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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SWARM. brings together the work of Didier William and Nestor Armando Gil. The SWARM. curatorial team is sharing more about two upcoming exhibitions, Swarm. and Infinite Spaces: Rediscovering PAFA’s Permanent Collection on a dedicated Tumblr.

I’ve Always Worked Hard is the latest exhibition from PAFA’s Youth Council. The Youth Council is a free after-school program that offers interested teens a chance to create a prominent place for young audiences in the daily life of the museum. The Youth Council organizes poetry nights, poster-making events for their peers, and curates an annual exhibition.

The Dorothy & Kenneth Woodcock Archives at PAFA receives more than 300 requests each year from patrons seeking information and assistance locating historical information to support research projects. Hoang Tran, PAFA’s Director of Archives, maintains hundreds of thousands of documents, photographs, and books that are called upon by students, curators, historians, and genealogists.

MariJo Miranda (BFA ’21) began exploring art in elementary school as a way to express herself and connect with her peers. Miranda, born and raised in Mexico, knew she wanted to study art in the United States. After spending 5 weeks studying at PAFA through the Summer Academy for high school students, Miranda knew where she belonged.

After graduating with a mathematics degree, a lifelong love of art drew Claire Huber (MFA ’18) to PAFA. Huber's current work focuses on painting celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez, drawing many visitors to this year's Open Studio Night. Her celebrity series will be on display at the upcoming Annual Student Exhibition.

Morgan Hobbs (MFA '15) discusses her experiences balancing her responsibilities at the artist-run gallery AUTOMAT Collective, and her work as PAFA's Resident Director and Student Life Coordinator. AUTOMAT Collective was the recipient of funding from PAFA's Fine Arts Venture Fund, which awards more than $20,000 to student projects. The funding is used for various student-led projects from purchasing supplies to mounting an installation.

Nicole Parker (BFA ’17) has always been confident in her technical ability to paint, but going into the 2017 Annual Student Exhibition, she was a ball of nerves. After working with several critics at PAFA, Parker built up her confidence in talking about her work.

Steven Dufala (Cert. ‘00) and Billy Blaise Dufala (Cert. ‘03) are prolific multidisciplinary artists whose work defies categorization extending from sculpture and drawing to theater, music and performance art. They co-teach a course in the BFA program. In conversation with artist Sharon Louden, the brothers discussed the importance of community, their time at PAFA, and how they make a living as artists.

PAFA’s Continuing Education program offers more than two-dozen classes each season for people looking to expand their skills and join a community of artists. Each spring, CE students have the opportunity to show at PAFA through the Continuing Education Programs Annual Student Exhibition.

PAFA's student-run Visiting Artists Program brings an outstanding roster of local, national and international artists to PAFA each semester. Students get the opportunity to experience one-on-one private critiques with artists such as Amy Sherald, Njideka Akunyili, and Cosmo Whyte.

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