Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts drops degree programs, Plus Opportunities, Welcome Park, James Dupree, Becky Suss and Ann Patchett and The Dutch House

Happy 2024! We all hope you are thriving in the New Year and we promise to be here for you with News, Reviews, Features, Interviews and more, as we have been for the last 20 years! Onward. Today's news includes two great opportunities for artists and some fascinating news from PAFA, which continues to streamline and hone in on what its core mission is. Love to All of You, from All of Us at Artblog!


A photo shows a room with a series of three arches resting on paired granite columns in a symmetrical pattern, that sits behind another arch that is in the foreground of the image also resting on granite columns. The central arch in the middle distance frames a wooden framed window on the back wall that has small square panes set within a series of five peaked arches, this window is surrounded by a red wall that is covered with 14 artworks, including portraits and landscapes as well as stone objects and text related to each but too small to read. In front of the window are two marble sculptures one of a figure bending sideways and away from the view and the other is an small owl like creature.
Lenka Clayton’s installation at PAFA, “The True Story of a Stone.” (Photo: Courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.)

BREAKING – PAFA to Wind Down Degree-Granting Programming, Refocus on Core Mission

(Philadelphia, January 10, 2024) – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) today announced plans to wind down its BFA and MFA degree-granting programs and return to its roots, recommitting itself to expanding the stories of American art through its collections and exhibitions and providing arts education for the full lifecycle of the artist.

PAFA became an accredited college in 2013 and will wind down the degree-granting part of its educational programming in Spring 2025. Current PAFA students on track to graduate in the spring semesters of 2024 or 2025 will be able to complete their degrees as planned. PAFA is supporting the other 37 students with personalized transfer plans, allowing them the opportunity to transfer their PAFA credits and finish their arts degrees on schedule at five local colleges and universities: Arcadia University, Moore College of Art & Design, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, and University of the Arts.

“This is a difficult day for our students, faculty, and staff. We left no stone unturned in our efforts to find a different outcome,” PAFA President Eric Pryor said. “Key considerations were whether PAFA could continue to offer the high-quality student life experience our students expect and deserve, and whether it was financially sustainable to do so. After deep reflection, the answer to both questions was no.”

The Board of Trustees of PAFA made the final decision at a special board meeting held on Jan. 9, 2024, after extensive outreach to potential partners with whom PAFA might collaborate to continue granting PAFA degrees.

PAFA also shared information regarding its plan going forward, which includes three core components:
1. Increasing focus on the art museum, the first in America and founded in 1805, that features one of the country’s most diverse and extensive collections of contemporary American art;

2. Expanding existing non-degree, certificate, and continuing education programs and developing new educational offerings and experiences;

3. Creating an “arts ecosystem” anchored by a new creative and cultural hub for artists, creators, lifelong learners, and art appreciators that uses PAFA’s unique, dynamic facilities and its prime Center City location.

“Our new blueprint for the future will tap the best of PAFA’s history and marry it to a future vision that is wholly unique, appealing to a broad art community, and financially sustainable,” said Anne McCollum, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Almost every American artist of note has been collected and exhibited by PAFA or has taught here. PAFA has always provided world-class fine arts education and will continue to do so.”

A bronze statue of the colonial founding father of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, William Penn, wearing a broad brim hat, a fancy shirt with ruffles, a luxurious knee-length coat and breeches and boots with fancy buckles stands atop a pedestal in front of a red brick building in Welcome Park in Philadelphia.
William Penn statue, Welcome Park, 2nd Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. Image in public domain, courtesy of National Park Service

Kerfuffle over Welcome Park
First came the draft proposal and the request for public input into the rehabilitation of Welcome Park. Then came the right-wing-fueled social media storm and the withdrawal of the proposal (which would have removed the statue of William Penn and told a fuller story of the land, William Penn and the indigenous peoples living here at the time).

Date: January 8, 2024
PHILADELPHIA — Independence National Historical Park has withdrawn the review of a draft proposal to rehabilitate Welcome Park and closed the public comment period. The preliminary draft proposal, which was released prematurely and had not been subject to a complete internal agency review, is being retracted. No changes to the William Penn statue are planned.

The National Park Service (NPS) remains committed to rehabilitating Welcome Park as the nation prepares to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. Upon completion of all the necessary internal reviews, the park looks forward to engaging in a robust public process to consider options for refurbishing the park in the coming years.

