Interview with Kate Young: Hosting Inspiring Events at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Tell us about the PAFA venue space. When did this program open up and what types of events do you host?
PAFA has been inviting special events in its spaces for decades, but it’s really taken off in the past five years. Businesses and couples are interested in shedding off the traditional banquet hall for something unique. By using spaces that inspire guests right when they walk in allows for hosts to set a mood from the start of their event! About half of our clients are couples getting married, and the other half are non-profit and corporate clients hosting events to honor their employees or their business partners.
Share a little bit of history behind the building.
There are two buildings adjacent to each other that are available for guests to use. The Historic Landmark Building is the oldest museum in the country and has displayed a collection of American art from 1871. This space is an architectural masterpiece and reflects aspects of the Gothic revival movement in the US as well as Venetian designs, Eastern ornaments, and cast-iron work.
The Samuel Hamilton Building was actually built to be a car storage facility and showroom in 1916. The first two floors are now a modern gallery space that are shared by our event guests. Architecturally, the space is grand with expansive ceiling heights and a grand stair case that seems to float in the space. The interior structure of the massive building is supported by a triangular grid of interior concrete columns; once a practical way for cars to pass through the space, and now a wonderful way to allow for wide open gallery and event spaces.
Both buildings offer incredible spaces that serve a purpose other than events. In that way, they feel to me like they are more inviting and exciting!
What are some exciting attributes and bonuses to having an event at PAFA?
PAFA events naturally feel like you’re gaining secret access to the museum after hours – because you are! We are one of the only museums in the area that allow you to dine in the galleries rather than an offshoot event space. That makes for an incredible backdrop for your event space!
We work to provide a really seamless experience for guests for easy planning– with convenient parking garages or valet, coat checks, dance floors, lighting and A/V packages, and in-house tables and chiavari chairs. We take a lot of the guesswork out of throwing an event by having a team of experienced planners and event hosts!
What role does PAFA play in the Philadelphia arts and culture community?
Through our spectacular galleries, our internationally known school of fine arts, and our public programs, PAFA strives to provide students and visitors alike with a unique and thrilling experience. We’re always striving to be a source of inspiration for the Philadelphia community and grow our offerings to our students and the public. For example, PAFA was just awarded $500,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for the institution’s Campus Master Plan. Partnerships with local groups like Mural Arts – who’s office is in our Hamilton Building – allows us to stay involved in the art and culture scene outside of our galleries!
How can those interested learn more and get in touch?
If you’d like to rent one of these incredible spaces, email Venue Sales Manager, Kate Young firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to know about other programs, exhibit schedules, or the school, visit our website at www.pafa.org!