Perspectives: Stories from PAFA

A platform for artists, scholars, and art enthusiasts—explore our rich history and culture of contemporary art making.

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Cardin Moffett '19 came to PAFA to study painting but he couldn’t shake the nearly 20 years experience he has working in technology, as a graphic designer and programmer. As a recipient of a grant from PAFA’s Fine Arts Venture Fund, Moffett was able to marry his technology skills with art and create "Living Systems," now on view as part of the Annual Student Exhibition.

Graduation is a time when many students are getting ready to join “the real world” and are often uncertain of the road ahead for them. But PAFA’s 2019 graduation speaker, artist Chitra Ganesh, urges students to recognize that while they are on the cusp of something new they shouldn’t discount the experiences they’ve already had.

As he prepares for the Annual Student Exhibition, the impact Philadelphia's landscape on Daniel Flinchbaugh's (BFA '19) artistic work is apparent—the city is deeply reflected in the subject matter and presentation of his work. After graduating from PAFA this May, Daniel plans to attend UPenn for landscape architecture. He believes his graduate work will inform his artistic practice and vice versa.

On view in the Maguire Gallery are a series of prints by John and Richanda Rhoden. The Rhodens may have shown their individual work together during their lives, but not much is known about the collaborative prints they produced during their marriage. As stewards of John Rhoden's legacy, PAFA's curatorial team works to uncover the story surrounding the set of prints in its collection.

After spending 3 years out of the country, Ash-Bob initially wanted to stay in California to pursue art. Her art teacher and PAFA alumnus Andrew Walker Patterson '07 encouraged her to look east. Even though she expected to be a figure painter at PAFA, the desire for connection and to share with others ending up pushing her towards abstraction. For Ash-Bob, the connection she makes with other people is more significant than the work she produces, and whatever she makes is a way to connect.

At PAFA, first-year undergraduate student Aimee Liriano '22 is more than a thousand miles away from home, but she’s keeping the Dominican Republic close to her every day. Liriano transferred to PAFA as a graphic design student but quickly realized illustration is where her true passion lies. Outside of the classroom, Liriano is the co-founder of Cultura Latinx, a group for Latinx students.

As a student ambassador, Nasir Young ‘21 can’t help himself when it comes to sharing his excitement about art and PAFA. Young said he’s excited about the school because it took him a few years to finally get here. As a transfer student, Young found that experiencing community college first was integral to his progress as an artist, where he received the necessary training before taking the next step in his art career at PAFA.

PAFA is full of artists. From our accomplished faculty to students who are poised to be the next generation of great American artists, it’s hard to not bump into someone on campus with an art background. "Insider Art," on view in the Tuttleman Gallery, showcases the artwork of staff members who work in PAFA's administration, Museum, School, Security, and Operations departments.

On view this summer at PAFA, "From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic" is as much an exploration of how Philadelphia influenced the Hudson River School painters as it is a celebration of Philadelphia’s roots as a modern city and its place on the world stage in the 19th century. The city was a pioneer for clean water for large cities and used art to promote the importance of clean water locally and around the world.

After more than 20 years at companies such as Gap and AT&T, Sally Richards '20 decided to focus on her art. She began by taking classes in the Continuing Education program, subsequently enrolling in PAFA's Certificate program to expand and refine her skills. That desire to zero in and focus has followed Richards as she plans to show in this year's Annual Student Exhibition.