From the CEO

Any gardener understands the value of pruning, of cutting back.

Clipping your rosebush can be painful in the moment, the immediate result jarring, but after the shoots are cut, more flowers are able to bloom. We felt that gardener’s anxiety when we cut back many of our programs in 2020. Would visitors return to our galleries, artists to our studios? What’s next for PAAM? We wondered.

What we experienced this year, more than we ever have in the past, was a powerful re-growth.

We saw this growth at our Annual Secret Garden Tour, which was attended by 800 guests–exceeding our previous capacity by more than 300 people. We saw this in artist submissions to The Members’ 12×12 Exhibition and Silent Auction, the largest in its decades-long history, pushing the limits of the two galleries it occupied. We saw this when our Youth Programs filled up with eager young artists within a single day of opening registration. And we see this in our membership, which has exceeded our typical annual growth, particularly in the numbers of people deciding to join for the first time, signaling that PAAM satisfies a set of needs that some are just now discovering.

PAAM is growing in other important ways, too.

Multiple extraordinary donors are helping us develop special collections of artwork by major artists and from important time periods: from rarely seen pre-1899 works to the contemporary pieces that shape our modern landscape, from Charles Hawthorne to Helen Frankenthaler to Nan Goldin. Embedded in to PAAM’s mission, the permanent collection is truly at the heart of our organization, and its growth demonstrates the ongoing vitality of the Provincetown art colony.

And our staff has grown. Thanks to grants from the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative and The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, we hired a Digital Content Officer so that we can continue to integrate the types of technological offerings that extend PAAM’s reach beyond our zip code. Hosting virtual workshops and broadcasting Fredi Schiff Levin lectures means members of the PAAM community can engage with our programming wherever they are. Adopting new tech was not a temporary fix for us–it is now a permanent solution for sharing our wealth of knowledge, culture, and community.

Left: Charles Hawthorne, detail of The Boat Steerer, c. 1925, oil on canvas, 60” x 48”, PAAM Collection, Gift of Robert Duffy, 2022; Top: Two Cape Cod kids in PAAM’s free Little Artists program; Right: detail of Amy Heller’s Liminal Jellyfish from the 2022 exhibition Out of the Blue: Cyanotypes by Midge Battelle, Rebecca Bruyn, and Amy Heller, curated by Michelle Law; Bottom: installation shot by James Zimmerman from the 2022 summer exhibition Zehra Khan: Your Everyday Myths, curated by Megan Hinton.

But just like a flourishing rosebush needs a trellis, PAAM needs support.

As a small museum with a big impact, we run the risk of depriving some of our most crucial resources–our collection, our visitors, our artists, our students, and our members–of the attention they need to thrive.

Our plans for the future now need to adopt a growth mindset: our responsibility to offer high-quality programming has never been greater, and we learned this year that we need to scale up.

PAAM is in a moment.

Donations to our Annual Fund, our greatest need, mean we can continue to disperse grants to under-recognized painters through the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant, sell artwork through contemporary and member exhibitions year-round, offer free-of-charge art-making programs to Cape Cod youth, employ local people on our staff and in our roster of talented teaching artists, and simply keep the lights on in our beloved 100+ year-old art association and museum.

Please consider making a donation today by filling out the form below or giving us a call at (508) 487-1750.

Thank you for supporting PAAM and for helping us bloom.

With warm wishes for a happy holiday season,


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