Life-long learners have exhibition opportunity at PAFA

PAFA’s Continuing Education program offers more than two-dozen classes each season for people looking to expand their skills and join a community of artists.

From one-day workshops to multi-week classes, students can study drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture.

Each spring, CE students have the opportunity to show at PAFA through the Continuing Education Programs Annual Student Exhibition. PAFA faculty member Neysa Grassi juried the 2018 exhibition.


Student Amanda Kaiserman has long admired Grassi’s work. Her oil on canvas La Française is part of the exhibition and was given an honorable mention.

“I love Neysa’s work but I don’t do anything abstract like so I didn’t think that she would gravitate or get my work at all,” Kaiserman said. “I was pleasantly surprised that I got an honorable mention. I just love her work ...there’s something about her work that I really love.”

Kaiserman took her first class at PAFA twenty years ago with Painting Chair Al Gury.

“I had never had a teacher like him and since then I’ve had amazing teachers,” she said. “I’ve been studying with Ted Xaras. I’ve studied again with Al and I’m studying with Peter Van Dyck.”

She’s honored to see her work now hanging in PAFA’s alumni gallery.

“This is the first museum in the United States so that’s kind of a huge honor with all of these amazing artists,” she said. “One of the reasons I also wanted to do it was because I love Ted Xaras. He’s my teacher and I kind of wanted to show off everything he taught me.”

Michael Kowbuz, director of PAFA’s continuing education, says Kaiserman’s path of studying at the academy for several years is very common among CE students.

“Any given semester 75% of the students have taken a class before so there is a very high retention rate,” he said. “We are pretty heavy on the teaching so you will learn, it’s a skill building class, there is an objective, there’s a plan.”

Ann Lax-Antrim has been taking classes at PAFA for three years. She was directed to the CE program by faculty member Robert Waddington.

Her embroidery thread and silk cloth on cotton, Ink Well was awarded a top prize at the exhibition.

Lax-Antrim is expanding her skill-set and taking metal shop classes and recently participated in a woodcutting workshop with faculty member Dan Miller.

“The 7th floor has a lot to offer, they do sculptures in clay and they do stone carving; the 7th floor has always been really interesting to me,” she said. “The foundry is one of the few that are available in Center City so it’s a real treat and of course everyone gathers to watch pourings..”

Kowbuz says whether it’s watching a bronze pour or taking classes together, students often form friendships with their peers.

“I think once people take the class they meet other people and enjoy spending time together and with the faculty, a community comes from that,” he said.

For Jerzy Almi-Tufman, continuing education classes at PAFA have given him a sense of belonging since moving to the US four years ago.

“All my life I’ve made art,” he said. “This is one of the amazing schools. The great thing is to have all different teachers because they think differently, and I collect all of the ideas.”

The Continuing Education Programs Annual Student Exhibition runs through April 13th.

Learn More about the CE Annual Student Exhibition