Professionally-equipped 265-seat Arts Center Auditorium on the lower level of the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building

The John and Richanda Rhoden Arts Center

Coming in 2019—PAFA's new multidisciplinary art space

PAFA's new Arts Center is a 15,000 square foot multidisciplinary facility located on the lower level of the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building. The Arts Center comprises a 265-seat auditorium, a new gallery for student art, and collection storage vaults for 19th- and 20th-century works of art.

The state-of-the-art Auditorium is equipped with professional-grade technology for lighting, sound, and projection, and can accommodate music and dance performances, lectures, film screenings, and other events. This new space is 85% larger than PAFA's previous auditorium in the Historic Landmark Building, which will be renovated and repurposed as a new gallery for exhibitions of contemporary art.

Adjacent to the auditorium is a new, improved Student Art Gallery. This dynamic space showcases approximately twelve annual exhibitions featuring work by current PAFA students, faculty, alumni, and staff. These exhibitions are curated by PAFA faculty and the students themselves.

The Arts Center also includes new Collection Storage Vaults for 19th- and 20th-century works of art. These state-of-the art facilities have enabled us to increase our overall storage capacity by 80%, and will help expand and preserve PAFA's unparalleled collection of American art.

Arts Center Partners

In addition to programs created by and for the PAFA community, the Arts Center features performances, concerts, lectures, and other events created in partnership with our Arts Center Partners. These partnerships with multidisciplinary cultural organizations throughout the city have enabled us to expand our programming beyond the visual arts, and attract new audiences to our campus.

Arts Center Partners include the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, with more to be announced.

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

Furthering the Future of American Art

The Arts Center features a 265-seat auditorium, a new gallery for student art, and collection storage vaults for PAFA's permanent collection


About John and Richanda Rhoden

In 2017, PAFA acquired the estate of the artist John Rhoden (1918-2001), which included over 320 works by the under-recognized African-American sculptor. Proceeds from the Rhodens' Brooklyn estate will help fund an exhibition of the artist's work, a scholarship for students from diverse backgrounds, a curatorial position, and support the construction of the Arts Center. In recognition of this momentous acquisition, PAFA will name the Arts Center Auditorium in honor of John and his late wife Richanda.

PAFA will accession a number of Rhoden's works for its own permanent collection and will help place the remainder of the works within the collections of other museums around the world. Select sculptures will be exhibited in dedicated vestibules throughout the Arts Center Auditorium.

Arts Center Groundbreaking 2017

Programming in the Arts Center is scheduled to begin in early 2019. Visit our events calendar to learn more.

Support for the Arts Center is provided by the generous donors to the PAFA First Campaign.