The American Academy of Arts and Letters is comprised of 250 American members who have excelled in the fields of art, music, literature, or architecture. The society is headquartered in a beautiful uptown space, adjacent to the Hispanic Society Museum. While the gallery makes for a pleasant and relaxing day trip, the society is only open during select seasons during the year. Watch the calendar to make sure you do not miss one of the rare exhibitions.

Have we not forty living men-of-letters whose names would honor such an academy? ...A list of the names of the forty American authors of the sterner sex whom they deem most worthy of a place in a possible American Academy.
- 1884 Article 'Have We Forty Immortals?'

What You Will See

Twice a year the society hosts a major exhibition. In March it organizes an annual invitational of visual arts, featuring works by contemporary American artists--some current inductees into the society and others who are likely candidates for the future. The other exhibition, usually held in May and June, features works by new members and recent society award winners. While still featuring visual art, this exhibition celebrates achievement in other fields, adding literature, video, and architectural models to the exhibition. During both exhibitions, the Charles Ives studio, carefully transported from the composer's home in Redding, Connecticut. The studio and the rest of the society building are closed to general visitors outside of exhibition times.

Why You Should Go

Twice a year, gallery-goers have a compelling reason to head up to 155th Street. The society's exhibitions gather together some of the most notable names in contemporary American art, architecture, and literature. Members of the society have included such names as Ron Chernow, Isabelle Allende, Willem De Kooning, Philip Glass, and David Mamet. As with other contemporary exhibits, you may not love everything you see, but it is one of the most-reliably diverse exhibitions in the entire city.