Visiting Artist Program

This student-run program brings an outstanding roster of local, national and international artists to PAFA each semester for lectures, critiques, and workshops. The program exposes students and the public to a range of artistic approaches and fosters discussion about contemporary art and ideas.

VAP Artist Lecture Schedule

All lectures are free and take place from 5pm - 6pm. Some lectures will be held online and others will be held in person in PAFA's Rhoden Arts Center.  See the Summer 2023 list of artists for more information.  

PAFA students do not need to register for these public programs—check your student email account for invitations to the online lectures. The public may attend by registering through the museum events page.

Catch up on past artist talks by enjoying recordings of last season on our YouTube channel.

Summer 2023 VAP Series

Tim McFarlane

Tim McFarlane - June 21, 2023

Rhoden Arts Center | 5:00pm - 6:00pm 

Tim McFarlane is a painter based in Philadelphia, PA. His abstract paintings and works on paper examine the fluid and contradictory nature of memory and place as informed by time, with an emphasis on color, multi-layered systems and process. McFarlane’s observations of the visual impact of human activity and his everyday engagement with man-made and natural environments form the basis of his work. In addition to painting, his practice includes site specific mixed media installations, murals, photography and digital experimentation.

A 1994 Temple University/Tyler School of Art graduate, Tim has exhibited his work extensively in the U.S. in group exhibitions and major art fairs in New York, Miami, Dallas and San Francisco. McFarlane’s paintings and works on paper reside in numerous private and public collections such as The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Woodmere Museum of Art, The Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, Bucknell University, Fox School of Business (Temple University) and West Virginia University. His work is represented by the Bridgette Mayer Gallery (Philadelphia).

Charles Mason

Charles Mason - June 28, 2023

Rhoden Arts Center | 5:00pm - 6:00pm 

Charles Mason III (Baltimore, MD) received his AA in General Studies from the Community College of Baltimore County, 2010, BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2014, and his Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2019. He has curated several shows in Baltimore and Philadelphia as well as had solo shows which include Screaming in Silence, My Salvation is Love (The End), at Anna Zorina Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 2022, Goya Contemporary Gallery Baltimore, MD, 2021, and Spillway Collective, Philadelphia, PA, 2019. He has participated in group exhibitions, The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, co-organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM),  Charm City, Asya Geisberg Gallery, New York, NY, The Radical Voice of Blackness Speaks of Resistance and Joy, Banneker-Douglass Museum, Annapolis, MD, A Gathering, HOUSING Gallery New York, NY, Radical Reading Room, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem, NY, Breaching the Margins, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI, CARPE DIEM, UTA Art Space and Surface is only a Material Vehicle for Spirit, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago, IL to name a few. He has work in the permanent collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, the James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, the Whitney Museum of American Art Special Collections, and the Hammer Museum Grunwald Center Collection, he is also a recipient of Maurice Freed Memorial Prize. 

Amber Robles-Gordon

Amber Robles-Gordon - July 5th, 2023

Online | 5:00pm - 6:00pm 

Amber Robles-Gordon, has over fifteen years of exhibiting, art education, and exhibition coordinating experience.  She received a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration in 2005 at Trinity University, and subsequently a Master’s in Fine Arts (Painting) in 2011 from Howard University, Washington, DC. At Howard University she received annual awards and accolades for her artwork. She has exhibited nationally and in Germany, Italy, Malaysia, London, and Spain. Robles-Gordon is proficient in American Sign-Language and has traveled throughout the US, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia. Her exhibitions and artwork has been reviewed and/or featured in the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, Washington Informer, Examiner, WAMU American University Radio, WPFW 89.3, MSNBC the grio, Hyperallergeric,, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, Huffington Post, Bmore Art Magazine, Callaloo Art & Culture in the African Diaspora, Sugarcane Magazine, Support Black Art, Bomb Magizine and other various publications. More about Amber here.  

Ryan DaWalt - July 19, 2023

Rhoden Arts Center | 5:00pm - 6:00pm 

Information coming soon.

Lavett Ballard

Lavett Ballard - July 26, 2023

Rhoden Arts Center | 5:00pm - 6:00pm 

Lavett Ballard is an female Mixed Media Visual Artist, Art historian, Curator, and Author. She holds a dual Bachelor’s in Studio Art and Art History with a minor in Museum Studies from Rutgers University- Camden and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  

Ballard’s art has been commissioned as a cover twice for Time Magazine first in March 2020 for their special multi cover edition for the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage and in February 2023 for a cover and interior art for Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s essay about her book CASTE: Origins of our Discontent. Among her other accolades is a Yaddo Fellow Artist residency in 2021, in 2023 a NJ State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, and in 2018 Pew fellowship nomination. Ballard’s artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and been used in film, television, and literary publications. Along with being acquired by many private and public institutional collections nationally and internationally. 

Ballard views her art as a re-imagined visual narrative of people of African descent. Her use of mixed media collaged layered imagery reflects social issues affecting primarily Black women’s stories within a historical context. These photos are deconstructed and layered on reclaimed large and small aged wood fences. The use of fences is a symbolic reference to how fences keep people in and out, just as racial and gender identities can do the same socially. 

Ballards portfolio can be viewed via

Bonny Leibowitz

Bonny Leibowitz  - August 2, 2023

Online | 5:00pm - 6:00pm 

Leibowitz produces objects, installations and paintings utilizing a multitude of materials in ways that often disguise their origin, blurring the boundaries between the manufactured and the natural. Her installations, expounding upon idealized landscape painting traditions such as the Hudson River School, Romanticism and the Baroque, act as deconstructed paintings, as though walking through fragments of a fractured history indulging the beauty of the depicted landscape, side by side with its own shattered mythology. 

Her solo exhibitions include The MAC, Dallas, TX, The Art Gallery at Collin College, Plano, TX, Terrain Dallas, Baugh Center for the Visual Arts at MHBU, Belton, TX, No.4 Studio Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, The Neon Heater, Findlay, OH, Liliana Bloch Gallery, Dallas, TX, Art Cube Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA, The Museum of Art, MSU, Wichita Falls, TX and Cohn Drennan Contemporary, Dallas, TX. 

In 2019, she was invited to a residency with Judy Pfaff in Bushwick, NY. 

Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including Bla-Bla Projektraum, Berlin, Germany, The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, The Ely Center of Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT, The Cape Cod Museum of Art and Art Basel Satellite Art Fair, Miami, Florida. Originally from Philadelphia, Leibowitz lives in Dallas, TX. where she maintains her studio practice. 

Catch Up on Some Talks You Missed

Stories from the Visiting Artist Program

MFA student Lily Brown hosts a zoom session

"The most important thing I have learned is what it feels like when my voice and decisions have power. The choices Lily, Marley, and I make about who we will invite is a responsibility that far outweighs the administrative work in the background. We are not only representing PAFA and our student body, we are also helping to create the art world we want to be part of." –Kristy Jane (Low-Res MFA '22), VAP coordinator

Claudia Valenti (MFA '20) in her studio

“Visiting artists like Haley Josephs have come into my studio and I lost my mind. It was such an incredible experience; you get a total random chance to meet an artist you’ve been following for years. Usually these programs are not run by students, so it’s really exciting to be able to have that agency in school.” – Claudia Valenti (MFA ’20), previous VAP coordinator