Princeton Academy of Art

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Princeton Academy of Art



138 Nassau St, 2nd Floor, Princeton, United States

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Anna Neis founded Gemma Art Foundation in 2006 as a charitable institution that provided and improved possibilities for emerging artists of all ages through art exhibitions, hosting year round art classes, lectures, professional development workshops, discussions and other art-related events for our community and surrounding area. It's merit-based programs included Artist’s Fellowships and Scholarships for Art Students.

In 2017 Gemma Art Foundation developed into Princeton Academy of Art. Anna's vision for Gemma Art Foundation shifted from a solely charitable organization to an educational institution aiming to not only support but academically instruct artists. Princeton Academy of Art has year round courses, hosts lectures (art history, professional development for artists etc.)/fundraisers and hosts visiting artist workshops. 

Princeton Academy of Art presents a unique educational experience in the European Classical Tradition. Our curriculum merges the methods of classical atelier education and the Russian academic tradition. Following in these traditions, instruction is a focused immersion into human anatomy, perspective, and tactile approaches to analyzing form. By rigorously studying these methods alongside concrete principles of value, color and composition, students are able to traverse various media and techniques to interpret the world around them in a way that suits their temperament and vision.

At Princeton Academy of Art, we believe that an artistic education must allow for flexibility and conversation. We work to provide a context for information that at first is abstract and unconnected, but with time and study allows for students to make parallels within their own personal interests and experiences.

Our guiding principle is a belief that the study of visual art is a practice of communication and support. In the face of the infinite number of pitfalls and discoveries that the artist will encounter in their career, this foundation ensures that they will learn to create connections with not only their peers but the broader artistic community. Our instructors are exhibiting artists who aim to structure the curriculum in a way that enhances and encourages the artistic continuum of our students. They are not only instructors, but dually mentors and professional connections for our students.

Our goal is to show students that an artist develops their own creative absolutes only through internalizing the broadest possible collection of examples from the history of art. We work by adapting to the individual student’s needs, while structuring the assignments based on examples from the dense history of figurative art. There is constant review and discussion of historical and contemporary works of art in order to expand the student’s knowledge and visual vocabulary.

Full time tuition is $10,000 with part time tuition beginning as low as $1,750 per semester. We offer shorter visiting artist workshops between 2 and 5 days with internationally known professionals, in-depth art history lectures by some of the worlds most regarded speakers and other events to enhance our students educational experience.

Founded 2006
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Full-Time Instructors 2
Students 20
Accommodation No

Part time: USD 1750 / semester

Full time: USD 10000 / year

Princeton Academy of Art

138 Nassau St, 2nd Floor

Princeton, NJ, 08542, United States

Anna Neis

Executive Director & Lead Instructor

Anna Neis is an artist, educator and lecturer. Neis is a representational artist of contemporary myth working in a classical realist tradition. She holds MFA degrees from Moscow Art Academy and New York Academy of Art. With over 20 years teaching experience, Neis founded Gemma Art Foundation in 2005. Gemma Art Foundation was a non-profit educational institution dedicated to the education and promotion of fine arts and has now evolved into Princeton Academy of Art. Her works have been shown nationally and internationally including New York, San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo. Her work is in private collections, as well as the permanent collection of Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, New York. “Teaching art is unique. Blending the didactic teaching of technical skills with the abstract idea of creativity is the most important part of helping students reach their potential.” –Anna Neis

Kelsey Doherty

Operations Manager & Instructor

Kelsey is an artist living in Bucks County PA. She received her BFA Magna Cum Lauda from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD where she majored in painting and minored in ceramics as well as culture and politics.

Post-graduation, she began interning as a TA and Social Media Coordinator at Princeton Academy of Art under the instruction of Director and Founder, Anna Neis. In 2018 she was hired as the Operations Manager for the school where she manages the Academy's 3 programs and outreach initiatives.

