History of PAA

Mission, Vision and Core Values

We offer premier visual arts education focused on classical techniques and skill enhancement in drawing, painting, and sculpture.

We foster a community where artists, from novice to seasoned, are mentored by professionals to produce aesthetically and intellectually compelling work.

Princeton Academy of Art seeks to be a cornerstone of artistic excellence, merging classical traditions with the energy of contemporary philosophies to shape artists capable of producing work that speaks to both the timeless and modern.

It fosters a community where creativity and a deep-seated passion for learning, growth, and visual art are cultivated and celebrated.

  • Excellence: Our commitment to excellence underpins every facet of our operation, ensuring we deliver a superior education in visual arts that is globally recognized.


  • Creativity: Creativity lies at the heart of artistic expression. We nurture this vital element, empowering our students to discover and refine their distinct voices and visions.


  • Craftsmanship: We value traditional skills and techniques, and to cultivate skilled artisans, we offer meticulous instruction in the foundational aspects of drawing, painting, and sculpture.


  • Innovation: While honoring the classical tradition, we view it as a springboard for innovative exploration, encouraging our students to engage with new materials, technologies, and conceptual frameworks.


  • Community: Our belief in the transformative power of a supportive community guides our efforts to forge a nurturing, inclusive space for students, faculty, and staff to thrive artistically and personally.

PAA's History

Classical art academies, originating during the Renaissance with institutions like Florence’s Accademia del Disegno, established a formal education system emphasizing foundational skills such as drawing and anatomy. This model spread across Europe, influencing art standards and education through academies in France and England and emphasizing a curriculum that has shaped Western art. Despite facing criticism in the late 19th century for stifling innovation, the methodologies and principles of these academies continue to underpin modern art education. Today, institutions like Princeton Academy of Art (PAA) draw from this rich heritage, blending classical techniques with contemporary perspectives to offer a comprehensive art education. PAA embodies the legacy of classical art academies by fostering technical mastery, creativity, and a deep understanding of art history in its curriculum.

In the early to mid-2000s, interest in classical art education was significantly revived. New schools and ateliers emerged to address a gap in fundamental skills training within contemporary art education.

This movement, rooted in a commitment to mastering drawing, painting, and sculpture through traditional techniques, marked a global renaissance of classical methodologies, emphasizing the importance of foundational skills such as human anatomy and perspective.

The establishment of institutions like the Princeton Academy of Art (PAA) reflects this resurgence, as it offers a curriculum that combines the rigor of classical training with the power of contemporary artistic theory. By joining this global movement, PAA reaffirms the perpetual value of classical art education, fostering a community where traditional skills are developed alongside constant innovation and creativity, ultimately contributing to the rich history of contemporary art.

Founded on the principles of classical art education and evolving from a private studio to a vibrant community serving over 150 artists annually, we at Princeton Academy of Art are dedicated to transcending traditional art instruction. Our approach is rooted in the belief that refining technical skills is as crucial as connecting deeply with the purpose behind one’s art.

We embody this philosophy by fostering an environment where rigorous skill development is complemented with philosophical exploration, ensuring our students not only excel in their craft but also develop a profound understanding of their role as interpreters of the world.

By embracing interdisciplinary dialogue and aiming to mend the educational fragmentation of the 20th century, we cultivate a space where artists are encouraged to see themselves as multifaceted scholars—scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers. At Princeton Academy of Art, we stand as a testament to the synergy of classical tradition and comprehensive education, committed to nurturing the intellectual and creative growth of our community.


The First Classical Academy of Art


The Royal Academy of Arts


More than 80 Academies of Art were established by this time

Mid-19th Century

Avant-garde art movements gain popularity, and classical art academies begin to become less popular.