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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Through the Restorative Justice program, Aaron and other young people on probation work as paid apprentices through Mural Arts Philadelphia, receiving job training, mentorship and art education. Learning to make art themselves at PAFA is part of the 6 month job-training program. At the end of the program, successful participants are paired with muralists and carpenters at Mural Arts Philadelphia to work on community projects.

Artist Melissa Joseph (MFA '18) has focused her work on gun violence and the difficult task of healing while studying at PAFA. For three days, Joseph invited anyone to join her in the Broad Street Studio to wash and talk, as part of her Expunge project.

Brad Davis (MFA '18) walks Philadelphia’s neighborhoods for inspiration. The painter was particularly drawn to a newsstand in Rittenhouse Square that became the basis of a painting he will show at this year's Annual Student Exhibition (ASE).

For much of MFA student Mike Schley’s career, he’s been telling other people’s stories.

Painter Amy Sherald, who painted former First Lady Michelle Obama's portrait, visited PAFA as part of the Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

Each year PAFA’s Fine Arts Venture Fund awards more than $20,000 to student projects. When Sophie Brenneman (MFA '17) heard about the Fine Arts Venture Fund while she was a first-year MFA student she thought it was too good to be true.

Meet Tierra Deacon, one of the Student Ambassadors in PAFA's Admissions Office.

For more than 85 years, PAFA has coordinated a BFA degree program with the University of Pennsylvania, combining the academy’s fine arts studio training with an Ivy League liberal arts education at Penn.

Meg Borah (MFA '18) thinks there is more to art than natural talent and ability. She is using her time at PAFA to strengthen her drawing skills in the hopes of becoming a Philadelphia-area art teacher.

To find his own voice, PAFA MFA student Ben Grzenia listens to others. Learn more about how PAFA's MFA faculty and visiting critics help students like Ben to try new methods of experimentation and develop new modes of critical thinking.