The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Closes Its College

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Founded by Artists Charles Willson Peale and William Rush, Closes Its College.

Jan 11, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
PAFA. Via Wikipedia


The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, or PAFA, was the initial school for art in the US. Artists Charles Willson Peale and William Rush created the academy in 1805. Now, the institution will shut down its college at the conclusion of the upcoming school year, the 2024-25. The museum at the establishment will remain open, as described by the representatives.


The Pennsylvania Academy Affects Degree Programs

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Courtesy of PAFA.


In an open letter, PAFA President Eric Pryor disclosed that the college would close following the 2024–2025 academic year. He pointed to low enrolment and growing prices as the reasons. The board of directors of PAFA authorised the decision following the failure of measures to save the college.


“The higher education environment has become increasingly complicated by rising costs, expanding requirements, and dwindling enrolment”, Pryor wrote in the letter. “Colleges and universities in our own region and across the country are struggling with these trends. PAFA, unfortunately, is no exception”. According to Pryor, the modification just impacts its programmes that offer degrees.


The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Via José Angel Villarreal González


The museum will still provide additional educational programmes, such as its K–12 arts programmes and continuing education courses. PAFA’s bachelor’s degree programme will continue to accept applications from juniors and seniors who are on pace to graduate, in addition to MFA students. By 2025, the college will stop offering classes to freshmen and sophomores who are unable to graduate.

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Transferring Students to Other Colleges

Via José Angel Villarreal González


But, the institution teamed together with additional universities to facilitate the transfer of those 37 students to finish their studies. Those universities are the University of the Arts, Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Moore College of Art & Design, Arcadia University, and Pennsylvania College of Art and Design.


“Although we will no longer operate the BFA and MFA programs after 2025, we will continue to pursue the arts education mission at the core of PAFA’s 218-year history”, Pryor wrote. “In many ways, the decision to end these degree-granting programs presents PAFA with an opportunity to return to our roots—arts education for the lifecycle of the artist”, he also added. The institution said in a different statement that it was no longer feasible to offer all of the services associated with a college.


Via Joe Davis.


Although some faculty members will be let go after June 2024, the institution plans to retain 85% of them through 2025. How many faculty members will continue to teach non-degree programmes after 2025 was not immediately clear. Approximately 7,000 PAFA alumni can be found both domestically and overseas. Famous alumni of the school include painter Robert Henri and Impressionist Mary Cassatt.








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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.