Alumni Stories

Madeline Peckenpaugh

2015

/ BFA

In the fall of 2016, Peckenpaugh spent a month in Nepal through the PAFA Fellowship’s Patan Museum Residency. On the last day, she inadvertently drank contaminated water and contracted typhoid. Making the most of a situation to better her work is Peckenpaugh’s style—read more to learn how that experience has profoundly shaped her approach.

Emmitt Smith

2017

/ MFA

“I liked the location [of PAFA], and I liked the museum history paired with contemporary context. People encourage you to push the boundaries of your ideas."

Josias Figueirido

2017

/ MFA

"PAFA challenged me about was it meant to be a professional artist. PAFA gave me another level. PAFA gave me a professionalism that I didn’t have. It made me want to be competitive. It taught me that when I go to MOMA, when I go to the Whitney, I have to think about how to put my work here. I have to say being close to New York City has been very important to me. When I go to Chelsea, I think how do I bring my work here? It’s not a matter of thinking that I’m good enough, but it’s my responsibility as an artist to a part of this conversation that is happening. It’s my responsibility to be in the places that have a say in the art world. It gave me a healthy ambition, because I really feel responsible to do my best."

Adam Lovitz

2012

/ MFA

“The lure of PAFA was its connection to Philly, and how this would provide a sort of bedrock to my early professional years as an artist. Reflecting on this, I felt charged by the atmosphere of Philly, and found something very special in the intimacy and legacy of PAFA. Upon visiting the MFA program, I was convinced that while PAFA has deep roots as an academic institution of the past, it also has a commitment to incubating artists who are living in the now. This duality was nourishing for me.”

Brittany Bennett

2015

/ Penn BFA

"I am at an advantage for applying to jobs, internships, and graduate programs in scientific illustration because not only can I draw—but I can understand the science of what I’m drawing."

Niloofar Gholamrezaei

2012

/ MFA

"Cultural norms in Iran made it difficult to organize or participate in figure drawing clubs. I decided to join a program that gave me this possibility."

Phebe Hemphill

1987

/ Certificate

Work by PAFA’s accomplished alumni can be found everywhere. You might even have creations by one alumna in your pocket right now.

Jason Loebs

2004

/ Certificate

Jason Loebs creates work that is decidedly non-traditional, yet it was PAFA’s commitment to observational art-making that drew him to the school.

Kate Kaman

2004

/ Certificate

Kate Kaman came to PAFA with a passion for figurative painting. Early on, she started making stretcher bars out of found railroad ties, and a sculptor was born.

Joel Stanulonuis

2014

/ MFA

Shortly after completing completing his MFA, Stanulonis' drawing That Little Plane -- first exhibited at the 113th Annual Student Exhibition -- was featured on the cover of New American Paintings.

Katherine Wirick

2011

/ MFA

Katherine Wirick’s artistic exploration of sequential narratives and graphic novels runs the gamut from family tragedy and political protest to historical drama and baseball.

Dufala Brothers

2000

/ Certificate

Steven Dufala and Billy Blaise Dufala are prolific multidisciplinary artists whose work defies categorization and extends from sculpture and drawing to theater, music and performance art.

Emily Erb

2012

/ MFA

Emily Erb [MFA '12] was a 2017 recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Foundation Grant, which is awarded to emerging artists "who represent the highest artistic promise of the coming generation."

David Schutter

1996

/ Certificate

"The sustained attention that PAFA asked of its students prepared me for the kind of looking that is at the heart of what I do."

Arcmanoro Niles

2013

/ BFA

“PAFA was a very exciting environment where I was able to figure out and develop a type of critical thinking that is applicable to many aspects of life, not just painting."

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