Published by The College of Liberal and Professional Studies
Checking In with Bachelor of Fine Arts Grad, Beth Hahn
"When I first came to Penn as a Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts student, I was intimidated. This was an Ivy League school, and as an artist I was not certain how I would fit in. My fears were unfounded. I quickly adapted to the environment. I identified my interests in Penn’s many libraries and museums. I became fascinated by folklore; I took comparative literature and women’s studies courses; I studied French; and then I found myself writing short stories. I decided to minor in English because I had the credits to do so, and because I wanted, in a very concise and official way, to mark such a fruitful passage in my life.
When I graduated, I decided to complete a master’s degree in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. It was something I never would have dreamed of doing when I sat down in my first composition course at Penn, but over the course of my studies I had gained both the confidence and the maturity to accomplish new goals.
I believe Penn is still giving its gifts to me today. I write, illustrate, and design knitwear patterns for a 19th-century serialized mystery called The Adventures of Miss Flitt. When I write, I remember the lessons in craft I first encountered at Penn, and because the story is historical I must use my research skills.
The work I did at PAFA can be found in my understanding of watercolor and line, and the knitwear designs reveal a valuable skill for any visual artist: the ability to organize one’s thoughts and solve problems—whether those problems be artistic, mathematical, spatial, or creative. If I’m ever worried that I can’t meet a deadline or reach a goal that I’ve set for myself, I remind myself of that first day at Penn, when I was nervous and felt that I wouldn’t fit in, and then I know I can accomplish what I’ve set-out to do—and more."
Bachelor of Fine Arts 1997, Cum Laude