimize business practices.

Key Objectives

  • Incorporate technology into museum practice and the museum experience to engage a broader public in the galleries and online.
  • Expand the school’s facilities and equipment to provide students with increased technology and support for producing high-quality digital imaging, video, and animation work.
  • Implement a unified e-commerce platform to sell products from the museum store, editions produced by the Brodsky Center, student/alumni/faculty artwork, Continuing Education, and summer camp registrations, and other goods and services in a way that is quick, convenient, and user-friendly.
  • Create a web strategy that is fully aligned with PAFA’s overall business strategy, and support clearly defined objectives to promote the PAFA brand and reputation, school enrollment, museum exhibitions and programs, and growth in revenues.
  • Continued investment in technology infrastructure to support program offerings, academic quality, alumni relations and development, income diversification, and exceptional student experience.

VI. PAFA Will Be Recognized as a Diverse and Inclusive Cultural Institution and Workplace

Goal Statement

PAFA’s Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, curriculum, exhibitions, collections, services, and programs will represent the breadth of the communities we serve.

Key Objectives

  • PAFA’s Board of Trustees and other volunteers (such as the Women’s Board, docents, etc.) reflect the communities we strive to serve.
  • PAFA’s hiring, onboarding, professional development, training, and assessments embody best practices to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive faculty and staff.
  • PAFA’s curriculum, exhibitions, programs, facilities, policies, and services reflect the needs and contributions of our region and nation’s diverse composition to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive student body.

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.