Safiya Wharton working on their Annual Student Exhibition film “Dance To The Grave” .

As a high school Summer Academy student in 2018, Safiya Wharton was a dedicated, serious painter.

She spent the school year at CAPA, Philadelphia’s public high school for creative and performing arts, surrounded by creative peers. But she wanted more. So she spent a summer studying with PAFA’s

Headshot of Jonathan Lyndon Chase
In the last few years, Jonathan Lyndon Chase (MFA ‘16) has been all over the world, showcasing their work in London, New York, Switzerland, China, and more. But one of their favorite places to be is in Philadelphia visiting student studios as a Visiting Critic at PAFA.
student pulls out Andy Warhol prints in archives

It’s one thing to see Andy Warhol’s work in a museum but Annie Thompson (MFA ‘24) says it’s an entirely different experience to hold the icon’s work in your hands. 

“It kind of blinded me a little bit. It was kind of wild to see some of his pieces in person and understand how strong the pigments were…

Jeshima walking through installation
Being able to study art up close is one thing, but being able to engage with it deeply is another.
Saya Woolfalk projection

"It’s just a few blocks on Arch Street between the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the United States, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded in 1976 to celebrate the achievements of African Americans from pre-colonial times to the current…

In the News
graphic with arcs of red-orange, light orange, light pink, light green
Open to the public on March 23, the new exhibition hosted by the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will explore a reoccurring question in American history.
Press Release
Ellie's Art from Summer Academy

Callie Coccia, Pre-College Coordinator and PAFA Alum (PAFA-Penn BFA ’21), sat down with Ellie Zahorik, a first year BFA student at PAFA, to talk about Ellie’s high school experience at Summer Academy in 2021 and how it impacted her path to art school. 

This interview has been lightly edited for…

Woman in helmet welds metal on table
Kelly Lawler leads with her heart. Returning to art studies after 25 years in technology and project management, much of Kelly’s practice and output now focuses on the connections that draw us together as humans. "I stepped away from one really intense industry into something completely different…
Woman wearing sweatshirt and glasses kneels over large paper inside art studio

Makenna Glessner (MFA ’23) is currently at work on her master’s thesis, but has been a constant presence at PAFA since 2016 as a high school summer attendee and an undergraduate student, earning her BFA in 2021. Makenna’s self-awareness immediately emerges in her thesis work, which focuses on the…

marble statues on wood pallets
On the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer today, Peter Dobrin writes 'Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts closes historic building to reimagine permanent collection.'
In the News
Graphic of gold dots and thumbnails of art
Pafa Alumni Dara Haskins (BFA '19), Athena Scott (MFA '22), and Meg Wolensky (BFA '14) have been awarded 2023 Wind Fellowships. Join their virtual artists’ talk on February 2nd.
Alumni News
students standing and eating in open gallery area with elevators and large window behind
Rachel Saunders’s favorite space on the campus lies nestled away from the public eye on the 8th floor of the Hamilton Building, surrounding the elevators that transport her and her fellow MFA students from the streets of Philadelphia up to a haven of artist studios.

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, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.