PAFA Celebrates 115th Annual Student Exhibition on May 13


PAFA Celebrates 115th Annual Student Exhibition on May 13 

A tradition for more than a century, and an annual ritual for savvy art collectors

PHILADELPHIA (April 22, 2016) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) presents its 115th Annual Student Exhibition, May 13 - June 5, in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building at 128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia. The exhibition opens to the public with a reception on May 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Some of the art world's biggest artists launched their careers at the Annual Student Exhibition (ASE). Barkley L. Hendricks and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, who were two of the most talked-about artists at the recent Armory Show in New York and who have exhibited their work in many of the world's most prestigious museums and galleries, are among the artists whose work was first on view at the ASE.

The exhibition marks the end of a student's time at PAFA but the beginning of their contribution to the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia and beyond. Many graduates have gone on to open their own galleries, from The Painted Bride in 1969 to Automat and Stanek Gallery in 2015.

One of the most highly anticipated student group shows in the country, the ASE offers collectors a rare chance to view and purchase works by the art world's emerging young talents, including winners of PAFA's Spring Prize competition, prestigious Travel Awards, and other prizes awarded in various categories of excellence. This year's ASE will feature approximately 1,000 works in various media by 41 graduating MFA students and 66 third- and fourth-year Certificate and BFA students.

An academic capstone and the longest-standing exhibition of its kind, the Annual Student Exhibition offers the school's gifted young artists the opportunity to curate, install, and sell their own works in a professional setting. While it is not uncommon for graduating art students to exhibit work, PAFA's student show takes place in a major museum. Thousands of people come to see the work by the art world's new generation: artists, collectors, curators, gallery owners, and the general public.

Formal and informal PAFA experiences to prepare students for the ASE include studio classes in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and illustration; critiques from faculty and visiting artists; student-organized exhibitions throughout the academic year; and ASE workshops on topics ranging from pricing artwork and talking about their work, to planning and installing an exhibition, as well as artwork management practices, and curator discussions.

The ASE opening reception will take place immediately following the school's 211th Commencement ceremony on May 13 at 3 p.m. in the Historic Landmark Building, 118 North Broad Street, Philadelphia.

PAFA will recognize 91 graduating students, including 18 Certificate program graduates; 19 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates; 4 BFA/Certificate graduates; 9 Post-Baccalaureate graduates, and 41 Master of Fine Arts graduates.

Melvin Edwards, one of America's pre-eminent contemporary sculptors and a pioneer in the history of African-American art, will address the class of 2015 as the Commencement speaker.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose large-scale, multi-layered works reflect contemporary trans-cultural identity, will receive the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award.

More information can be found at


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 L. Hendricks,Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.