The park is located on the site of William Penn’s home, the Slate Roof House, and is named for the ship, Welcome, which transported Penn to Philadelphia. The design and construction of Welcome Park was funded by the Independence Historical Trust and was completed in 1982.

Updates on the project may be found on the park’s website at


A poster for a documentary movie shows a Black man painting a colorful mural in greens and reds and blues on an exterior wall. Text announces the movie, "Broken Dreams"
A poster for a documentary movie shows a Black man painting a colorful mural in greens and reds and blues on an exterior wall. Text announces the movie, “Broken Dreams: The Man I Always Wanted to Be” The story of James Dupree. A film by Joe Sapienza and Tyrone Brown

James Dupree documentary ‘Broken Dreams’ screening at the Free Library, Central Branch, followed by a discussion and Q&A
Date: Saturday, February 3rd, 2024
Time: 2:00 PM
Venue: Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia
More information

From James Dupree: “This story is as relevant as ever, shedding light on the complexities of eminent domain and how Art can be used as activism to fight injustice.”


Becky Suss speaks with author Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House about her show The Dutch House at ICA Chattanooga – Jan. 20, 2024

ICA Chattanooga presents a solo exhibition of 10 new paintings by American painter Becky Suss (b. 1980) inspired by American author Ann Patchett’s 2019 novel The Dutch House, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Suss’ The Dutch House will be on view from January 16-March 16, 2024. Please join the ICA for a very special opening conversation between Suss and Patchett on Saturday, January 20th at 2pm in UTC’s Benwood Auditorium, followed by a reception in the ICA from 3-5pm. All events are free and open to the public.


82ND WOODMERE ANNUAL OPEN CALL Submissions: Jan 15 – Feb 19, 2024

The 82nd Juried Exhibition will be juried by Joanne Grüne-Yanoff.
THEME: What is Belonging?
Submissions can include two and three dimensional works, time based works (video, animation, sound), music, text, gardens, etc. As part of the submission process, applicants will be asked to submit a word or sentence describing what belonging means to them, which may be integrated into an artwork that will be part of the exhibition.

Joanne Grüne-Yanoff is a Swedish-American transdisciplinary artist based in Stockholm, Sweden and Philadelphia, PA. In her practice she examines the individual’s charged relationship with the outside world. This exploration threads visually through her work and connects with workshops she runs with marginalized populations around the world to help build tools for finding home and community. Her installations explore connection and creative transformation as tools of resilience.

The Woodmere Annual: 82nd Juried Exhibition will be on view June 8–September 1, 2024. Ten prizes totaling over $2,000 will be awarded by the juror.

Application Procedure
Starting January 15, 2024, submissions must be made online at and formatted as a JPG, GIF, PNG, MP3, MP4, or MOV file. Artists may submit up to FIVE artworks for consideration. Each artwork should be represented with one image only (two views if the artwork is three dimensional. Multiple views can be combined split-screen style into one image.) or in video format for animation, film, or other time-based media. Complete information and application submissions here.

Mattress Factory 2024 International Open Call Artist Residency, Applications Due Feb 8

Mattress Factory is pleased to announce our International Open Call for artists-in-residence. Each artist will produce a solo exhibition of new work at the museum.

This opportunity is free and open to artists of any medium from anywhere in the world. A distinguished panel of Mattress Factory alumni artists will jury this call, continuing our commitment to centering artist voices. The Artist Review Panel consists of Jon Rubin, Harrison Kinnane Smith, and Julie Schenkelberg. The panel will review submissions and select artists for residencies and solo exhibitions at Mattress Factory in 2025 and 2026.

During their residency, artists are free to explore wherever their process leads them while they live and work on Pittsburgh’s Northside. Mattress Factory supports each artist’s process from development through production, installation, and exhibition by providing the following:

Artist honorarium*
Production and materials budget*
Transportation to and from Pittsburgh
Accommodation in Mattress Factory residence**
Per diem during on-site installation
Fabrication and production support
*Material budgets are project specific and our artist honorarium are aligned with W.A.G.E. certification rates.
**The residency length depends on the needs of the artist.
Submissions close February 8th, 2024 at 11:59 PM, EST.