Mia Rosenthal (MFA ’08) had her sights set on being a painter when she enrolled in PAFA’s graduate program. Soon after her arrival, however, she found herself “making things that weren’t paintings very quickly.” Today, nearly all of the work she creates is ink on paper. She credits PAFA’s environment of exploration with pushing her creative boundaries in ways she hadn’t previously considered.
While at PAFA, Rosenthal also created time-lapse video and worked with everyday materials including breakfast cereal and sewing materials. Her artistic experimentation was encouraged by professors as well as the community of artists with whom she studied. “You get to meet people whose work you’re very interested in. With so many grad students there is a good chance you meet a peer whose art you respect.”
A valuable facet to promoting Rosenthal’s creative expansion was PAFA’s required drawing classes at the graduate school level, a requirement she didn’t find in many other programs. The classes inspired her to create more works on paper. The change for Rosenthal was a revelation that “a drawing didn’t have to just be preparatory” but could stand on its own.
Rosenthal is a 2014 Leonore Annenberg Fellow for Performing and Visual Arts and her drawings are in the collections of PAFA, the Woodmere Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as corporate art collections including Fidelity Investments and Wellington Management.