Founded in Rome, Italy shortly after the 1893 World’s Fair Exposition in Chicago to promote talented Americans in the fields of art, music and literature.
Organizers were painters, sculptors and architects who had worked together on the Exposition and included Augustus St. Gaudens, Charles McKim, William Mead and Christopher La Farge. They determined that young Americans should have a similar experience to what they had working together during the Exposition and set up a three-year program.
The focus was on fellowship, and the Academy motto was “Not merely fellowships, but fellowship”. The address of the Academy, which continues to operate today, is 5 Via Angelo Masina, which is an eleven-acre site atop Janiculum Hill.
It attracts students in the arts and humanities including persons skilled in art, literature, music, architecture, historic preservation and landscape architecture. Attendees, through a national juried competition, receive the Rome Prize, (Prix de Rome), which varies in duration from six months to two years—-a difference from the original three-year enrollment.
The Library is extensive and includes access to the Vatican Library. An American office of the Academy is at 7 East 60th Street in New York City. American painters and sculptors who have attended the American Academy in Rome include Paul Manship, Mitchell Siporin, Raymond Saunders, Hermon MacNeil, Russell Cowles, Eugene Savage, Albert Krehbiel, Ana Mendieta, Alan Gussow and Charles Keck.