John W. Rhoden, (1916-2001) (Bust of Richanda), n.d.

In Determined to Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts presents the first comprehensive retrospective of the sculptor and international envoy, who absorbed cultures and networked with artists from Zanzibar to Uzbekistan.

Read the full article "A World at His

In the News
People walking around the Lenka Clayton, Story of a Stone, exhibition.

At the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), wandering spaces with paint on canvas or sculptures in a gallery only describes a fraction of the experience. PAFA is a space for vibrant and ever-evolving conversations, where voices from every background are heard, where artists at every age and…

John Rhoden at the installation of his sculpture, Zodiacal Curved Wall, at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia in 1957.

The first retrospective for John Rhoden at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts sheds light on the history and meaning behind his public art in Philadelphia. 

In the latter half of the 20th century, the renowned Black American sculptor completed several commissions in and around the region. 


In the News
John Rhoden carving a sculpture
Determined to Be: the Sculpture of John Rhoden is more than just an exhibition of artworks; it's a discovery show about love, art, life, travel, and determination. As you wander the exhibition, you'll explore not only John Rhoden's sculptures but also through themes, styles, and materials, the story…
Multiple people stand together posing for a picture

It is with great sadness that PAFA joins in mourning the death of Dr. Constance E. Clayton, Philadelphia’s first Black and female schools’ superintendent and longtime collector of African American art.  

In 2019, Dr. Clayton gifted to PAFA a collection of 78 paintings, works on paper and sculptures…

Black and white image of John Rhoden sculpting

From Oct. 5 through April 7, his work will be on display in “Determined to Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden” at PAFA. Through about 70 of his works in bronze, stone, and wood, as well as archival materials, the exhibit will seek to tell the story of an artist some people say is unsung, yet ahead of…

In the News
banner image of red, orange, and green imitating rising sun

To commemorate the exhibition, the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts have published an exhibition catalogue that will be released September 2023.

PHILADELPHIA – The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) and the Pennsylvania Academy of the…

Press Release
banner image of photo of artwork

PHILADELPHIA – Aug 29, 2023 - The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) celebrates 20th century African American sculptor John Rhoden (1916-2001) with the exhibition, Determined To Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden, the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work. The exhibition…

Press Release
Interior of dorm room in Stiles Hall

Making the transition from living at home to sharing space in a dormitory can be daunting for many newly enrolled college students. Questions like ‘Will I get along with my roommates?’ or ‘How will I cook for myself?’ or ‘What if I need help?’ are likely to arise for anyone embarking on a new…

Eric Wagner in his studio sharing marble sculpture

For Eric Wagner (BFA ‘23), studying at PAFA is about having the space and time to try

“It's been a pretty wild ride. I’ve gone through times of painting, and other times of drawing more and writing and all kinds of things. More recently I broke into sculpture so now I do sculpture all the time too.”


Anna Hoppel in her studio posing with her paintings.

On any given day, Anna Hoppel (BFA ‘23) could be anywhere  

She might be painting in her Center City studio at PAFA, taking archaeology classes in University City at the University of Pennsylvania, hanging out at home in West Philadelphia, or painting the epic hills of Manayunk, the Philadelphia…

Katya Dennison Share their pieces exhibiting in the ASE.

Since high school, Kathryn “Katya” Dennison (PAFA-Penn Coordinated BFA ’23) has found her passion in traditional oil painting and drawing

She entered PAFA in 2020 with a focused aesthetic at the front of her mind, knowing she could use the PAFA-Penn Coordinated BFA to craft a fine arts and liberal…


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.