Installation view of Artists as Cultivators looking through a doorway to the Washington Foyer and another doorway

River Towns Magazine | Spring 2024
"Birthplace of the American Art Museum" By Patti Zielinski

"The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in Philadelphia, holds a dual distinction as America’s first art school and first museum of fine arts. Inside the museum, visitors will find a world-class…

In the News
Color photograph of John Rhoden posing by a public art sculpture in front of the entrance to the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

"You might not know much about John Rhoden’s Nesaika, but you have walked past it every time you have passed Seventh and Arch Streets. The 9-footbronze sculpture, which stands outside the African American Museum in Philadelphia, was dedicated on June 10, 1976, by Mayor Frank L. Rizzo.

Eight days…

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View of a wooden sculpture on display in an art gallery with a person in the background.

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…

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Determined To Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, October 5, 2023– April 7, 2024 in the Hamilton Building. Courtesy of PAFA. Photography by Adrian Cubillas.

“I can’t overstate the importance of the archives, you really need to have a bit of an understanding and appreciation for his life, to fully understand his work,” says Dr. Brittany Webb, curator of the collection.

"Along with the Evelyn and Will Kaplan Curator of Twentieth Century Art and the John…

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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

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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. 


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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
Saya Woolfalk projection

"It’s just a few blocks on Arch Street between the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the United States, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded in 1976 to celebrate the achievements of African Americans from pre-colonial times to the current…

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marble statues on wood pallets
On the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer today, Peter Dobrin writes 'Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts closes historic building to reimagine permanent collection.'
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Gallery view of portrait paintings
A review of the major exhibition, including each of the five subject areas: portraits, history, still life, genre and landscape
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abstract sculpture mounted on wall
As part of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s series “A More Perfect Union,” which explores the roots of systemic racism in America through institutions founded in Philadelphia, Dr. Synatra Smith and Zoe Greenberg examined the legacy of Black artists at PAFA.
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installation view of galleries with blue and red walls and landscape paintings
Five art experts on their favorite pieces in Making American Artists: Stories from PAFA, 1776-1976.
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About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the United States’ first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers a world-class collection of American art, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and educational opportunities in the fine arts. The PAFA Museum aims to tell America's diverse story through art, expanding who has been included in the canon of art history through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, while classes educate artists and appreciators with a deep understanding of traditions and the ability to challenge conventions. 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.