115th Annual Student Exhibition and its 211th commencement

115th Annual Student Exhibition and its 211th commencement

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 114th Annual Student Exhibition, 2015. Photo: ZP Heller.
May 4, 2016
115th Annual Student Exhibition and its 211th commencement

Exhibition: May 13–June 5, 2016
Commencement and opening: May 13

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 
118-128 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) presents its 115th Annual Student Exhibition, May 13–June 5 at 128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia. The exhibition opens to the public with a reception on May 13 from 5 to 8pm.

The exhibition 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. Some of the art world’s biggest artists launched their careers at the Annual Student Exhibition (ASE). Barkley L. Hendricks and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, who were two of the most talked-about artists at the recent Armory Show in New York and who both have exhibited work in many of the world’s most prestigious museums and galleries, are among the artists whose work was first on view at the ASE. The Annual Student Exhibition offers collectors a rare chance to view and purchase works by the art world’s emerging young talents, including winners of PAFA’s Spring Prize competition, prestigious Travel Awards, and other prizes awarded in various categories of excellence. This year’s ASE will feature approximately 1,000 works in various media by 41 graduating MFA students and 66 third- and fourth-year Certificate and BFA students. An academic capstone and the longest-standing exhibition of its kind, the 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 by the art world’s new generation: 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 ASE 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 211th commencement ceremony on May 13 at 3pm at PAFA. The school will recognize 91 graduating students, including 18 Certificate program graduates; 19 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates; 4 BFA/Certificate graduates; 9 Post-Baccalaureate graduates, and 41 Master of Fine Arts graduates.

Melvin Edwards will address the class of 2016 as the commencement speaker. One of America’s pre-eminent contemporary sculptors and a pioneer in the history of African-American art, Edwards’ work has been the subject of more than a dozen solo exhibitions including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum. He is the recipient of awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship to Zimbabwe. Edwards’ research into Third World visual culture has taken him to Morocco, Brazil, China, Cuba, and Nigeria.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose large-scale, multi-layered works reflect contemporary trans-cultural identity, will receive the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. Born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1983, she received her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from PAFA in 2006, and was in the Certificate program from 2006 until 2009. She has participated in major exhibitions including recent solo shows at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; and group shows at the New Museum, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC; and The Whitney Museum of American Art Billboard Project, New York. Her work is in the collections of major museums including SFMOMA, PAFA, The Studio Museum, and Tate London. More information can be found at www.pafa.edu/ase.

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.

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May 4, 2016

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