Individual Departmental Goals

Drawing Department

Mission

The Drawing department encourages imagination and creativity through skills-based training and critical and aesthetic understanding. Drawing is considered as a visual language and both a foundational skill and independent art form. Students learn about the many ways drawing has functioned historically and how it operates in the contemporary art world. They develop their own distinct artistic vision and an understanding of the context for their work. Students work both collaboratively and independently, and learn to document, exhibit and discuss their work at a professional level.

Learning Goals

  • Acquire a working knowledge of the fundamental principles of drawing.
  • Acquire a deeper knowledge of the history of drawing.
  • Gain experience in different forms of expression, from representation to nonobjective image-making.
  • Acquire the ability to depict observed and invented form through a mastery of perspective and proportion.
  • Develop the ability to analyze how internal structures influence surface information.
  • Develop an understanding of the human body for use in artistic endeavors.
  • Gain the ability to use drawing to create expressive compositions.
  • Gain familiarity with a wide range of material and techniques.
  • Foster an ability to work from imagination, invention, and memory.
  • Gain the ability to express a personal vision or aesthetic.

Painting Department

Mission

The mission of the Painting department is to educate students so they can succeed as professionals in their chosen field. The Painting department encourages imagination and creativity through skills-based training and aesthetic understanding. The critical and aesthetic understanding of painting and drawing is the foundation for a distinct artistic vision.

The Painting department strives to provide students with a program of study of the highest standards relative to PAFA's mission as a whole, the traditions and goals of painting at PAFA, the history of painting and the contemporary art world.

Learning Goals

  • Apply a foundation of information and skill-based training.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the methods and materials of painting’s various disciplines and media.
  • Develop a wide-ranging critical and aesthetic understanding of painting.
  • Write and speak about painting, one’s own development and body of work.
  • Develop a body of work that represents personal vision.
  • Work independently and have the working habits of an independent artist.
  • Apply the principles necessary for being a working professional painter.

Printmaking Department

Mission

The objective of the Printmaking department is to give students a broad-based introductory level experience in printmaking processes, a certain level of expertise, and an appreciation of each printmaking discipline. 

The curriculum of the Printmaking department is intended to provide a working knowledge of the following media and processes: woodcut and relief printmaking, intaglio, lithographic processes and silkscreen.  It also offers instruction in letterpress, bookarts and digital media. Advanced level courses give the students in-depth experience with the medium by way of advanced technical vocabularies and seminar-like group critiques of work. 

All classes provide special instructions on press safety and safe handling procedures with all solvents and acids.  Safe procedures and the use of safety equipment such as eyewash stations are taught. 

Learning Goals

  • Create and exhibit work in a professional manner, both in terms of craftsmanship and presentation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and technical proficiency in all printmaking methods taught in the department.
  • Successfully replicate print editions of their work.
  • Critically evaluate and clearly address issues of subject matter, content, and intention within their body of work.
  • Produce work that is driven by conceptual concerns.
  • Create work that displays increasing levels of technical and conceptual confidence.
  • Create work that exhibits invention and experimentation.

Sculpture Department

Mission

The Sculpture Department provides students with the chance to discover and enhance their powers of three-dimensional expression. Sculpture embraces a range of forms, including figurative, formalist, conceptual, installation, sound, light and video. Sculpture courses provide the opportunity to learn sculptural skills, and experiment with them in a creative environment. Students augment their thought process and judgment as well as their skills. Sculpture courses allow for mentored independent study and are flexible enough to reflect the constant evolution of our discipline.

Learning Goals

  • Display a commitment to making art and preparation for practice beyond PAFA.
  • Cultivate a body of work that exemplifies maturity and sophistication in both technique and subject matter.
  • Make appropriate material selection relative to projects.
  • Show technical proficiency with selected materials.
  • Analyze and solve problems, communicate and defend choices and document work.
  • Demonstrate the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Evaluate, select and exhibit work thoughtfully and professionally.
  • Show an understanding of their work in connection with both contemporary society and contemporary art practice.

Illustration Department

Mission

Illustration explores the perennial need for artists to tell stories. Illustration is part of PAFA’s tradition of excellence in the fine arts. Illustration builds on PAFA’s skill-based and discipline-based programs to train illustrators who are first and foremost working artists.

Illustration students apply the skills and artistic abilities gained in PAFA’s rigorous fine arts programs to the development of strong visual concepts, technical proficiency, and the discovery of a unique style and voice. Illustrators use the mediums of painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, print media and the digital arts to create narratives, describe imaginary and invented worlds, and create characters and situations involving fantasy, invention and metaphor. Illustrators make images based on mythology, symbols, literature, characters, contemporary culture and historic events with the intention of communicating a personal vision to an audience. Illustrators create art for a variety of fields, including the fine arts, book arts, animation, book illustration, print media, and a variety of design applications.

Learning Goals for the Illustration Department

  • The ability to convey imaginative visual concepts to specific audiences.
  • The ability to synthesize complex invented worlds from a variety of visual resources.
  • Conceptual problem solving and critical thinking skills that lead to successful visual communication.
  • A distinct and individual style that combines imaginative content with a high level of skill and technique.
  • An understanding of the unique aesthetic of the illustrator as artist, designer and communicator.
  • A knowledge of the history and current practice of illustration and related arts disciplines.
  • Knowledge and skills of professional development, including presentation, marketing, promotion, business, Web design and entrepreneurship.
  • The ability to research information and source materials, and to synthesize information for use in creating artworks.
  • The ability to work under pressure and within deadlines, and the acquisition of business and time management skills.
  • A high level of representational and art making skills appropriate to Illustration.

