Press Release

119th Annual Student Exhibition Opens September 12

PAFA’s 119th Annual Student Exhibition (ASE) opens to the public September 12; ASE Preview Party to be held virtually September 10

PHILADELPHIA (August 21, 2020) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) presents its 119th Annual Student Exhibition (ASE), opening to the public September 12 and on view through October 3, 2020. An exhibition preview day for PAFA members and exhibiting artists and their families will take place on September 11. This exhibition, PAFA’s most important annual capstone presentation of student work, will be held throughout PAFA’s two main campus buildings, the Historic Landmark Building and the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building. Preceding the public opening, PAFA will host an online Preview Party on September 10, where guests will have the opportunity to virtually browse student artwork and make purchases before the physical exhibition opens to the public.

While the ASE historically takes place in May to coincide with the conclusion of the spring academic term, PAFA has adjusted the schedule and format for this year’s exhibition, as well as the Preview Party, to allow for the implementation of new policies and preventative measures related to COVID-19. This update to timing and format is in alignment with PAFA’s priority and responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of its community. The public opening of the Annual Student Exhibition coincides with the public re-opening of the Museum at PAFA for the first time since its closure in mid-March 2020. All visitors to the museum at PAFA will be strongly encouraged to reserve their tickets in advance via PAFA’s website. Information on how to reserve, along with new health and safety guidelines, will be available on the PAFA website in advance of the Museum’s re-opening.

At the September 10 virtual ASE Preview Party, guests can browse and purchase a diverse array of artworks while learning about the students and their work through personal videos and links to websites and social media profiles. The 119th ASE Preview Party is presented by The Women’s Committee of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Nancy Winkler and Jay Bryan, Honorary Chairs, and Ashley Stewardson McGuinness and Lauren Peck, Preview Party Co-Chairs.

In advance of this year’s Preview Party, on August 27, PAFA will host a Young Collectors Conversation sponsored by The Haverford Trust Company, for those who have purchased a Young Collector Preview Party ticket. At this event, Dean of the School of Fine Arts Clint Jukkala will join Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum Brooke Davis Anderson for an exclusive conversation on building an art collection.

Information on this year’s virtual Preview Party, including the updated online format and how to buy tickets, is available at

An academic capstone presentation and the longest-standing exhibition of its kind, the ASE offers emerging student-artists the opportunity to curate, install, and sell their own work in the setting of a major museum of the fine arts. As one of the country’s most highly anticipated annual student group shows, the ASE provides visitors with an opportunity to discover, explore, and purchase the work of emerging artistic talents from PAFA’s degree programs. PAFA's curriculum prepares students for the ASE through studio classes, critiques from faculty and visiting artists, student-organized exhibitions throughout the academic year, workshops on topics ranging from pricing artworks to planning and installing an exhibition, as well as artwork management practices, and curator discussions.

Among the many successful artists who have launched their careers at the Annual Student Exhibition are Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Bo Bartlett, Moe Brooker, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Barkley L. Hendricks, and Sarah McEneaney. This year’s ASE will feature the work of 26 graduating MFA students, 47 third- and fourth-year Certificate and BFA students, and 3 Post-Baccalaureate students, working across a wide and diverse range of artistic disciplines, including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, and more.

Each year PAFA's Alumni Association presents two annual alumni awards—the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Alumni Service Award. The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient is Clarity Haynes (Cert. ’03). A nationally exhibited painter, Haynes has garnered acclaim for The Breast Portrait Project, an ongoing series of paintings that challenge and re-contextualize prevailing cultural notions of the body, identity, aging, femininity, beauty, and portraiture. Haynes has described her practice as a “cultural intervention,” and her work combines masterful technique with a deeply empathetic and wholly distinctive artistic vision. Haynes’ work is included in PAFA’s permanent museum collection, and will be featured in the forthcoming PAFA exhibition, Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale.

The recipient of the 2020 Alumni Service Award is Andrea Packard (Cert. ‘89). The director of the List Gallery at Swarthmore College for the past 25 years, Packard is also a practicing artist, critic, curator, lecturer, and instructor. Packard’s own paintings, prints, sculptures, and mixed-media works have been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions nationally, and she was the recipient of the prestigious Cresson Memorial Travel Scholarship during her time at PAFA. At the List Gallery, she has organized and curated over 60 exhibitions.

Net proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships for the ASE Preview Party, as well as a portion of the proceeds from each student artwork sold, are a vital source of direct scholarship support. These scholarships play a vital role in ensuring that PAFA can continue to recruit, educate, and nurture the very best and brightest up-and-coming artists. Each year, the ASE Preview Party raises approximately $400,000 for student scholarships.

“As the Women's Committee celebrates its 70th year of service, we dedicate ourselves to the continued support of current and future generations of emerging artists at PAFA, and the Preview Party for the Annual Student Exhibition plays an essential role in that mission," said Lynn Lehocky, President of the Women's Committee of PAFA. "We look forward to bringing the Preview Party online this year, and providing an opportunity for our community to virtually discover and purchase new works by talented artists, while raising vital scholarship funds to ensure that PAFA and its students continue to thrive."

Additional information on the Annual Student Exhibition is available at

The Premier Sponsor for the 119th Annual Student Exhibition is The Haverford Trust Company.

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.