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¡Presente! Media | PAFA digitizes 5,000 archives of African-American sculptor John Rhoden

"'I'm kind of surprised about how prolific he was,' said Mike Sparrow, one of the participants in Dr. Webb's exhibition tour at PAFA museum on Saturday, February 10."

Némesis Mora attended the John Rhoden Catalogue Launch and Symposium and wrote an article for ¡Presente! Media:

"In a remodeled four-story building at 23 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn, New York, 20th-century African-American sculptor John Rhoden lived with his wife, Richanda Rhoden, from the 1960s until the last year of his life, 2001. The 8,000-square-foot home served as his studio and an unofficial art gallery where Rhoden kept his collection of nearly 300 bronze, stone, and wood sculptures. The works, some as tall as 10 feet, were prominently displayed in the building’s grand window, which often served as a point for Brooklyn Heights discussions. The Rhodens' home was a community gathering place where the couple enjoyed making art accessible by hosting tours for friends, neighbors, and students and offering art classes and workshops.

'Getting to walk through the house was really incredible because then I got a sense of how all of that sculpture lived in the space,' said Dr. Brittany Webb in an interview with Presente! Media. She is the Evelyn and Will Kaplan Curator of Twentieth Century Art and the curator of the John Rhoden collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA).

'It was mind-blowing,' Webb continued, 'Because I thought: Oh, this is so much bronze sculpture that was in one person's house.'
To continue the legacy of the award-winning sculptor and the first African American visual arts fellow at the American Academy in Rome, PAFA, took custody of more than 275 sculptures from his Cranberry Street home in 2017, as well as personal papers, photographs, and color slides that highlight Rhoden's extensive travels abroad, visiting three continents and more than 20 countries. PAFA will keep only 25 of the sculptures, and the remaining will be distributed to museum collections around the country.

Now, people from anywhere in the world can access Rhoden's life and work online thanks to PAFA’s work to digitize 5,000 objects from Rhoden’s career, funded by a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities grant."

Read the full article "PAFA digitizes 5,000 archives of African-American sculptor John Rhoden" online at (February 27, 2024). Determined to Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden is on view at PAFA until April 7, 2024. 

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, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.