James Sondow


A native New Yorker, James was first introduced to figurative drawing in his teens at the Art Students’ League and Hunter College High School. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1996, James taught art for the next decade at the Rubin Museum, Saint Ann’s School, and various public schools while refining his craft, studying life drawing, painting, and sculpture at Pratt, SVA, and the Art Students’ League. In 2003, he began his classical training in the Russian academic method at Bridgeview School of Fine Arts in New York City. Two years of intensive summer study at Russia’s premier art academy, the Ilya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, cemented James’ affinity for their thorough program and their strict teaching methodology. Relocating to St. Petersburg from 2007 to 2012, James became the first American accepted to the Repin Institute’s sculpture department in over 20 years. After a three-year hiatus, in which he taught sculpture and drawing at the Beaux-Arts Academy in New York and Rome, he returned to the Repin Academy in Russia from 2015-2017 to become the only American to graduate with highest honors and be offered a solo show at the Academy. He has exhibited both drawing and sculpture in New York City and St. Petersburg and received various awards including the Gloria Medal at the National Sculpture Competition held at the New York Academy of Art.

Iliya Mirochnik

Visiting Instructor

Originally from Odessa, Ukraine, Iliya immigrated to the United States in the early 1990’s with his family. From a young age Iliya pursued training in the arts in the Russian academic tradition. He studied in LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Art and in the Bridgeview School of Fine Arts in New York under the tutelage of professors trained in the art academies of the former Soviet Union. Iliya studied in St. Petersburg, Russia in the prestigious I.E. Repin State Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture from which he received his Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting. In his paintings he aims to connect the Russian aesthetic with American sensibilities, creating images that go beyond their origins. He has been recipient of a number of prestigious scholarships and awards both in the United States and in Russia, winning the “First Place” award in the American Portrait Society’s International Portrait Competition. Iliya was selected to develop his design for a public monument for Icon Bay Residences in Miami, Florida in collaboration with The Related Group architecture firm. He was recently a Third Place winner of the Alpine Fellowship Fine Art Competition. Iliya Mirochnik also actively teaches. He has given workshops and lectures in such institutions as Ringling College of Art and Design, Del Mar College, Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, Florence Academy of Art, Grand Central Atelier, The Academy of Realist Art Boston, and many others. Currently, Iliya resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Roberto Osti

Visiting Artist

oberto Osti is an artist, author and educator. He studied in Bologna, Italy, at the State Institute of Art where he received his degree in Art from 1973-1978. He later studied at Bologna University’s Superior School for Anatomical/Surgical Drawing where he received a degree in Anatomical/Surgical Drawing with honors in 1982. Roberto then came to the United Sates where he studied at the Art Students League followed by the New York Academy of Art where he received his Masters of Fine Art in 2007.

Roberto has taught at the Yard School of Art, Bloomfield College, Drew University: Caspersen Graduate School and presently the New York Academy of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Art as well as the University of the Arts.

Select Exhibitions:

Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2011 and 2016)
Flowers Gallery NYC
The Drawing Center NYC
Sloan Fine Art NYC
DFN Gallery NYC

Select Publications:

-2018, May & October issues of Artists Magazine

-2016, Basic Human Anatomy, Roberto Osti – anatomy for artists, released in
October 2016 by The Monacelli Press, NY,NY

-2011, Creative Quarterly– Creative Quarterly

-2009, Drawing–The Winter 2009 issue of Drawing magazine, an American Artist
publication, features a 10-page article on my work including images and a

Academic Drawing No. 1

Academic Drawing No. 2

Academic Drawing No. 3

Academic Drawing No. 4

Portrait of Gabrielle

Captured by Light

James Sondow

James Sondow

Still Life with Écorché

Still Life with Lion

Venus de Milo

Master Copy After Rembrandt

Master Copy After Rubens


Copy of Claude Lorrain's "Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Noon)"

Borghese Vase

Portrait of Miranda

Portrait of Miranda

Study of an Iris

Anatomical Cast Study

Anatomical Cast Study

Student Work

Student Work

Student Work

Geometric Shapes

Academic Drawing

Academic Drawing

Academic Drawing

Teresa Oaxaca Workshop

Roberto Osti Workshop

James Sondow's Russian Academic Drawing Class

Gilberto Geraldo Master Class