Eric Pryor Appointed President of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to announce that Eric Pryor has been appointed president of the historic museum and college, beginning January 18, 2022.

One of America’s cornerstone cultural institutions, PAFA is poised to move forward into its next significant institutional chapter. A strategic, creative, and collaborative leader, Pryor is skilled at guiding institutions through transitions and will partner with PAFA’s constituents to reimagine the organization and ensure its long-term sustainability.

Eric Pryor, incoming PAFA President
Eric Pryor, incoming PAFA President

“I am profoundly honored to be taking on the leadership of this historic and celebrated institution,” said incoming PAFA President Eric Pryor. “I am eager to work in partnership with the PAFA board, staff, faculty, students, and alumni, and start writing its next chapter together. I’m also delighted to be returning to Philadelphia and its varied communities. It is a city of great art and artistry, with PAFA as one of its crown jewels.”

Eric Pryor brings over 25 years of experience in education, museum administration and community-building initiatives to PAFA. He joins PAFA from the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA), where he has served as president since 2015. During his tenure he secured a significant gift that enabled the school to undertake its first major renovation in 40 years and move toward becoming a cultural hub for the neighborhood. Previously, he served as Executive Director of The Center for Arts Education, was Executive Director of the New Jersey State Museum, and President of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Pryor began his arts career as Executive Director of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s Center for Arts and Culture (CAC) in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of Tyler School of Art, Temple University (Master of Fine Arts) and Wayne State University (Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting), and Columbia University’s Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofits.

“We unanimously chose Eric Pryor as the next President of PAFA because he has all the qualities we hoped for in our next leader: he is strategic, collaborative, and innovative, with the sensibility of an artist,” said PAFA Board of Trustees Chair Anne E. McCollum. “He will bring a new dynamic to our 216-year old institution that will help us respond to our changing society. I’d like to thank everyone involved in our extensive and inclusive search process resulting in the best possible outcome as we move forward together as an institution.” 

“Eric Pryor resonates with PAFA’s shared core values as an institution—its traditions, commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as to education and stewardship, and its foundational bedrock of community,” said Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Board of Governors Chair Reginald M. Browne. “He made a palpable connection with the PAFA community, and I am confident that he will be a passionate advocate for PAFA’s legacy.”

About the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America’s first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Maxfield Parrish, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. Learn more at PAFA.org.



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