Kaitlyn McCulley ’21 designs the College’s New Year’s greetings

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Monday, January 9th, 2023

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design’s 2023 New Year’s card, a lush rendition of the College peacock mascot with a tail of gleaming blue, green, and gold, wasn’t just designed by an artist destined to remain anonymous.

Instead, it was created by one of the College’s own, illustrator Kaitlyn McCulley ’21. 

Working digitally with Photoshop, McCulley used just a few layers of detail and washes of watercolor-like color to create the image, sent as seasonal greetings via mail and email to more than 9,000 friends and supporters of PCA&D. 

McCulley, whose work frequently depicts the natural world, says that she “likes to get kind of personal” with her subjects, working on pieces in which “the composition of the subject takes up most of the image plane — rather than small figures on a big, wide landscape. “I like to display the character of the subject,” she adds, “and that is harder to do when they’re really tiny on the canvas.” That trademark also was evident in work already familiar to the College community: McCulley’s design was chosen to brand the 2021 Senior Show & Celebration. 

This time, the BFA Illustration grad had to work quickly. When she got the green light for this most recent New Year’s project, it was a race through December to get it finished by deadline. 


Artist Kaitlyn McCulley ’21 with the New Year’s card designed for PCA&D.

Representing the College

McCulley has a long history of creative entrepreneurship, from a Kickstarter project while she was still at PCA&D to now working from her home as a freelance illustrator. And she already has several other PCA&D commissions under her belt. First called upon to embellish an award certificate for former Board of Trustees Chair Audry Carter, McCulley soon was commissioned again, this time to create an original work of art in honor of Carter as the trustee stepped down from her leadership role. 

McCulley’s next work created for the College is familiar to anyone who steps into President Michael Molla’s office. In a place of honor behind his desk glows a large, nearly life-sized framed peacock illustrated and  hand-colored by McCulley. 

“I’m honored to be surrounded by the artwork of our students, alumni, and faculty on campus. The newest painting in my office, a peacock created by alumna Kaitlyn McCulley is a colorful representation of our College mascot and is a fitting background for all of my online meetings,” President Molla says.  “I’m delighted that Kaitlyn could also create another version for the College’s 2023 New Year’s card for us all to enjoy.”

See more of Kaitlyn’s work


Instagram: @k_a_m_9_9