Visiting Artist Program

This student-run program brings an outstanding roster of local, national and international artists to PAFA each semester for lectures, critiques, and workshops. The program exposes students and the public to a range of artistic approaches and fosters discussion about contemporary art and ideas.

VAP Artist Lecture Schedule

All lectures are free and take place from 11:45am - 1:00pm.  Some lectures will be held online and others will be held in person in PAFA's Rhoden Arts Center.  See the Spring 2023 list of artists for more information.  

PAFA students do not need to register for these public programs—check your student email account for invitations to the online lectures. The public may attend by registering through the museum events page.

Catch up on past artist talks by enjoying recordings of last season on our YouTube channel.

Spring 2023 VAP Series

Peter Welz

Peter Welz - February 1, 2023

Online | 11:45am - 1:00pm 

Peter Welz, lives and works in Berlin. He has been exhibiting in the most prestigious institutions and galleries worldwide, such as the Musée du Louvre and the Centre Pompidou. 

Since the late 1990s, he has developed a kinetic approach to the human figure – through video installation he has been expressing the movement of bodies.

His work is characterized by multimedia choreographic installations that include sculpture, painting, video and dance. Since 2005 Welz has been working on the Portrait series, 

a study on five subjects: Francis Bacon, Casa Malaparte, Michelangelo Antonioni, AA Bronson & Douglas Gordon.

Samantha Nye

Samantha Nye - February 15, 2023

Rhoden Arts Center | 11:45am - 1:00pm 

Samantha Nye is a painter, video and installation artist living in Philadelphia.
For the first decade of her life, she was a relatively unsuccessful child model.
At five years old she remembers her mother driving her to South Beach casting offices as she energetically rehearsed the line, “Hello, my name is Samantha Nye, and I’m 7 years old... This is my right profile...”
She often performed seven.
She learned early about performance and identity. Her work reframes seduction through reenactments of 1960s pop culture. Her paintings, videos, and installations highlight aging bodies, celebrate queer kinship, and facilitate an intergenerational dialogue about sexuality and pleasure.

Samantha currently has a large-scale video installation at the Arnhem Museum in The Netherlands.  In 2022 she had multiple international installations in Korea, and multiple cities in The Netherlands and opened a solo painting show, Attractive People Doing Attractive Things In Attractive Places, at Candice Madey Gallery, NYC.  In 2021,  her solo video installation My Heart’s In A Whirl at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was written about in The Boston GlobeBOMB MagazineThe Brooklyn Rail and was included in the “Best of 2021” in the Boston Art Review.  She subsequently had a painting acquired by The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and was included in a group show called New Light: Encounters and Connections. Her international press includes  De VolkskrantMetropolis M, Trouw, and Het Parool.

SaraNoa Mark

SaraNoa Mark - March 1, 2023

Rhoden Arts Center | 11:45am - 1:00pm 

SaraNoa Mark (b. Bronx, NY) pursues a drawing practice that investigates traces left by time, as they exist in landscapes and in collective memory. Employing enduring materials to explore permanence and erasure, and repeated gestures to archive the presence of absence. SaraNoa's work has been supported by a Fulbright research fellowship in Turkey. SaraNoa has received grants from the U.S. Embassy Mission Grants Program in Turkey, Luminarts Cultural Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant, John Anson Kittredge Fund, Illinois Arts Council, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Individual Artists Program (DCASE), West Collection LIFTS acquisition grant, and a SPARK grant. Upon graduating from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts SaraNoa was awarded a European travel scholarship. SaraNoa has been an artist in residence at the Chicago Artists Coalition, Montello Foundation, the Jackman Goldwasser Residency at the Hyde Park Art Center, the Lois and Charles X. Carlson Painting Residency, Art Kibbutz, Wave Hill, and Urban Atolye. Recent exhibitions of their work have taken place at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; Daniel Faira Gallery, Toronto, CA; Bridge Projects, Los Angeles, CA; Davis & Langdale Company, New York, NY; Goldfinch Gallery, Chicago, IL; Sultan Han, Turkey; 5533, Istanbul, Turkey among others. SaraNoawas named a NewCity Magazine breakout artist. SaraNoa is a co-director at the 4th Ward Project Space in Chicago. 

