The American Academy of Arts and Letters  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is a 250-member organization whose goal is to "foster, assist, and sustain excellence" in American literature, music, and art. It is located in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, in New York, on a Beaux Arts campus that is shares with the Hispanic Society of America on Audubon Terrace, at Broadway and West 155th Street. The Academy's galleries are open to the public for two exhibitions a year.

The Academy was founded in 1904 by seven members of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in emulation of the French Academy. An amalgam of the two groups called the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters appeared in 1976, and lasted into 1992, then the current title was adopted. The first seven members were William Dean Howells, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Edmund Clarence Stedman, John La Farge, Mark Twain, John Hay, and Edward MacDowell.

The former title reflected the two-tiered system of the Academy and Institute. There were 250 members in the Institute, selected from among the leading figures in American art and literature, and these members elected 50 members to form the Academy. This two-tiered system was abandoned in 1993, and today, all 250 members have equal standing.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The American Academy of Arts and Letters" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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