113th PAFA Student Art Exhibit Celebrates Tradition & Today

It takes an entire school year to create the more than 1,000 pieces of art on display and available for purchase at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) Annual Student Exhibition which starts tomorrow. 

"It was a long road," said Jude Martin, an East Falls native who has 10 colorful paintings in the show. "It's exciting to look at your art work and talk to people about it."

Martin had an interest in art at a young age. He recalls going to free children's art classes as a small child. But, art became a central part of his life after he dropped out of high school, went back to school at the Community College of Philadelphia and became a PAFA student.

"I don't have any one way for making art. My paintings are about human interaction with nature and the world. My style jumps around a bit," said Martin, who hopes to become a K-12 art teacher one day.  

This year marks the 113th annual show that highlights the work of 128 students. Art collectors flock to the annual PAFA student opening reception where students may provide oral insight into the work they painstakingly produced all year. The student art will hang from May 9 until June 9 at the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, 128 N. Broad St. PAFA chronicled the journey of six students as they worked to prepare for the exhibition via a blog.

Baltimore native Lauren Pellerito has just one piece in the show. But that one piece is a dynamic sculpture that is suspended off the ground 4-feet high by 9-feet high. The work is a root system titled "Reaching for Distant Land." The work seeks to make the connection between Tanzania and Philadelphia. Pellerito uses steel, an abrasive material, to represent Philadelphia and wood as a symbol for Tanzania which she described as having a slower way of life. 

The public reception takes place May 9 from 5-8 p.m.  Special recognition awards are presented to students. 

"Something I've learned from making art is the not knowing. Being comfortable with not know is like my lifestyle," said Pellerito.

PAFA offers an arts education in painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture on the bachelor's, master's and certificate level. The school provides students with the opportunity to have their work exhibited in the adjacent world-class museum known for its 19th and 20th century American art. 

Contact Sarah Glover at 610-668-5580, sarah.glover@nbcuni.com or follow @skyphoto on Twitter.

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