April 24, 2017

116th Annual Student Exhibition

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 115th Annual Student Exhibition, 2016. Photo: ZP Heller.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) presents its 116th Annual Student Exhibition, May 12 through June 4 at 128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia. The exhibition opens to the public with a reception on May 12 from 5 to 8pm.

The Annual Student Exhibition (ASE) marks the end of a student’s time at PAFA and the beginning of their contribution to the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia and beyond. It also offers collectors a rare chance to view and purchase works by the art world’s emerging young talents.

This year’s ASE will feature approximately 1,000 works in various media by 38 graduating MFA students, 8 Post-Baccalaureate students, and 59 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: 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 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 212th commencement ceremony on May 12 at 3pm at PAFA.

The school will recognize 93 graduating students, including 15 Certificate program graduates; 29 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates; 3 BFA/Certificate graduates; 8 Post-Baccalaureate graduates, and 38 Master of Fine Arts graduates.

Joan Semmel will address the class of 2017 as the Commencement speaker. A feminist painter, professor, and writer, Semmel was born and raised in New York City, where she graduated from Cooper Union and Pratt Institute. She began as an abstract painter but is best known for the large-scale nude self-portraits she has been making since the 1970s. She has long been involved in the feminist movement and feminist art groups devoted to gender equality in the art world. The Women's Caucus for Art honored Semmel in 2013 with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anne Minich, whose dexterous drawings and meticulously painted constructions investigate the consistency and the truth of human duality, ambiguity, and multiplicity, will receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. Minich, who attended PAFA in 1954 and 1955, is known for her abstract, mixed-media paintings on wood that are often inspired by architectural elements. She refers to them as "painting/constructs" and incorporates intentionally ordinary and mundane found objects into her work.

More information can be found at

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America’s first school of fine arts and museum. 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.

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.