Oil on canvas painting with spot glitter and mirror marker depicting two guinea fowl in a blue and yellow circle, with a purple rhombus shape in the background.

Featured image: Barbara Sosson, GUINEA FOWL, 2023, oil on canvas with spot glitter & mirror marker, 48 x 36 inches. © Copyright, Barbara Sosson, Philadelphia, PA USA.

PAFA is deeply intertwined with the life stories of numerous artists, including Barbara Sosson, the president and treasurer of the…

Reconstructed print of "The Kaohsuing Series" depicting a person holding a mirror and seeing their reflection

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) remains steadfast in its commitment to honoring women artists year-round, engaging in partnerships, curating collections, organizing exhibitions, and developing programming that celebrates women in the arts. We actively educate, collaborate with, and…

Archival files spread out on a table.
Renowned for its training in the arts, PAFA, which had been open to enrollment for Black artists since the mid-19th century, became the preferred institution for Theodore E. Wells (1922-1998) to realize his artistic aspirations, made possible by funding from the GI Bill.
Black and white photograph of a Black man wearing a hat working on a sculpture of Frederick Douglass
John Rhoden's enduring legacy lies in his notable public sculptures, such as the Frederick Douglass statue at Lincoln University and the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth bust at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, inviting reflection on civil rights, historical remembrance, and cultural unity.
Peale House Gallery Exhibition: Peter Miller: Paintings (Exhibition dates: January 30, 1969 - March 9, 1969)

“I would rather fail at painting than succeed at anything else in life” writes Peter Miller on her 1933 application to study at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. 

The next time you visit Center City, be warned - a visit to Morton Contemporary will leave you deeply…

Shiva Ahmadi - Red Light, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 56 x 72 in. Commissioned by PAFA for Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America, courtesy Haines Gallery, San Francisco
Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America will be closing soon at PAFA. Featured here are a selection from all the amazing artists who contributed to the exhibition.
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 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…

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…


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.