Joel Stanulonuis

Joel Stanulonuis (MFA ’14) arrived at PAFA during what he describes as a “moment of self doubt” in his artistic practice.

“I knew the path I had been on was fruitless but didn’t know what would replace it. But in hindsight, diving right in -- even unsure of the future -- was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I learned to approach art with the same childlike love, which so easily evades once economic or social pressures bear on the artist that drew me into it in the first place.”

Since completing his MFA at PAFA, Stanulonis has been working as an assistant professor in the art department at Houston Baptist University. His drawing That Little Plane -- first exhibited at PAFA’S 113th Annual Student Exhibition and purchased by the museum for PAFA’s permanent collection -- was featured on the cover of the April/May 2015 issue of New American Paintings.

He recently exhibited work in a group show in Denmark and a solo show in Houston.

“Were it not for the energetic and demanding schedule at PAFA I would have found it much more difficult to keep up my studio practice amidst a growing array of responsibilities,” he says.

He was greatly influenced by PAFA’s diverse and vibrant student body, its faculty who helped “guide my curiosity at a time when I needed it most,” as well as the city of Philadelphia itself, which “immerses students in a rich atmosphere that fosters creativity.”

“PAFA offers the flexibility for you to glean the experience you are looking for; it is a dynamic world of studio artists set in a city with a vibrant arts community. The challenging faculty pushed me to uncover for myself the next direction I wanted to take my art,” he says. “If you are considering PAFA, know that you stand to gain an environment which will both give you the freedom and guidance you need to fully realize your potential.”