Liberal Arts Department

Mission

The General Education program in Liberal Arts will provide the intellectual knowledge and historical context essential for students to express their aesthetic ideals.  The General Education department will provide knowledge in one or more specific non-studio areas in an effort to further inform the aesthetic sensibilities of the individual student.  The requirements for General Education pertain most exclusively to students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts department.

Learning Goals

  • Explain the general developments of art history, theory and criticism within the Western tradition, and identify its canonical works.
  • Interpret aspects of and be conversant in major cultural, historical and literary concepts, theories and traditions.
  • Appreciate the merits and values of Western, non-Western and non-dominant cultures; recognize the contributions of non-dominant people groups to the visual arts; and use concepts of identity and cultural diversity to analyze and critique their own and others’ work.
  • Apply scientific and mathematic principles to a career in the visual arts, specifically the analytical techniques of the scientific method and the quantitative techniques necessary for managing one’s business practices.
  • Develop a habit of self-directed critique that exhibits receptivity, comprehension and rigorous analysis of new ideas while creatively synthesizing prior knowledge/skills to produce new/original thoughts, ideas and processes.
  • Develop, articulate, compare, analyze and defend their ideas clearly and persuasively in written and oral modes of communication that express originality and adaptability to a diverse range of audiences/purposes.
  • Write clear, unified, original, well-researched and well-supported essays/artist statements that are appropriately formatted, professionally delivered and free of major grammatical and mechanical errors.
  • Locate information, evaluate it critically for validity and appropriateness, and integrate the results into their work both ethically and legally.

Master of Fine Arts Program

Mission

The MFA program allows fine artists to realize their creative potential while providing a solid intellectual and practical foundation for artistic expression. Students are encouraged to achieve independent aesthetic development through a broad variety of approaches. Drawing, painting and seminar classes provide intellectual exploration, inspiration, and creative dialog. Renowned artists provide both individual and group critiques, supporting the student’s ongoing artistic expertise. The goal of the MFA program is to assist developing artists in understanding the profound significance of the arts and art making and to engender in those artists the commitment to a life of searching and self-development

Learning Goals  

  • Develop a work ethic that applies professional principles of time-management and craftsmanship.
  • Develop technical skills appropriate to the materials, subjects and disciplines of their creative process.
  • Conceive of and implement appropriate, effective and creative methods of exhibiting work.
  • Produce work driven by conceptual concerns.
  • Gather, document, analyze and evaluate information to be used in their writing and work.
  • Effectively articulate and express ideas verbally and in writing.
  • Develop, analyze, communicate and defend philosophical positions.
  • Use historical and contemporary concepts/practices to explore, identify and justify future career paths.
  • Recognize self-identity as part of the creative process and create work that gives voice to the personal.

Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts Program

Mission

The mission of the PAFA Low-Residency MFA program is to provide advanced study in the visual arts to students with substantial previous experience in studio art practice.

The principal goal of the PAFA Low Residency MFA program is to prepare students to realistically live their lives as fine artists. Therefore, students devote most of their working time to the development of their artwork, themselves, and accompanying research.

A related program goal is to provide an intimate and rigorous intellectual community for the exchange and debate of ideas using online social media, blogs, online forums, etc., with real time participation in critiques and studio visits while on site.

Learning Goals

  • Develop a work ethic that applies professional principles of time-management and craftsmanship.
  • Develop technical skills appropriate to the materials, subjects and disciplines of their creative process.
  • Conceive of and implement appropriate, effective and creative methods of exhibiting work.
  • Produce work driven by conceptual concerns.
  • Gather, document, analyze and evaluate information to be used in their writing and work.
  • Effectively articulate and express ideas verbally and in writing.
  • Develop, analyze, communicate and defend philosophical positions.
  • Use historical and contemporary concepts/practices to explore, identify and justify future career paths.
  • Recognize self-identity as part of the creative process and create work that gives voice to the personal.
  • Develop the skills necessary to function as a professional artist in both actual and virtual artistic communities. 

Post-Baccalaureate Program

Mission

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program is a one-year, studio-based curriculum of graduate-level study in studio art. Students create a strong and individualized body of work in a rigorous, supportive environment while gaining the confidence for continued work and study. It is ideal for independently working artists who wish to experiment and bring new focus to their work, as well as for artists seeking further development before pursuing an MFA. The focus is on the traditional disciplines of painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking, while acknowledging the multiple facets and fluid parameters of each..

Learning Goals

  • Develop a sense of inquiry and an exploration of ideas, materials, and various approaches to art-making
  • Learn to see through projects and follow lines of questioning
  • Develop a studio practice where research and work are generative and lead to further exploration
  • Acquire technical skills appropriate to the materials, subjects and disciplines of the creative process
  • Gather, document, analyze and evaluate information to be used in writing and work
  • Effectively articulate and express ideas verbally and in writing
  • Develop, analyze, communicate and defend philosophical positions
  • Use historical and contemporary concepts/practices to explore, identify and justify future career paths
  • Recognize self-identity as part of the creative process and create work that gives voice to the personal