Among the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ famous former students are Fern Coppedge, Edward Redfield, Walter Baum and Daniel Garber.

What celebrity artists of the future will emerge from the 116th Annual Student Exhibition (ASE) May 12-June 4 in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building at 128 N. Broad St., Philadelphia? Find out when the exhibition opens to the public with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. May 12.

An academic capstone, the ASE offers PAFA next generation of artists the opportunity to curate, install and sell their own work in a professional setting, and in a major art gallery. Among the successful artists that can claim to have actually launched their careers at the Annual Student Exhibition are Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Bo Bartlett, Moe Brooker, Barkley Hendricks and Sarah McEneaney. Graduates that have gone on to open their own galleries go from Gerry Givnish (The Painted Bride) of the Class of 1969 to Katherine Stanek and Deborah Fine (Stanek Gallery) of the Class of 2015.

This year’s ASE will feature approximately 1,000 works by 38 graduating masters of fine arts students, 59 third- and fourth-year certificate and bachelors of fine arts students, and eight post-baccalaureate students.

Don’t you have to be an art dealer, or something, to attend?

It’s for artists, collectors, curators, gallery owners, and the general public too. More information can be found at

How do I get there?This ought to help:

When are the galleries open?Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. One admission covers both the Historic Landmark Building and the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors 60+ and students, $10 for adult groups of 10 or more, $8 for youths 13-18, free to members and children 12 and under.

Does Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts do anything in particular to help their students prepare for this?

PAFA’s curriculum prepares students for the ASE through studio classes in drawing, painting, print making, 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.

“I’ve been really, really nervous,” said Jennifer Schelter, a Delaware County resident who’s completed a post-baccalaureate program. Her oil paintings often take on themes that she’s written about, such as “shoes as a portrait of a person” and the quirks of cats.

“I would really encourage people to get to talk to the artists, and find out how and why they’re creating what they’re creating,” Schelter said. “Usually what’s on the wall has a deeper intricate story.”

West Chester resident Jennifer Hartz has an MFA to show for her time at PAFA. “It’s important for them to know we have all worked extremely hard ... especially for the masters program. A lot of people are still experimenting, which is good. And this is really meaningful for a lot of us. During my undergraduate, I fell in love with print making. Now I do monotypes. I was looking for a way to bring my painting to print making,” she said.

Hartz’s long-term goal is to open a print making shop. “I think there’s a need in Chester County. I grew up in a picture framing shop; my father filled a gap in Chester County

Hailing from Bethel Township, Berks County, MFA graduate Dina Lincoln’s year of nursing school studies shows up in her art. For example, there’s a series based on scan electron microscope images. “I just have a lot of interest in the human body,” said Lincoln, who first became interested in biology when her father, an immunologist, was part of a medical team working toward the eradication of smallpox.

Another theme is “the things I wonder about on a psychological level,” such as narcissism and people replacing their human mates with robots. “There’s a lot of humor in it, but there’s a seriousness to it too,” she said.

According to Lincoln, PAFA has made her a better communicator as an artist, and more aware of how the brain processes aesthetics. “This is a great school, and they taught us how to think of our artwork in a more global sense,” said Lincoln, who hopes to teach art to people who have experienced a traumatic event.

What else can you tell me about PAFA?

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America’s first school of fine arts. A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts, PAFA is also a museum with a permanent collection of American art.

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