Image information: Yazılıkaya, Concrete panels cast from hand-carved clay reliefs installed at Sultan Han, Turkey, 2022

Rania Matar

Rania Matar - March 15, 2023

Online | 11:45am - 1:00pm 

From Personal to Universal: the Photography of Rania Matar

As a Lebanese-born American artist and mother, Matar has dedicated her photographic practice to exploring both sides of her cross-cultural experience, and personal narrative. Her work addresses issues of personal and collective identity, through photographs of girls and women in the United States where she lives and in the Middle East where she is from.

Throughout her work, she seeks to focus on our essence, our physicality, and on the commonalities that make us human, to emphasize underlying similarities rather than apparent differences. Her photographs reveal the beauty in our shared humanity – in the universal as well as personal experience of women encountering the challenges of growing up regardless of background.

Matar is a recipient of the 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2022 Leica Women Foto Project Award.

Portrait by Helena Goessens.

Erica Wessmann

Erica Wessman - March 22, 2023

Rhoden Arts Center | 11:45am - 1:00pm 

Erica Wessmann, affectionately known as Wessy, is a noodle-like creature who spent over a decade living and working in New York City before moving to Connecticut to complete an MFA sculpture. Wessy spends their days making like a maniac in a gigantic, windowless studio. Their work can and will take over any space, large or small, and will inevitably infect the world around it with its playful abundance and serious vision. Their work attempts to create openings where notions of stability are suspended to meaningfully alter the way singular perspective and subjective experience can be understood. Often, their installations bring seemingly disparate research material together into one space along with physically constructed elements to reveal complex coded materials. Wessmann attempts to shift the viewer’s perspective materially, drawing out complex embedded histories within sculptural objects. Wessy is an acute spatial and social observer, can make anything, cares for the community, throws the best parties, requires lots of alone time, and will stun you with their karaoke ability. Wessy was born in the 80s, received a BFA from The Cooper Union in 2007, attended residencies such as Atlantic Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Oxbow, Haystack and Skowhegan, and they completed their MFA at Yale in 2017. They have lectured about their work at UCLA, The Cooper Union and Emerson College, and have taught at CalArts, Yale School of Art, Trinity College, University of Madison in Wisconsin, Pratt, and NYU.

Lily Cox-Richard

Lily Cox-Richard - April 12, 2023

Online | 11:45am - 1:00pm 

Lily Cox-Richard (she/her/LCR) makes sculptures and installations that take up details of cultural and material histories to explore porousness, energy exchange, and paths of resistance. LCR has been awarded an Artadia grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows, and residencies at the Core Program, Millay Colony, RAIR Philadelphia, and the MacDowell Colony. Recent solo exhibitions include Yvonne (Guatemala City), Artpace (San Antonio, TX), Diverseworks (Houston, TX), Hirschl & Adler Modern (New York), The Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX), and MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA).

LCR studies, forages, and practices in Tsenacommacah / Richmond, VA, on land that, for thousands of years, has been inhabited and cared for by Indigenous people, including the Pamunkey, Monacan, Chickahominy, and many other tribes untold and forcibly disappeared.

Catch Up on Some Talks You Missed

Stories from the Visiting Artist Program

MFA student Lily Brown hosts a zoom session

"The most important thing I have learned is what it feels like when my voice and decisions have power. The choices Lily, Marley, and I make about who we will invite is a responsibility that far outweighs the administrative work in the background. We are not only representing PAFA and our student body, we are also helping to create the art world we want to be part of." –Kristy Jane (Low-Res MFA '22), VAP coordinator

Claudia Valenti (MFA '20) in her studio

“Visiting artists like Haley Josephs have come into my studio and I lost my mind. It was such an incredible experience; you get a total random chance to meet an artist you’ve been following for years. Usually these programs are not run by students, so it’s really exciting to be able to have that agency in school.” – Claudia Valenti (MFA ’20), previous VAP coordinator