Traveling Lecture Series

PAFA staff are bringing the stories of American art and artists alive through talks that can be delivered to groups virtually or in person. If you have an audience, we have a lively speaker and interesting topic. For information about scheduling and booking fees, contact Abby King, Assistant Director of Adult Programming at


Single Lecture - $500, $300 for non-profit or PAFA corporate partner

Single Talks Available In Person or Over Zoom: 

Women in Motion: 150 Years of Women's Artistic Networks at PAFA: This illustrative lecture explores the artistic networks of women artists exhibiting, studying, and teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from its founding in 1805 to the end of World War II. The majority of the work will be from PAFA’s remarkable permanent collection, including paintings by Cecilia Beaux, Violet Oakley, and Laura Wheeling Waring. 

This whirlwind presentation includes tales of fancy dress, border crossings, and broken hearts that are woven throughout this groundbreaking exhibition, demonstrating yet again how Philadelphia, and PAFA specifically, has always been the artistic hub of an extraordinary community of artists. 


Single Talks Available Exclusively Over Zoom: 

Philadelphia Firsts: A History of Philadelphia through Art The historic collection  in PAFA's galleries captures the story of Philadelphia as a city on the cutting edge of the 19th century, leading the country toward new discoveries in technology, science, creativity and civic engagement. Take a whirlwind tour of artworks that illustrate Philadelphia's greatest accomplishments as a city of firsts, including the founding of the first museum, public water system, steamboat, medical school and even the first celebrity scandal to splash out across national newspapers.

Frank Furness and George Hewitt: Architects of a Historic Moment: On April 22, 1876, while America celebrated its centennial, PAFA opened a new building that rose 70 feet above the sidewalk,  a towering fortress filled with  radical design elements that awed citizens even then. By exploring the process of commissioning the building and sourcing its materials, as well as the intertwining design motifs of the American landscape and the American industrial revolution that wind through its galleries, the rich story of our 100 years of American progress is visually articulated in a single building.

Modern Spirit: Henry Ossawa Tanner: Henry Tanner grew up in Philadelphia in the years after the Civil War and went on to become a pioneering African American artist on the world stage. Tanner's story, particularly the intertwining influences of race, religion and modernist experimentation, involves journeying from Philadelphia to rural France, through European Red Cross stations in WWI to the rooftops of the Holy Lands, in order to explore how one artist navigated the technological, political and cultural changes of the 20th century on a global scale. 


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PAFA offers programs for artists and art lovers of all ages and skill levels who want to learn about and make art.