In an open letter to the public, Eric Pryor, President of The Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts announced Wednesday PAFA will be ending its degree-granting programs. The BFA and MFA programs will officially wind down at the end of the 2024-2025 academic year.
Founded in 1805 by the artists Charles Willson Peale and William Rush, The Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts is America’s oldest art museum and the country’s first art school.
An End Of An Era
PAFA became an accredited college in 2013 and there are about 7000 alumni in the world.
Pryor cited low enrollment and rising costs as contributing factors to the decision.
“The higher education environment has become increasingly complicated by rising costs, expanding requirements, and dwindling enrollment,” 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.”
The Board of Trustees of PAFA made the final decision at a special board meeting held on Jan. 9, 2024 and also cited its plan going forward.
“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.”
Students are who are unable to complete their degree by the end of the 2024-2025 academic year, have options. Students will be able to transfer their credits and complete their degree at five local colleges and universities. These universities include 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.
The Future OF PAFA
Indeed, the museum will remain open. Yes, the degree-granting programs is coming to an end. However other educational programs, such as its K-12 arts programs will continue to be offered by the museum.
“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.”