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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While working in PAFA’s Broad Street Studio, MFA student Rod Jones II reacts to the people walking by and how they interpret his work. In addition to reaction from people on the street, Jones recently received feedback from artist Doreen Garner. Garner visited PAFA as a part of the Visiting Artist Program and spent the day lecturing and meeting with students in their studios.

"'Alter'ing American Art" (now on view through December 16th), features works from PAFA's Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women, and looks at the shifting definition of what it means to be “American.” The curators of this exhibition are aiming to give voice to artists and people who are often voiceless.

“I came to Philly and toured and I loved it. I loved the city,” said Dara Haskins (BFA '19). “It just felt like a home away from away home, somewhere I could grow. Not just grow as an artist but also grow as a woman in Philly, I love it here.”

A 3-D print of a skull made its way to a forensic reconstruction workshop, and into the hands of PAFA student Kathleen Gallo. Through her work transforming the skull into a face, Gallo was able to help a family identify a missing person.

PAFA Museum Director Brooke Davis Anderson, along with members of the staff and faculty recently toured the museum with new students to better introduce them to the gems inside the Historic Landmark Building, and what visitors might be missing when they visit. As the galleries change frequently, the museum team encourages visitors to come back often to see different works in the permanent collection and find inspiration.

As first-year students navigate their first few weeks at PAFA, they know they can look to second-year student and orientation leader Andy Fecile (BFA '21). Being a friendly face and supportive friend for their fellow students has been a goal for Fecile since they arrived at PAFA. From working as a student ambassador, volunteering with the After School Studio Arts Program for High School students, to co-founding the diversity and inclusivity board, Fecile strives to help make PAFA a welcoming space for all students.

After high school, Collin Cousart (BFA '18) moved to New York City to study psychology but realized the city and the major wasn’t for him. After leaving NYC and continuing his studies at Montgomery County Community College, PAFA kept coming up on his radar as a possible next step. Though it took Cousart some time, he appreciates the path he took to get to PAFA.

After setting out on a path that wasn’t her own, Suji Kannenganti chose to pursue her artwork seriously and started taking classes at PAFA in sculpture and painting. Kannenganti is a recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, where she will receive hands-on experience inside a museum setting, working with curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs.

As construction continues on the John and Richanda Rhoden Arts Center, PAFA is accessioning eight John Rhoden sculptures to serve as the focal points for the new auditorium space, opening this winter. Dr. Brittany Webb, the curator of the collection, says the eight sculptures chosen for the arts center show the breadth of Rhoden’s career.

Judith Brodsky addressed the second graduating class of PAFA's Low-Residency MFA program at the intimate August commencement ceremony. In her commencement speech, she thanked the graduating class for the artwork they make, as well as sharing in her own path to becoming an artist.