Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Courtesy of the PAFA.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Gifted $2 Million

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia has received a donation of $2 million from national trustee Ken Woodcock. The funds will endow the museum’s historical American art curator position, which is currently held by Anna O. Marley. A longtime supporter of PAFA, Woodcock also made a major gift to the institution in 2015 for its capital campaign, PAFA First: For the Future of American Art, and for its archives, which were renamed the Dorothy and Kenneth Woodcock Archives in honor of the Woodcocks’ generosity.

“PAFA maintains a distinguished and enduring legacy as a national leader in the collection, study, and exhibition of historical American art,” said Ken Woodcock. “This has been the case since PAFA’s founding in 1805, and recent exhibitions and acquisitions prove that it holds true today. It is a pleasure and a privilege to endow this curatorial position, and to play a role in ensuring that this legacy endures into the future.”

Recent major exhibitions of historical American art at PAFA include “From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic” (2019) and “World War I and Art” (2016–17). The Woodcocks also lent works from their own extensive collection for “Etch and Flow” (2019) and “Gardens on Paper” (2015). PAFA houses a permanent collection that includes historical masterworks by Cecilia Beaux, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Benjamin West.

Museum director Brooke Davis Anderson said: “In the context of our challenging and uncertain contemporary moment, it is such a joy for PAFA to receive this forward-looking gift, which will help to ensure that the institution continues to thrive. PAFA’s mission is to tell the full and sweeping story of American art, and the work of the Kenneth R. Woodcock Curator of Historical American Art is and will continue to be central to that mission in the years to come.” Kevin F. Donohoe, chair of the board of trustees, added: “On behalf of the board and all his fellow trustees, we are deeply grateful.”