PA Academy of the Fine Arts to end degree programs in 2025, students may transfer credits to Arcadia

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has announced that it will wind down its BFA and MFA degree-granting programs in spring 2025 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,” according to their website.

The decision comes as a response to budget deficits due to low enrollment.

“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.”

PAFA’s current students who wish to transfer their credits are able to finish their arts degrees on schedule at Arcadia University.

They may also transfer to Moore College of Art & Design, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, or University of the Arts.

PAFA shared information regarding its plan going forward, which includes three core components:

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

Academy leaders told The Inquirer about initiatives extending across the school, museum, and its two Broad Street buildings just north of City Hall, including:

  1. Continuing assessments of the museum’s collection with an eye toward possible deaccessioning.
  2. Turning the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building into an “arts hub” shared with a number of Philadelphia arts institutions.
  3. Renovating and addressing deferred maintenance at the historically significant Furness-designed building.
  4. Bringing on a new higher-education partner to join the existing University of Pennsylvania program in granting college degrees.

For more on the decision, you can click here.

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