The American Federation of Arts is the leader in traveling exhibitions internationally. A nonprofit institution founded in 1909, the AFA is dedicated to enriching the public’s experience and understanding of the visual arts through organizing and touring art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishing exhibition catalogues featuring important scholarly research, and developing educational programs.
In 1909, then Secretary of State Elihu Root outlined AFA's mission in an address to the National Academy of the Arts: to enrich the public's experience and understanding of art, primarily by taking original works "on tour to the hinterlands of the United States." Since its founding, the AFA has organized or circulated approximately 3,000 exhibitions, with presentations—in every state, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa—viewed by well over ten million people. Today, the AFA continues to explore new opportunities to cultivate fertile ground for the broadest dissemination and appreciation of the visual arts.
AFA exhibitions encompass a wide range of mediums, artists, historical periods, and cultural traditions, from Roman portraiture and Native American artifacts to American impressionism and contemporary art and sculpture. The AFA also collaborates with distinguished institutions around the world to tour important aspects of their collections. To further engage and inform museum visitors and art enthusiasts, the AFA produces innovative educational components and richly illustrated catalogues introducing original scholarship.
100th Anniversary Publication
In his opening address to a convocation at the National Academy of Arts, Secretary of State Elihu Root called for the formation of an agency that would send “exhibitions of original works of art on tour ...
Board of Trustees
AFA's Board of Trustees is made up of a combination of art patrons, collectors, and museum leaders from institutions nationwide. A series of committees that carry on the day-to-day work of the Board report back to the full board at one of its three annual meetings.