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Continuing Education at PAFA

Pre-College Seminar

Pre-College: Public Art in America: Landscapes and Cityscapes


with TK Smith

Calendar Next available session starts Nov 7, 2020 at 1 pm, runs for 5 weeks

The architecture of Chicago is distinct from the architecture of New Orleans. The city of Boston is made of brick, while stucco is found in Miami. The architecture in the United States is as diverse as its people and tells the history of war, migration, and American identities.  

This is an introductory course for teens on American landscapes and architecture. We will explore the international influences and distinctly American elements of landscapes and public structures found across the United States. We will examine public parks, cemeteries, theaters, and government buildings to give students a firm understanding of iconic American architecture.

This 5-week course will meet weekly for 1.5 hours on Zoom for seminar style, discussion-based learning. Additional resources, assignments and communication are on the learning management system Canvas. Students will be required to do weekly readings or viewings to prepare for the class sessions, and a cumulative object study assignment that involves light field research and willingness to try basic drawing (all drawing levels welcome).


Students may take this course in combination with Public Art in America: From Monuments to the Monumental to earn 1.0 college credit, or this course can stand alone as a no-credit course.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will participate in discussions about art, architecture, and public space that will improve their course discussion skills to better prepare them for college seminar style learning.      
  • Students will leave the course with the skills to conduct a digital presentation.      
  • Students will learn to generate knowledge from field research.      
  • Students will be given the introductory skills to conduct detailed object study. Object study is a corner stone in the study of art and material culture and builds patience while it trains the eye.      
  • Students will leave this course able to recognize and identify how history, culture, and conflict have shaped the physical nation around 

Teacher Information:

TK Smith is a Philadelphia based writer, art critic, and curator. Smith is currently a Ph.D candidate in the American Civilization Program at the University of Delaware. He received his MA in American Studies and his BA in English and African American Studies from Saint Louis University,


Parent/Guardian must fill out Student Information & Release form BEFORE first day of class.

Pre-College: The Art of Surviving the Apocalypse: Imagining Diverse Futures


with Li Sumpter

Calendar Next available session starts Nov 10, 2020 at 4 pm, runs for 5 weeks

The apocalypse is not just an end, but the beginning of something new. This course will explore apocalypse myths of birth, death and rebirth that imagine different futures and new realities. Focusing on the visions of the future shaped by the African Diaspora, we will explore mythic and media landscapes of the black imagination with Dr. Li Sumpter.

How does media culture inform our perspective on the world and shape reality? Can art really imitate life? This 5-week course for teens covers key concepts of world building and contemporary myth-making known to black culture across the African Diaspora. Students will examine connections between speculative fiction and historic headlines revealing patterns of apocalypse that permeate the black experience and all of human existence. Assignments focus on visual and media literacy, testing students’ ability to recognize and re-imagine archetypes and aesthetics of afrofuturism and apocalypse for their own story worlds. Course assignments/projects include: weekly media diary/dream journal, character cards (like tarot cards), and a short story.


Students may take this course in combination with “The Art of Surviving the Apocalypse: Contemporary Myths + New Media” to earn 1.0 college credit, or this course can stand alone as a no-credit course.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the key building blocks of mythmaking and story design
  • Identify the major archetypes and defining aesthetics of apocalypse in classic film and contemporary media
  • Recognize various ways themes of apocalypse can be visually interpreted and expressed through different cultural perspectives and aesthetic lenses 
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the connection between reality and fiction, media stories and the mythic imagination by keeping a weekly media diary/dream journal.
  • Create your own characters and story worlds inspired by course content

Teacher Information: 

Dr. Li Sumpter is a mythologist, educator and social practice artist. She earned her Ph.D in Mythology from Pacifica, M.A. in Arts and Humanities Education from NYU, and she is currently Creative Director at MythMedia Studios. Learn more here:

Parent/Guardian must fill out Student Information & Release Form BEFORE first day of class. 


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