After-School Studio Arts Program for High School Students

Since 1994, PAFA has provided studio art training to students (grades 9-12) from more than 50 public, charter and parochial schools in Philadelphia.  The program offers teens who have little or no access to an art program the opportunity to acquire a solid foundation in the fine arts.  Students in this model program follow an honors-level curriculum through foundation drawing, painting and life drawing in the great traditions of American art set by Thomas Eakins in PAFA’s historic studios.  This non-credit program emphasizes building a portfolio, developing skills, and artistic growth.  Classes are taught by PAFA faculty and graduate students.


Courses are offered during fall and spring semesters and take place weekdays after school, 3 - 5:30 p.m.  Fall classes run October 1 - December 13, 2018 (no class on Thursday, November 22, for Thanksgiving).  Spring classes run January 28 - May 2, 2019 (no classes during Spring Break, April 8 - 12).    

  • Foundation Drawing (Mondays, Room 461/Samuel M.V. Hamilton Bldg.) – Students will learn all the essential elements of drawing from observation: shape, line, form, shading, composition and expression. Students will draw from still life, skulls, skeletons, and PAFA’s historic collection of Greco-Roman and Renaissance plaster casts. Essential to all art forms, foundation drawing is a primary class for beginning students. Charcoal, pencil and pastel will be the primary materials used. 

  • Oil Painting (Tuesdays, Room 1010/Samuel M.V. Hamilton Bldg.) – This class presents a comprehensive introduction to painting from life with oil colors. The class will cover a variety of methods, mediums and approaches. Students will learn color, brushwork and composition while painting from still life objects, urban landscapes, and self portraits. Starting with a limited palette and small paintings, students will be guided to more complex full color paintings in larger formats.

  • Introduction to Illustration and Comics (Wednesdays, Room 513/Samuel M.V. Hamilton Bldg.) – This class will introduce the students to the traditions and practices of illustration, particularly image development, story boarding and the graphic novel.  Illustration techniques including marker, pen and ink, and color will be presented in a series of activities. Students will use traditional imagery, photo reference, and personal narratives as a source for their illustrations.

  • Life Drawing (Thursdays, Room 1023/Samuel M.V. Hamilton Bldg.) – Students will learn anatomy, gesture, line, shading and expression from the life model, both nude and clothed. Essential for art portfolios, students will be guided through a series of drawings in charcoal and pastel. Large-scale drawing is an exciting part of this class.

Eligibility and Registration

Schools within the city of Philadelphia invite students from a range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to apply. Choices are made based on artistic talent and potential for enrichment. Pre-registration required: Students must be registered in advance by teacher recommendation to the Program Director -- see Contact Us below.


Tuition is free, paid for by education grants.*

Contact Us

For more details, or to recommend a student for the program, interested art teachers, parents or students should contact Al Gury, Director of the After-School Studio Art Program, at 215-972-2093 /, or David Wilson, Program Coordinator, at

*The After-School Studio Art Program is funded in part by grants from Mary Gregg and John Ryan, The Brook J. Lenfest Foundation, the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and the W. Percy Simpson Trust.