Photo from last year's Young Professionals Night.

Photo from last year’s Young Professionals Night.

Benefit 2016 Young Professionals Night on February 5 is your key to meeting, mingling, and networking with young professionals groups from the Philadelphia area, with access to career resources, community service opportunities, and more. Learn more about one of the participating arts organizations, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in an interview with Membership Manager Nora Granahan.

Erica: Can you tell me a bit about the history of PAFA and how its role in Philadelphia has evolved over the years?

Nora: PAFA is America’s oldest school and Museum and has been a cultural anchor in Philadelphia since its creation in 1805. PAFA was founded to promote the cultivation of the fine arts in America and that goal remains at the core of PAFA’s mission today.

Erica: What is it like having two such distinct roles in the community – as a museum and a school – and how does it create certain challenges that you might not otherwise face?

Nora: PAFA’s role as a museum and a school is unique – we can offer access to artists and art educators that other museums can’t and access to a robust collection that you won’t find at many other art schools.

People often think of PAFA as one or the other, so we are constantly working to meld our two halves. It’s a good challenge to have though. PAFA has a lot to offer!

Erica: Are there any current or upcoming events at PAFA that you’d recommend as not-to-be-missed?

Nora: Yes! Don’t miss our current special exhibition, Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis, which features work by the abstract expressionist artist, Norman Lewis. His paintings are beautiful and inspiring and his story is powerful – it’s definitely worth seeing.

We will be hosting a Young Friends Night on March 9 to highlight this exhibition – expect a fun evening of art, cocktails, and jazz!

PAFA’s Open Studio Night, which is coming up on February 19, is another not-to-miss event. PAFA’s MFA, BFA, Certificate, and Post-Baccalaureate students open their studios to give the public a sneak peek at their works in progress. It’s a very cool behind-the-scenes experience.

Erica: What are you looking forward to most about participating in Young Professionals Night?

Nora:Creating programming tailored to young professionals is a new initiative for us so we are looking forward to the opportunity to make some new friends.

Erica:Is there a value to young professionals participating in the arts economy and becoming collectors themselves?

Nora: Absolutely! Philadelphia has such a thriving community of artists and in order for that community to continue to thrive, we need to have an equally strong community of art supporters and collectors.

Diving into collecting can be intimidating, but one of the great things about living in a city like Philadelphia is that there are so many opportunities to buy work from emerging artists, like the InLiquid Benefit or PAFA’s Annual Student Exhibition.

PAFA actually has a great new series starting in May, which is geared towards young collectors. As an institution that is training the next generation of American artists, we feel strongly about helping to cultivate the next generation of art collectors too. Check out our upcoming programs at pafa.org.

Press Bid to Play at Benefit 2016, February 5 – 6 at Crane Arts.

Rachel Bomze

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