Bringing together 30 young artists from 13 undergraduate programs across the country for the exhibition Crosscurrents, PAFA leaders hope to foster a sense of community among students.
“I think something that a lot of you will pretty soon find out as you make your transition from student artist to professional artist is that your life blood will be each other,” said PAFA MFA Chair Didier William at the opening of Crosscurrents. “Really use tonight as an opportunity to get in touch each other, connect with one another, follow one another on Instagram, start talking to each other on Facebook, stay in touch after the show.”
Student artists are represented from schools like Swarthmore College, Vassar College, University of Tennessee, Moore College of Art & Design, and several others.
“Crosscurrents brings together artists from different institutions across the city, across the country, artists who are at a similar level of development but at different institutions,” said PAFA Fine Arts Dean Clint Jukkala.
The exhibition is in the Annenberg Gallery, usually a showcase for PAFA’s permanent collection.
“I love that the museum tonight is filled with future artists,” said museum director Brooke Davis Anderson. “Normally there is a Mark Rothko in the galleries so you can think of yourself in a dialogue and as a peer of Rothko at other times.”
Crosscurrents is not only an opportunity for undergraduates to showcase their work in America’s oldest art museum, the exhibitions also serves as a scholarship competition for PAFA’s MFA program.
PAFA's MFA program is an intensive, two-year experience focused on studio practice and individual artistic development. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and welcomes students working in a variety of media with a wide range of interests. Through seminars, studio classes, critiques, and visiting artists, students are exposed to diverse viewpoints and approaches to art making.
Four scholarships are awarded, ranging from $2,500 to a full tuition scholarship to the MFA Program at PAFA.
Echoing Didier William’s call for young artists to support one another, several previous Crosscurrents scholarship recipients and current PAFA MFA students were in attendance to support their peers.
Isabelle Schipper received a full tuition scholarship to the MFA program after participating in Crosscurrents in 2016. She is now a second year MFA student at PAFA and cheered on the 2018 exhibition participants.
“Support each other’s exhibitions, even when your work is not included in the exhibition,” William said. “Go to your friends shows and cheer from the background, really sort of love on them as much as you can because as young artists you’re their most incredible asset.”
Crosscurrents is on view at PAFA through January 13, 2019.