CSSSA College Connection Visits Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Marshall Ayers College, Drawing & Painting, Getting Into College, High School, Sponsors, Student Resources, Summer Program, Visual Arts, Visual Arts

Meet Chuck

Chuck Alston attended California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) in 2013 and studied painting. He is currently a freshman at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia.

Growing up in Richmond, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chuck knew from a very young age that art was part of his identity and he was fortunate to attend schools that supported his development.

“I was always drawing since I was little. In elementary school I was always drawing on my homework, so my Mom knew I had an interest”

Chuck attended the San Francisco School of the Arts for high school, and had an immersive summer experience at CSSSA at CalArts in southern California his junior year, so as his college application process began he felt he needed to get away from home. He decided to head to the east coast to challenge himself and to broaden his outlook because as an artist, challenging yourself comes with the territory.

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Life at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

While at CSSSA, Chuck was the recipient of the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation scholarship and also the Herb Alpert Emerging Young Artists scholarship. Later upon being admitted to PAFA, Chuck was invited to apply for the prestigious Donald R. Caldwell full tuition scholarship, which he was awarded. All of these scholarships enabled him to leave the west coast and start the next adventure of his life in Philadelphia.

“I went in totally blind, but that was probably a good thing.” Chuck says.

Established in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has a rich tradition and the curriculum is anchored by the deep resources within the Museum’s collection. Located in the historic core of the city, Chuck says the school and all of Philadelphia has a cool “older vibe” than he was used to in California. But the best part of his relocation? Chuck says that his art practice has been stimulated by the different architecture, culture and people of Philadelphia that he has experienced and after all, that’s why he went in the first place.



Words of wisdom from Chuck: you have to “leave your comfort zone” as an artist in order to develop.


California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) Bridge To College

The CSSSA Foundation’s CSSSA College Connection is a web-series featuring CSSSA alumni in their college setting. The series is about the human element of connection, providing peer-to-peer insight regarding the college process in the context of the arch of an individual’s life journey.

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Marshall Ayers
Arts education specialist with 25+ years experience in non-profit organizations and public educational settings. Marshall founded Artzray to create a community of young, multidisciplinary artists who are seeking professional, practical and personal career resources. Marshall lives and works in LA with her family, but hails from the east coast. When she's not working on Artzray, she would rather be sailing, reading or listening to her son play cello.
Marshall Ayers