Academy of Realist Art Supports Suspended NY Art Teacher Peter Panse re Nude Figure Drawing in Fine Art Instruction

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Toronto fine art school Academy of Realist Art supports suspended New York fine art teacher Peter Panse in his conflict with Middleton school board on the issue of drawing from the nude model. Good art training requires nude Figure Drawing classes, which are not prurient, says Academy.

Academy of Realist Art (ARA) (, a private fine art school in Toronto, Canada, has voiced support for suspended art teacher Peter Panse, who is in conflict with his district school board (Middleton, NY) over the issue of encouraging young art students to draw from the live nude model.

Panse had encouraged his students to take Life Drawing classes outside their regular curriculum, in order to create better portfolios to compete for scholarships at post-secondary art schools. He has been suspended in what appears to be a backlash related to an earlier, real sex scandal in the district.

In a letter for Panse’s lawyer, Academy Director and senior instructor Fernando Freitas cites the long history of drawing from the nude as part of a traditional art training, beginning with the ancient Greeks and continuing through the Renaissance and into today’s classical representational-art curriculum.

Says Freitas, "This is serious art training, the students work very hard. Even the youngest teens are mature and focused in front of the model."

Drawing the figure is absolutely fundamental to a successful career in portraiture and fine painting, according to modern classical-realist art instructors like those at ARA. High-school students are not considered too young for the experience; Renaissance apprentices are known to have worked from the nude at a very young age without apparent trauma.

The full text of the letter is posted on the school’s weblog at

About ARA:

Academy of Realist Art (ARA) ( is a private fine art school in the classical tradition, modelled on the great 19th-century Academies. Located in Toronto, Canada (near Buffalo, NY), ARA offers a proven curriculum of step-by-step, self-paced fine art study in a group environment. Students can learn to draw and paint at ARA full- or part-time and during periodic workshops. After completing the rigorous four-level (approximately four-year) program -- which includes the famous Bargue/Gerome Design Course and the painstakingly reconstructed curriculum stemming from Renaissance roots -- students receive a diploma transferable toward a degree at accredited colleges and universities via portfolio evaluation and credit banking. Academy of Realist Art is one of the few fine art schools to be accredited and recommended by the Art Renewal Center ( for excellence in drawing and painting instruction in the classical realist style.

Senior artist-instructors Fernando Freitas and Juan Carlos Martinez ( are both prize-winning contemporary realists. Freitas' exceptional draftsmanship and teaching style are evident in the recently released DVD, Drawing the Figure ( ). Martinez' artwork and method are currently featured by _International Artist_ magazine, in a six-part article, "The Academy Way."

Living Masters and other art experts enrich the ARA curriculum with special demonstrations and lectures every semester.

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Kate Williams
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