Installation view of sculptures by John Rhoden

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) enters the final 10 days of Determined to Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden, the first major retrospective celebrating the legacy of Rhoden, a visionary sculptor whose work continues to inspire generations. The exhibition’s final day is Sunday, April 7…

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PHILADELPHIA – March 22, 2024 - The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has launched a new digital guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies. PAFA is the first cultural organization in Philadelphia, and one of hundreds around the world…

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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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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.
Jennifer Bartlett, (1941-2022) Shadow, 1984 Etching, soft-ground, aquatint, spit bite, and drypoint (7 plates) on Fabriano Tiepolo paper each sheet: 30 x 22 1/4 in. (76.2 x 56.515 cm.) (4 sheets) John S. Phillips Fund and the Collector's Circle, 1989.15

PHILADELPHIA – February 13, 2024 - The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has opened the exhibition, Artists as Cultivators, an examination of how artists have fostered critical social dialogues over three centuries through their use of nature as a subject, theme, and material. The…

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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.
second floor landing

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) today announced plans to wind down its BFA and MFA degree-granting programs and return to its roots, recommitting itself to expanding the stories of American art through its collections and exhibitions and providing arts education for the full…

Press Release
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.
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…

In the News
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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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.