PAFA Appoints Didier William MFA Program Chair


PAFA Appoints Didier William MFA Program Chair

PHILADELPHIA (April 8, 2016) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is excited to announce the appointment of Didier William as Chair of the Master of Fine Arts program. William was selected for the position following a national search that included an outstanding pool of candidates.

Clint Jukkala, Dean of the School of Fine Arts, says, “Didier William brings extraordinary leadership abilities to the Chair position and a vision for graduate education that is collaborative, interdisciplinary and student centered. He is a passionate administrator and a dynamic artist and educator.”

William will lead PAFA’s two-year, interdisciplinary MFA program, which graduates 40 students per year working in all media, from painting and printmaking to video and sculpture. More than twenty faculty members teach in the program, and a robust visiting artist schedule brings an outstanding line-up of artists to campus each semester. William will work collaboratively with all aspects of the museum and school, including the Post-Baccalaureate, Low Residency MFA and undergraduate programs.

Jukkala says, “Didier’s artistic practice connects with the deep traditions of painting, drawing, printmaking and figuration at PAFA. In his own work he explores issues of personal and collective identities with a deep commitment to object making and a fluid engagement with materials, process and ideas.”

William has exhibited his work at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Fredericks & Freiser and Kravets Wehby Gallery, both in New York; Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco; Galerie Schuster in Miami and Berlin; and Hap Gallery in Portland, Oregon. He is the recipient of the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) award at The Bronx Museum, a Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation residency, and a Hearst Foundation grant.

“PAFA is an incredible institution that holds a vital place within the history of American art,” William says. “I’m thrilled and honored to join such a robust community of artists and to continue the rigorous work of engaging the many traditions of art making in order to thoughtfully locate us within the contemporary moment.”

William has held positions as Graduate Critic at Columbia University and Yale University, Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College, and Resident Faculty at the Yale Norfolk summer program. He received his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA from the Yale University School of Art.

More information can be found on his website at For information on PAFA’s degree programs, visit


Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts, PAFA is a recognized leader in fine arts education with a world-class permanent collection of American art.

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley Hendricks,Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.