Areas of Study & Departments

Studio arts training at PAFA provides the foundational skills, intellectual context, discipline, and creativity needed for a lifelong pursuit of making art. Support and guidance from our nationally-acclaimed faculty give our students technical artistic skills and 21st-century skills to prepare them for their future careers.

After their first year, undergraduate BFA students select a studio arts focus from 6 different concentrations: Animation, Drawing, Illustration, Painting, Printmaking, or Sculpture. Students also have the option to design their own course of study by taking classes outside of their area of focus.

Graduate students do not select one area of study. Learn more about the interdisciplinary MFA, Low-Res MFA, and Post-Baccalaureate programs here.

Areas of Study

animation frame

Animation

PAFA's concentration in Animation offers students an opportunity to explore the ever-expanding world of animation. Our unique program connects PAFA's world-class undergraduate training in studio arts with moving imagery and narrative storytelling, emphasizing experimental fine art-based approaches to animation, including stop-motion and 2D animation techniques.

Live animal drawing.

Drawing

At PAFA, drawing encompasses all of our programs. The common language for all art disciplines and aesthetic philosophies, drawing is encouraged at every stage, including figure drawing, still life, landscape and abstract approaches using a wide range of drawing media. Technical abilities and a deep appreciation of drawing as a visual language are encouraged at all levels.

An illustration student presents their work.

Illustration

The illustration department at PAFA connects its strong fine arts traditions to 21st-century digital and storytelling skills, empowering students to succeed as both creators and entrepreneurs.

paint palette

Painting

The painting program at PAFA encourages imagination and creativity through skills-based training and aesthetic understanding. Students explore themes in observational painting, classical representation, abstraction, and conceptual approaches through a wide variety of classes that include still-life, landscape, figure painting, and non-representational modes of working.

A student prepares a screen in the Print Shop

Printmaking

The printmaking at PAFA is structured to provide highly personalized attention to each artist through individual and group mentoring, classes and critiques. Instruction includes both color and black-and-white techniques and provides advanced courses for in-depth experience and specialized technical training with printmaking methods.

Rhona Hofmeyr's installation in the Broad Street Studio

Sculpture

The Sculpture program at PAFA embraces contemporary and classical approaches across a broad range of art-making—from traditional figurative sculpture to video and installation art.

Degree Granting Curriculums Also Include:

library interior

Liberal Arts

A liberal arts education arms students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills to explore contemporary art issues. Artistic inspiration is also found in exploring literature, poetry, history and the sciences.