Venue Spotlight – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts


Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America’s first school of fine arts and one of the world’s most distinguished. With a prime location directly opposite the Pennsylvania Convention Center and in close proximity to Philadelphia’s premier hotels, PAFA offers two unique venue options for an off-site reception Combining the traditional with the contemporary, PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building is one of America’s finest examples of Victorian Gothic architecture and is juxtaposed with the Academy’s Hamilton Building, a soaring contemporary space.

PAFA’s buildings are available during the daytime for board meetings and small seminars.  After museum hours, the spaces are available for corporate cocktails, receptions and dinners, private parties, nonprofit galas and auctions. Added to the prestige of PAFA is on-site caterer Stephen STARR Events, a leading restaurateur in Philadelphia responsible for inspirational dining experiences at restaurants such as Morimoto, Buddakan, El Vez, and The Continental.

Few settings in Philadelphia can offer a more gracious elegance than the galleries of the Academy’s Historic Landmark Building. Opened in 1876 for the nation’s Centennial Exposition and World’s Fair, its unique architectural detail and breathtaking artwork makes the Historic Landmark Building a lavish setting for any event. Capable of hosting up to 400 guests for a cocktail reception or 180 guests for seated dinner, the possibilities for a post-conference soiree are numerous.

If a more modern setting is preferred, PAFA’s newly renovated Samuel M. V. Hamilton Building is also an option. Originally built in 1915 as an automobile manufacturing plant and showroom, the building offers a contemporary space capable of hosting up to 800 guests for a cocktail reception throughout the entire building or up to 460 in a smaller space within the building.

Unique entertainment highlights on offer for events include art students for hire to do sketches of guests, or to recreate paintings from PAFA’s permanent collection which dates back to 1720. Meeting planners can also consider hiring a Docent (guide) and offering mini tours of the galleries.

To learn more about hosting an event at PAFA, vist


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