In the years since his graduation from PAFA,Benjamin Volta (Cert. ‘02) has used his art education to enrich the lives of his students and their neighborhoods. He has developed projects with Philadelphia public school teachers that integrate art into the math and science curriculum. Through his work, Volta shows his commitment to how the arts can be a powerful tool for students to examine their relationships with nature and the community.
His education efforts were recognized by the National Academy of Science for combining the arts and science in education, and through that recognition the works of some of his students from Grover Washington Jr. Middle School are now on permanent display at the Keck Center in Washington, D.C.
Volta’s own work largely consists of outdoor public art and adorns buildings including Drexel University’s 11th Street Family Health Services Center, the Cohen Children’s Medical Center near New York City, and the Regina Public Library in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Funding to support his work has come from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the U.S. Department of Education.
Recently much of his public art is created in conjunction with the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, including the mural Amplify on a wall of a 125-year-old building that currently houses the live music venue Union Transfer.
Volta worked on Amplify with participants in a Mural Arts program that offers prison inmates, probationers, parolees, and juvenile offenders the opportunity to learn new skills and make a positive contribution to their communities. “Many of the unique designs are exploratory and decorative but some are embedded with meaning.”
Volta’s artistic skills grew at PAFA but so did his love for the city. “My time at PAFA helped lay a foundation for me as an artist and it strengthened my choice to stay rooted in Philadelphia.”