Press Release

PAFA Alumna Emily Erb Awarded Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Grant

PAFA Alumna Emily Erb Awarded Prestigious
Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Grant

PHILADELPHIA (April 12, 2017) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is proud to announce Emily Erb (MFA ‘12) as a recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts, awarded to emerging artists “who represent the highest artistic promise of the coming generation.”

Dean of the School of Fine Arts, Clint Jukkala, states: "I am thrilled that Emily has received the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship. She is an extremely talented and deserving artist and this award will provide tremendous assistance in helping her achieve her creative and professional goals."

Erb, a native of Richmond Va., lives and works in Philadelphia. Using a variety of source material -- from vintage encyclopedias and LIFE magazines to firearms catalogs and 19th-century currency -- she creates meticulously detailed, large paintings on silk that comment upon the social, political and environmental concerns facing the country and the world.

She has exhibited her work at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.; the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Ga.; the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis; the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington; the Museum of American Finance in New York City; the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; and the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, Va.

"I feel an intense sense of gratitude as well as responsibility after receiving this fellowship: gratitude for all of the people who have encouraged and supported me in my efforts to share my art with the world, and the responsibility to use this grant to demonstrate the importance of funding the arts in a time when priorities are shifting from acts of love to acts of war," says Erb.

She adds, "I will be using this amazing opportunity to primarily focus on making and showing my art. So far, I have plans to move to a larger studio, purchase tools for my practice, and am looking into international residencies and art fairs that I would like to attend.”

The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund provides recipients $50,000 a year for up to two years. Administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, it reflects the late Leonore Annenberg’s lifelong commitment to the arts, her desire to provide opportunities for artistic growth, and her intention to strengthen American cultural life.

Emily Erb is the second PAFA alumna to be named an Annenberg Fellow in the program’s 10-year existence. In 2014, Mia Rosenthal (MFA ‘08) received the honor, the only visual artist chosen that year for the award.

This is the final round of recipients for the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund, which has distributed $6 million to 70 artists over its 10-year existence. PAFA, Yale, SAIC, and Columbia are the only art schools from which visual artists have been awarded this esteemed fellowship.

Leonore (Lee) Annenberg, wife of Walter Annenberg, served as trustee of PAFA, and was honored with trustee emeritus status. The Annenberg Foundation, of which Leonore Annenberg was the President prior to her death in 2009, supported PAFA's Campus Capital Campaign (among many other projects) with a gift, naming the Walter & Leonore Annenberg Gallery in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building.


Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts, PAFA is a recognized leader in fine arts education with a world-class permanent collection of American art.


Last Updated
April 12, 2017 - 10:23 AM

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.