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University of the Arts (Philadelphia)

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1870, 1876, 1985


Acceptance rate
69.5% (2014)


David Yager

$44.9 million


Undergraduate tuition and fees
41,464 USD (2016)

+1 215-717-6000

Graduation rate
61.7% (2014)

Academic staff
121 full time, 420 part time

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

320 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA

Notable alumni
Irving Penn, Joe Dante, Judith Jamison, Arnold Roth, Stanley Clarke

Moore College of Art and D, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fin, Temple University, University of the Sciences, Drexel University


The University of the Arts (UArts) is a university of visual and performing arts based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its campus makes up part of the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, Philadelphia. Dating back to the 1870s, it is one of the oldest schools of art or music in the United States.


The university is composed of two colleges and two Divisions: the College of Art, Media & Design, and the College of Performing Arts, as well as the Division of Liberal Arts and the Division of Continuing Studies. Many alumni have achieved notable success.


The university was created in 1985 by the merger of the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts and the Philadelphia College of Art, two schools that trace their origins to the 1870s.

In 1870, the Philadelphia Musical Academy was created, and in 1877 the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music was founded. In 1944, the Children's Dance Theatre, later known as the Philadelphia Dance Academy, was established by Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck. In 1962, the Conservatory of Music and the Musical Academy merged, then, in 1976, the combined organization acquired the Dance Academy, and renamed itself the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts. After establishing a School of Theater in 1983, the institution became the first performing arts college in Pennsylvania to offer a comprehensive range of majors in music, dance and theater. This institution is now the College of Performing Arts of the University of the Arts.

In 1876, the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art was founded as a museum and art school. In 1938, the museum changed its name to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the school became the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. In 1964, the school became independent of the museum and renamed itself the Philadelphia College of Art.

In 1985, the Philadelphia College of Art and the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts merged to become the Philadelphia Colleges of the Arts, and gained university status as the University of the Arts in 1987. In 1996, the university added a third academic division, the College of Media and Communication, which merged with the College of Art and Design in 2011 to become the College of Art, Media & Design.


The University of the Arts' nearly 1,900 students are enrolled in 41 undergraduate and graduate programs in six schools: Art, Design, Film, Dance, Music and the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts. In addition, the university's Division of Continuing Studies offers courses through its Continuing Education, Pre-College, and Professional Institute for Educators programs.

College of Performing Arts

  • Majors: Dance; Jazz Studies (Composition, Instrumental Performance, Vocal Performance); Music Business, Entrepreneurship + Technology; Acting; Musical Theater; Directing, Playwriting + Production; Theater Design + Technology
  • Graduate programs: MFA in Devised Performance, MM in Jazz Studies, MM in Music Education, MAT in Music Education
  • College of Art, Media & Design

  • Majors: Animation; Film + Animation; Photo + Film Media; Interdisciplinary Fine Arts; Craft + Material Studies; Design, Art + Technology; Film + Video; Advertising Design; Graphic Design; Illustration; Industrial Design; Photography; Film Design + Production
  • Graduate programs: Art Education/Teaching, Book Arts + Printmaking, Crafts Post-Baccalaureate, MDes in Design for Social Impact, MDes in Product Design, Museum Studies (programs in Museum Communication, Museum Education, and Museum Exhibition Planning + Design: http://museumstudies.uarts.edu/, Studio Art
  • Division of Liberal Arts

  • Majors: Creative Writing; Film + Media Studies; Writing for Film + Television
  • Facilities and collections

    The university's campus, located in the Avenue of the Arts cultural district of Center City, Philadelphia, includes 10 buildings with more than 850,000 square feet (79,000 m2).

    The Albert M. Greenfield Library houses 152,067 bound volumes, 6,936 CDs, 14,901 periodicals, 16,820 scores and 1965 videos and DVDs. The Music Library collection holds about 20,000 scores, 15,000 books, 10,000 LP discs, and 8,000 CDs. The Visual Resources Collection includes 175,000 slides. Additional university collections include the University Archives, the Picture File, the Book Arts and Textile Collections, and the Drawing Resource Center.

    UArts' 10 galleries include one curated by students. Exhibitions have included the Quay Brothers, Vito Acconci, R. Crumb, Rosalyn Drexler, April Gornik, Alex Grey, James Hyde, Jon Kessler, Donald Lipski, Robert Motherwell, Stuart Netsky, Irving Penn, Jack Pierson, Anne and Patrick Poirier, Yvonne Rainer, Lenore Tawney and Andy Warhol.

    The University of the Arts currently has eight theaters. The Merriam Theater is the largest on campus with a seating capacity of 1,840. The Levitt Auditorium in Gershman Hall can seat 850. Also in Gershman Hall is a black box theater used for student-run productions. The university's Arts Bank Theater seats 230, and the Laurie Beechman Cabaret Theater is located in the same building. The university also utilizes the adjacent Drake Theater, primarily for dance productions. The Caplan Center for the Performing Arts, located on the 16 & 17th floor of Terra Hall – which opened in 2007, houses two theaters. Its black box theater seats 100 and a recital hall seats 250.

    Residence halls

    The university has four on-campus residence halls located in the heart of Center City. Each dorm contains beds, dressers, desks, and chairs. They also contain a bathroom and mini kitchen with a mini fridge and cabinets. The halls include Furness, Pine, Spruce, and Juniper (reserved mainly for upperclassmen).

    Notable faculty

  • Edna Andrade (1917–2008), American geometric abstract painter and early Op Artist, 1996 recipient of the College Art Association Distinguished Teaching of Art Award for her three decades of teaching at Philadelphia College of Art
  • Alexey Brodovitch (1930–1940), photographer, designer, art director
  • Aaron Levinson, Grammy Award-winning producer and musician
  • Camille Paglia (1947–), author and feminist social critic
  • LaVaughn Robinson (1927–2008), professor from 1980–2008, American tap dancer, recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a "Living National Treasure"
  • Lizbeth Stewart (1948–2013), American ceramist
  • References

    University of the Arts (Philadelphia) Wikipedia

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