Do You Know PAAM?

PAAM is the cultural anchor of the Provincetown Art Colony, and we need your support to keep it that way. So much happened here in 2017…


One of the most frequently asked questions by visitors to PAAM has always been “Do you have any Hoppers?” Finally, our answer is “Yes!

In 2016, we were gifted ninety-six drawings by Edward Hopper, sixty-nine drawings and watercolors by Josephine Hopper, and twenty-four diaries chronicling the Hoppers’ lives on Cape Cod and beyond. PAAM now has one of the largest collections of Hopper works, second only to the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Hoppers have returned home.

PAAM’s attendance has sky-rocketed, with crowds travelling from all over to see the Hoppers. The passionate interest in these great works led us to extend the exhibition to January 28, 2018. Gifts of this magnitude speak volumes. The donors of these extraordinary materials recognized that PAAM is the proper repository for them, and that we will uphold the highest level of care, scholarship, and visibility.


Wherever you go in Provincetown, PAAM is there. Our collection hangs in the Museum, at Seamen’s Bank, at local businesses, in schools, in Town Hall, and with other trusted stewards of our treasured artwork.

PAAM houses nearly 4,000 works of art by more than 800 artists – a century’s worth of stories, artists, ideas, and meditations on the unique light, space and community that is the Outer Cape.

Through rotating exhibitions featuring work from the permanent collection, including Highlights and Recent Gifts shows, PAAM is able to express Provincetown’s rich history of art and artists, from 1890 through to the present day.

The PAAM collection weaves together at least three major art movements—each a significant strand of American art history—and creates perspectives that demonstrate the Provincetown art colony’s indispensable role in the larger art world.

Embedded into PAAM’s mission, the collection is truly at the heart of our organization. A glance at the newly released Permanent Collection catalog shows how many hundreds of people have been moved to express their generosity through contributions that comprise the vast majority of works in the collection. Amassed over an entire century, PAAM’s growing collection has been donated by people who are committed to keeping the great art of this region here where it was created.


PAAM students are both long-time Provincetown residents and first-time visitors. Their teachers are well-respected artists who are living and working here on Cape Cod.

Continuing the vibrant tradition of the great teachers in Provincetown’s past—Hawthorne, Hofmann, Hensche, Webster, Pfeiffer, Moffett, and so many more—the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Museum School provides students of all levels the opportunity to work with local, professional artists in a variety of settings and media—both en plein air and in the traditional studio classroom environment.

Celebrating 25 years of youth education, PAAM’s award-winning donor and grant-funded youth programs have nurtured the next generation of Cape Cod artists by offering a free, supportive place to be creative.

In the Fall and Spring months, K-12 students and young adult mentors are in the Museum School four days a week, taking the hour-plus long bus ride after school to find their art-making home-away-from-home. These programs are deeply enriched by collaborations with local schools, art organizations, galleries, and individual artists. Students working in the new START! program receive small-group direction from visual art and writing fellows from the Fine Arts Work Center who spend their winters honing their craft in Provincetown.

Deepening Provincetown’s bond with contemporary art, the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation Grant makes new connections with extraordinary artists across the country and introduces them to Provincetown and its creative legacy.


Our members make the wheels turn. They are a diverse group of artists, neighbors, business owners, vacationers, collectors and visitors from 28 states and eight nations with one essential trait in common: a love for Provincetown art.

PAAM members are engaged, community-oriented, and forward thinking. Their work hangs in the galleries ten months out of the year, in six open and juried exhibitions, including one of PAAM’s favorite and most successful fundraisers: the annual Members’ 12×12 Exhibition and Silent Auction. Whether it comes to installing a member show, taking a workshop, or just stopping into the Museum to enjoy a beautiful exhibition, members are part of PAAM’s daily fabric.


Presenting exhibitions is integral to PAAM’s ongoing vitality, and is embedded in our mission. The 2017 exhibition season saw a diverse mixture of artists, styles, and time periods, all connecting to the Provincetown Art Colony.

Contemporary artist such as Mark Adams, Marian Roth, and the young local artists featured in the spring’s Emerging Artists exhibitions (Naya Bricher, Julian Cardinal, Antonia Da Silva and Colin McGuire) hung alongside exhibitions highlighting the Outer Cape’s important history: JFK100, Tod Lindenmuth, James Lechay, Budd Hopkins, Jim Forsberg, Wellfleet Printmakers, and Works from PAAM’s Permanent Collection. The galleries are further enlivened by exhibitions of work created in our after-school and weekend youth programs: Art Reach, Art on the Edge, and the Reaching Forward Mentor Program.


The Art Association was first formed as a union between artists and townspeople. This spirit of collaboration has continued for more than 100 years. Organizations such as the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and the Massachusetts Cultural Council are tireless supporters of PAAM’s mission. Working with them, and other state-wide groups, enables us to create impactful, far-reaching programming, while partnering with our neighbors like the Fine Arts Work Center, Center for Coastal Studies, Seamen’s Bank, and Angel Foods helps us make a difference right here in our own back yard.

PAAM’s history is rich with partners—individuals, couples, and cultural organizations—who have nurtured our artistic environment. Since its inception, the Provincetown art community has been a source of inspiration, igniting the imagination of all who come in contact with it.


In 2016, PAAM revitalized our Adopt an Artwork program to connect works from our permanent collection that need some TLC with conservation-minded donors. Within weeks of the program’s launch, several pieces had been adopted, and began their journey to being restored to their original condition.

All artwork that comes through PAAM’s doors is displayed and stored in state-of-the-art facilities, ensuring a safe home for priceless objects. Conserving, preserving, and protecting the permanent collection is at the forefront of PAAM’s mission, and the Adopt an Artwork program plays an essential role in enabling us to do so.


As the anchor of the Provincetown Art Colony, it is critical that PAAM continues to be a trusted and responsible guardian of the important artwork created on the Outer Cape. Our modern facility – from our temperature controlled galleries and storage areas to our advanced security system – not only allows us to borrow artwork from public and private collections across the country, but also enables us to accept extraordinary gifts such as the Hopper collection. As we look towards PAAM’s future, we see a great expanse of possibility.


PAAM operates 12 months out of the year, yet – like most Outer Cape organizations – struggles to keep the lights on in the quieter months. It costs $80,000 per month just to pay for the staff to come to work five days a week, which does not even count the additional costs of opening the doors, welcoming guests, educating students, and creating programming.

We need your help, to not only maintain our current standard of excellence, but also continue to raise the bar. Make your gift today and secure a place in our history.