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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Daniel Flinchbaugh has a passion for the unexpected. He's always on the lookout for his next adventure and is excited to try new things in life and his artwork.

Learn more about the unique friendship between PAFA graduates Jerome Michael McLaughlin (MFA '16) and Read Lockhart (MFA '14).

For the past twenty-plus years, Mike Schley’s work has been digital and small. His impact working in fantasy and science fiction publishing is large but he often found himself working on a tablet, translating the worlds that came alive in his mind to a computer screen.

BFA Student Dara Haskins talks about her experience creating and exhibiting politically-charged artwork.

Carefully restored, cared for and added to, the cast collection at PAFA is one of the few great collections in the United States. The objects in the collection are superior in craftsmanship, often being first castings from the original sculptures, and are now very rare.

Passersby outside the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building are seeing PAFA in a whole new way: through the windows of the new Broad Street Studio, a permanent space dedicated to demonstrating the creative process that happens every day in studios and classrooms.

The oldest art museum and art school in the United States, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is dedicated to training fine artists from around the world and collecting, exhibiting, and researching the history of American art. If we were to borrow one work of art from the vast treasures housed in British museums, what might we choose?

This fall, Didier William will become the new Chair of PAFA’s MFA program. He brings to PAFA’s two-year, interdisciplinary program an accomplished background, having served as Graduate Critic at Columbia University and Yale University, and Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College. Hailing from Haiti, William received his MFA from Yale University School of Art and his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). William’s artistic practice as a painter and printmaker is equally noteworthy, and he has exhibited his work at numerous museums and galleries. William recently shared his academic experiences and his vision for his new role at PAFA.

Less than a week after the opening of Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis last November, Barbara Katus, PAFA’s Manager of Imaging Services, was methodically making her way through the exhibition with the help of her work study student, Gary Pergolini. A Hasselblad H4D digital camera was mounted on a tripod and tethered to a laptop on a rolling cart, enabling Katus to see and edit the images of Lewis’ vibrant works as she captured them on screen. This is the process of installation photography, and although the technology has changed dramatically over the years, this practice dates back to the late 19th century at PAFA.

In November, PAFA’s School and Community Partnership Program received an enormous boost--a $300,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation. The grant will provide the Museum Education Department the opportunity to continue developing what has already become a robust educational program, both at the museum and in Philadelphia communities in need of art education. Moreover, the grant will strengthen bonds that have formed between PAFA and members of these communities, including teachers and administrators, students and their families.

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