Posts tagged Party
Interview with Kate Young: Hosting Inspiring Events at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
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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.

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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!

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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!

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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 If you’d like to know about other programs, exhibit schedules, or the school, visit our website at!

Gemma Gene

Gemma Gené is an architect and visual artist from Barcelona, Spain, based in New York. She moved to the United States to earn a Master in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University. After working at Steven Holl Architects, she focused on developing her artistic studio work.

Gemma works on sculpture, painting and drawing. Her two-dimensional work focuses on very large realistic paintings and drawings. Her work is a different take on reality. She takes daily objects like balloons, food, glasses etc. and wraps them or uses specific compositions to communicate a message or a sensation. She relies on urban art to make her work accessible. She has participated in the 100 gates project and has done murals in Barcelona, Spain. Her three-dimensional work shares her architectural language and is a study of volume and geometry using stone, concrete, and 3D print.

Her work has been shown in New York at the Accessible Art Fair, the Greenpoint Gallery, the Allies Gallery and Figment New York and in Barcelona at the Palo Alto Foundation. She is best known for her online comic 157ofgemma where she narrates in an ironic fashion her life with her inseparable pug Mochi that has a very strong following on social media.

Her work has been published in many books, and online blogs like Artnet, Archdaily, The Jealous Curator, and Design Taxi amongst others.


I believe in the beauty and power of common objects to communicate feelings from fun to sadness or loneliness. And I am fascinated by reflective materials, balloons, and transparencies. I am especially fascinated by balloons because they are very humble objects, but they have a life of their own (not unlike us) in which they grow towards being more and more inflated very quickly and then begin a slow process of decay and deflation. Foil balloons are very reflective, so their appearance is also affected and modified by their surroundings, again, not unlike human beings. In my work, I like taking everyday objects and editing them so they become something else, changing the perspective we have of them and giving us a chance to look at the beauty of the world surrounding us with fresh new eyes.

I wrap objects in a material that hides the object and reflects its surroundings. The series Unapologetic Paintings is a collection of installations, street art pieces, sculptures and realistic paintings and drawings of wrapped objects. In this series, the object is hidden and the only thing showing it is its skin or its wrapping, and it can only be revealed by the user’s imagination. What the viewer sees is a "skin" that summarizes the object's geometry creating a new one. I rely on urban art to make my work accessible. One of the pieces of my series Unapologetic Paintings was a street art piece where the object wrapped was my dog Mochi to protest using dogs as objects.

Scale is very important in my work. I am very drawn to large scale format, because I believe that when an art piece is big enough it has the power to make you feel like you can jump into it, allowing for a different kind of intimacy in which every detail is visible. Big scale artwork also has the power to distort the perception of your own scale. I think that it is particularly relevant in our current society of immediacy and digitalization, where we often experience the world surrounding us through small smart phone screens, to stop and take the time to observe and really take in a piece of this size (and to devote the time to make it).