As the shop manager for PAFA’s sculpture department, John Grieg '02 sees opportunities to create in materials students leave behind. He teaches a “Found Materials” class at PAFA with fellow graduates Steven Dufala ‘00 and Billy Blaise Dufala ‘03, teaching students the value of raw materials. Making something out of the unexpected is a point of pride for Grieg.
During her time at PAFA, PAFA alum SaraNoa Mark '15 traveled to Europe thanks to a Women's Board Travel Scholarship. The experience whet her appetite for more research-oriented travel as part of her art practice. Now based in Chicago, Mark is preparing to uproot herself again and spend nine months in Turkey on a Fulbright research award.
/ PAFA-Penn BFA
School wasn’t a favorite place for Ben Volta '05 when he was growing up. After graduating high school, Volta soon realized he wanted to continue using art to think outside the box and help others do the same. Through his work with Mural Arts Philadelphia and other local arts organizations, Volta says his best days now are in the classroom.
Certificate program alum Brian Boutwell '04 spent fourteen years in the Navy working in operations and planning, so he’s no stranger to mounting large-scale events. As PAFA's School Exhibitions Coordinator, he's tasked with making sure the school's largest event—the Annual Student Exhibition—comes together as smoothly as possible.
Whether you taste her homemade tahini honey ice cream or her take on the banana split or wander through one of her labyrinths, Marie Manski wants people to put themselves in her work. It isn’t enough to just look at her art—she wants you to experience it. As an admissions counselor for PAFA’s MFA program, Manski helps other artists tell their own stories.
/ PAFA-Penn BFA
With an intense focus on traditional sculpture and a desire for fine arts training, Morgan Dummitt chose PAFA for the PAFA-Penn program. It allowed him the ability to zero in on his interest in sculpture, develop important relationships, and build an arsenal of skills that have helped him grow his career. One of Dummitt's projects includes casting the Thomas Jefferson Awards for PAFA's annual gala fundraiser, Bacchanal.
While studying at PAFA, Lindsay Rapp devoted herself to learning traditional techniques and fine art but found herself quietly drawing mermaids during class. Thanks to the encouragement of professor Steve Nocella, Rapp was empowered to pursue the mermaid drawings and believe in herself. Now with more than 200,000 followers on Instagram, she shares her oceanic inspired artwork with people around the world.
Mostafa Darwish's family immigrated to the United States, his degree didn’t transfer. Faced with the prospect of starting school over again, he decided to explore art history, eventually transferring to PAFA to build up his technical skills in painting and drawing. After graduation, Darwish started began blending his artistic skills with creating works based around his experience as an immigrant. Earlier this spring, Darwish was part of a group exhibition examining the contemporary experience of immigrants in the United States and is participating in a residency at the Vermont Studio Center this fall.
After graduating from PAFA, printmaker Justine Ditto (BFA ’17) wanted to keep learning. While studying at PAFA, Ditto’s work evolved from figurative imagery to more architectural explorations. She will spend the next ten months working in the print shop at Millersville University through the Emerging Artist in Residence Program.
/ Certificate, MFA
After an encounter with Jane Golden of the Mural Arts program, David McShane has had the opportunity to share his art with the city, as well as help people leave their own mark on Philadelphia. The sports lover recently completed the mural at the Eagles Playground at the Horatio B. Hackett Elementary School in the city's Kensington neighborhood.
For 50 years, Professor Pat Nugent (Certificate ‘63) has been opening the minds of Rosemont College students to art. In recognition of Nugent’s commitment to Rosemont College, the school is renaming the school's art gallery in honor of Nugent, where she has been its director since 1994.
Marcus Zotter (BFA '13) mainly works in street art and graffiti but relies on the fine art education he received at PAFA to create. “PAFA really molds the greatest artist in the United States teaching us how to do the fine arts, the most complicated work out there,” he said. “Being in Philly I was very influenced by street art and graffiti so it was really entertaining to be learning fine art sitting in front of a model and then experiencing my environment which was influenced by graffiti and street art.”
It took Zachary Van Horn getting a little uncomfortable and moving to Philadelphia to become a better artist and refine his work. Van Horn says his time in the MFA program has been rigorous but rewarding. Working with PAFA’s faculty allowed him to get out of his own way when it comes to his art.
Tyler Kline (MFA ’11) manipulates photos of friends and fellow artists into video. The Philadelphia-based multimedia artist works make use of base materials and alchemical processes to translate the chaos of everyday stimulus into the universal. Kline’s videos, installations, and sculptures propose alternate structures of reality where logic is thrown out, and a direct experience with the unknown becomes possible.
Connections are key to artist Doron Langberg’s (Cert. ‘10) work. His work often features Langberg’s friends, family, and lovers in everyday settings. He hopes by sharing his connections and relationships that people will see him as accessible and relatable.