Justine Ditto

PAFA Alumna Selected for Printmaking Residency at Millersville University

After graduating from PAFA, printmaker Justine Ditto (BFA ’17) wanted to keep learning.

“Its weird after you graduate because you want to keep making work but you also need to survive,” Ditto said.

She will spend the next ten months working in the print shop at Millersville University through the Emerging Artist in Residence Program. The residency allows emerging artists to concentrate on their practice and learn from Millersville’s faculty and artists.

“I love going into a place where the environment is specifically for art making and people around you will critique you, and push you to do things you haven’t done before.”

She’s excited to work with printmaker Brant Schuller and all of the artists in the Millersville print shop.

“The amazing thing about going to different print shops is you meet people who have been studying printmaking for years and everybody has their own tricks of the trade and different specialties,” she said. “I can learn new techniques and start to become a really multifaceted printmaker.”

Ditto was first introduced to printmaking while in high school in Houston, Texas.

At Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Ditto was able to try out sculpture, ceramics, performance art, installations, and now her preferred medium, printmaking.

She came to PAFA to not only dive deeper into her printmaking practice in the PAFA print shop, as well as to be pushed by her peers.

“I think a lot of people have the experience where they were the best artist in their high school and then they come here and everyone is really awesome,” she said.

Through PAFA’s Foundation Year, first-year students develop techniques and skill sets for multiple disciplines. Each day of the week is devoted to a different medium, such as a drawing, painting, or sculpture. Ditto said she appreciated building up her skills but always knew printmaking was the right major for her.

“I knew I wanted to stay with printmaking after the first year even though I was pulled in some other directions,” Ditto said. “But printmaking is what I came here for and the faculty in this department is so amazing. They are a small, tight-knit department and I really wanted that support.”

While studying at PAFA, Ditto’s work evolved from figurative imagery to more architectural explorations.

“I was convinced that I needed to do figurative imagery because this school is so figurative-based. So for a long time I had this really organic and architectural work and I was trying to inject figure stuff into and it wasn’t really happening,” she said. “I had to let it go and I started discovering my new work which is different from that.”

The nearly yearlong residency at Millersville University gives Ditto the opportunity to experiment even more.

“The great thing is I can dig in, in terms of where my work is going. I want to bump up to a larger scale with my works on paper and I want to try different kinds of sculptural medium because I’ve pretty much only done sculpture via paper,” she said. “I’ve had some experience with fabric but I want to try doing more with fabric and painting on fabric and sculpting fabric.”

The artwork Ditto creates during her residency will be part of an exhibition in the Sykes Gallery at Millersville University.

—LeAnne Matlach (

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the United States’ first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers a world-class collection of American art, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and educational opportunities in the fine arts. The PAFA Museum aims to tell America's diverse story through art, expanding who has been included in the canon of art history through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, while classes educate artists and appreciators with a deep understanding of traditions and the ability to challenge conventions. 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.