Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
About Our College
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was founded in 1805 by painter and scientist Charles Willson Peale, sculptor William Rush, and other artists and business leaders. The growth of the Academy of Fine Arts was slow. For many years it held its exhibitions in an 1806 building, designed by John Dorsey with pillars of the Ionic order. It stood on the site of the later American Theater at Chestnut and 10th streets. The academy opened as a museum in 1807 and held its first exhibition in 1811, where more than 500 paintings and statues were displayed. The first school classes held in the building were with the Society of Artists in 1810.