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PAFA receives gift to enhance printmaking capabilities

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has received a $500,000 gift to upgrade and expand its printmaking facilities and to extend its printmaking and digital curriculum.

The gift, from Julie Jensen Bryan and Robert Bryan, will significantly upgrade the academy's Printmaking Shop, located on the sixth floor of the school and museum's Hamilton Building at North Broad and Cherry Streets.

Julie Bryan is a photographer who studied with Arnold Newman, Mary Ellen Mark, and Lisette Modeland; Robert Bryan is an architect who has practiced internationally and has served on the boards of the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks and the Associates of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In a brief statement, Julie Bryan acknowledged the academy's history, but noted that "it's exciting to see that we're creating new artists now that speak to this generation. We're not stuck in the past."

Clint Jukkala dean of the academy's school, said the Bryans' gift will significantly enhance the Printmaking Shop's digital capabilities, which, in turn, will support the expanding curriculum.

"Institutionally, I'd say [printmaking] is very important, Jukkala said. "All undergraduates take printmaking in their first year, but they don't necessarily major in it, There are a few printmaking majors a year, around five. The drawing numbers are small too, but drawing is seen as the backbone of the academy program."

He added that the number of printmaking majors "may be small, but the number of users of the shop is substantial."

There are about 200 students pursuing undergraduate degrees and certificates at the academy, and about 100 students engaged in graduate studies.

David R. Brigham, academy president and chief executive, and interim museum director, said that the gift was particularly welcome because printmaking "encourages individual creativity and collaborative effort, and fine art production and an entrepreneurial spirit, and results in works of art that can be produced in editions and therefore shared more democratically than many other media."

The Printmaking Shop, now named for the Bryans, is an expansive space, Jukkala said, with equipment to facilitate, lithography, intaglio relief, and letterpress work.

"It's a great working environment, " he said, adding that the augmented capabilities will facilitate, among other things, a new digital lab, the first digital photography course in the spring, and added graduate programs.