Alumni Stories

Spencer Sweeney


/ Certificate

“I was looking for a program focused on classical training in an atmosphere conducive to very deep levels of uninterrupted focus.”

Amy Walsh



“My time at PAFA helped me find my creative center and give me confidence, so that as I sometimes radically change my approaches to art making and even my definitions of art, something stays consistent in me.”

Benjamin Volta


/ Certificate

In the years since his graduation from PAFA, Ben Volta has used his art education to enrich the lives of his students and their neighborhoods.

Mia Rosenthal



Mia Rosenthal had her sights set on being a painter when she enrolled in PAFA’s graduate program. Soon after her arrival, however, she found herself “making things that weren’t paintings.”

Raymond Saunders


/ Certificate

Raymond Saunders’ influence on American art since his graduation from PAFA has been profound. While his work as an artist is at the forefront, Saunders also changed perceptions within the art world with his words.

Mauro Zamora


/ MFA, Certificate

Currently teaching at the College of New Jersey, Mauro Zamora finds his continued relationship with PAFA helpful in maintaining a dialogue about artistic practice.

Clarity Haynes


/ Certificate

Clarity Haynes knew from the age of 16 that she wanted to be an artist, and a mentor demonstrated to her the importance of working on one’s craft constantly. This philosophy is also what drew her to PAFA.

Bo Bartlett


/ Certificate

Bo Bartlett and his fellow PAFA realists saw themselves as “renegades fighting against the hegemony” of the abstraction-obsessed 1970s.

Anna Hodges



“I was surprised to find how strongly the faculty advocates unbridled self-expression. This was unexpected but very helpful.”

Yoni Hamburger



“Every person has a frequency that is unique only to them. I try to tune in to that in my portraiture.”

Laura Sallade


/ Certificate

Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania can be a challenge when you’re considering a life in the arts. Making the choice of where to study can be a difficult one.

Bong Mee Lee



“I needed to know the foundations before I could break the rules. All of my work is autobiographical. I respond to it and it responds to me.”

Vincent Desiderio


/ Certificate

Vincent Desiderio has played a major role in reclaiming painting as a valid and significant medium in late 20th-century art. He started out as an abstract painter before he focused on representational work.

Constantina Zavitsanos



“By far the greatest part of my experience at PAFA was the one-on-one interaction with my core group of chosen critics/ teachers and my fellow MFA students. I continue many of these relationships today."

Orit Hofshi


/ Certificate

Orit Hofshi began working at Mishkan Omanim (The Artist’s Studio) in Herzliya, Israel, following a decade of studying, working and exhibiting in the U.S.

Jon Laidacker



Jon Laidacker was the lead muralist on the 85,000-square-foot "How Philly Moves" image that graces the Philadelphia International Airport parking garage walls near Interstate 95.