The Place of Choice.
We’re the only arts university in the U.S. that allows our students to collaborate across traditional lines. Painters can minor in piano, dancers can study film, guitarists can take classes in screenwriting.
With more than 30 majors, 30 minors and 13 graduate programs in visual arts, performing arts, design and liberal studies, UArts develops alumni who are not only leaders in their disciplines, but also creative thinkers able to succeed in any path they choose.
We are more because you are more.
On Tuesday, Dec. 10, it was announced that Film Program Director and Assistant Professor Mike Attie’s short documentary Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa has been selected for inclusion in the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Attie’s film was chosen from over 10,000 submissions and will screen in Park City, Salt Lake City and Sundance Mountain Resort from Jan. 23 to Feb. 2, 2020.
“I was quite surprised by the news, as we really just submitted on a lark,” says Attie, who co-directed the piece with filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater. The film screened at the Guttmacher Institute in New York and was an official selection of the Philadelphia Film Festival in October, as well as being included in DOC NYC’s Shorts: Ways of Seeing in November.
Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa follows the work of the Philadelphia abortion hotline phone counselors—all called Lisa—who arrive each morning to seemingly endless calls from people who are seeking to terminate pregnancies and can’t afford to. Counselors struggle to stretch available funds, raised from private donations, often having to work with a dangerous matter of timing. Attie’s film aims to give a voice to women and teens impacted by economic stigma and discrimatory policies like the Hyde Amendment, enacted in 1976 with the adverse effect of denying poor individuals access to abortion.
“Independent artists create and enrich global culture. This year’s festival is full of films that showcase myriad ways for stories to drive change, across hearts, minds and societies,” said Sundance Institute’s president and founder Robert Redford in the festival’s Dec. 4 feature film announcement.
The festival—Sundance Institute’s flagship public program—is widely regarded as the largest independent film festival in the U.S., attracting over 120,000 attendees and 1,300 accredited members of the press. Attie will be attending the festival’s annual director orientation and celebration in New York with UArts grad Caitlin Riggsbee BFA ’17 (Film & Video).
“There was a lot of UArts in this piece,” says Attie. Two of his former students, Riggsbee and Courtney Kehr BFA ’19 (Film & Video), worked as sound recordists, and a future part-time faculty member will be doing the score and mixing sound. Attie hopes to continue these collaborative partnerships for the film, hinting at a possible collaboration with UArts’ Graphic Design department on poster design.
He added, “My hope is that this is just the beginning of the life cycle of this film!”
*Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute
University of the Arts recently celebrated the grand opening of the Laurie Wagman Music Studios on the 11th floor of Terra Hall. On Wednesday evening, Nov. 13, School of Music faculty, staff, students, university administrators and honored guests gathered to dedicate the space to its benefactor, Trustee Laurie Wagman. The opening of these state-of-the-art recording studios marks the culmination of the School of Music relocation and renovation project, which started in June 2018 and also features brand new rehearsal, classroom, office, lab and production spaces.
The dedication celebration included remarks from UArts President and CEO David Yager, School of Music Dean Micah Jones BM ’97 (Jazz Performance) MM ’99 (Jazz Studies) and Laurie Wagman. Remarks were followed by a ribbon-cutting and performance by UArts’ Transfusion ensemble, a highly dynamic group that programs an eclectic mix of sounds and primarily performs newly commissioned works by current students, alumni and faculty.
“The studios are a transformational gift to our School of Music and MBET program, which is experiencing incredible growth,” said Yager upon the announcement of the gift. “Laurie Wagman is deeply connected to the students and programs at UArts through her commitment of time and financial support and her personal relationships with students.”
Both recording studios are equipped with state-of-the-art, 24-channel API consoles and Antelope interfaces. There is a surround sound system in Studio A, while Studio B has a pair of Adam reference monitors. Both studios have a number of outboard compressors, equalizers and other effects processors. Studio A will also function as a fully analog space equipped with a 16-track tape machine.
“These are some of the best spaces I have ever seen in an urban university setting,” says Dean Jones. “Now, we have an environment where our students’ creativity can thrive. I cannot express how grateful we are for Laurie Wagman’s unwavering support of the school and where it is heading. Likewise, to our president, who has not only encouraged us to reimagine our campus, but has taken action to make those dreams a reality.”
Wagman’s generosity also helped create Laurie Wagman Presents, an MBET concert series managed and promoted by the program’s students, including Out of the Box, a series which promotes experimental, electronic and improvised music, mostly composed by MBET students and often featuring guest artists working at the fringes of their disciplines.
Wagman’s philanthropic focus is in the arts, education and social services, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards for her dedication to young people. She is the founder and president of American Theater Arts for Youth lnc. and American Family Theater. Under her four-decade leadership, the two organizations have presented professional, original musical productions to more than 32 million students throughout the U.S. In addition to University of the Arts, Wagman also serves on the boards of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the National Children’s Theater Alliance and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Philadelphia has always been a city of innovators, and the postwar climate of the 1950s through the ’70s brought change to the art community that fostered the creation of postmodernism. It was also a time when art institutions were built throughout the city, giving artists room to experiment through cutting-edge art education that placed them in conversations with artists around the world. Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde celebrates how the art community that thrives today was facilitated by museums, universities, theaters and individual artists that continue to innovate our culture.
Invisible City—curated by Sid Sachs, director of exhibitions for UArts’ Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, with Jennie Hirsh, professor of modern and contemporary art at Maryland Institute College of Art, and funded by a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Discovery grant—pays homage to Philadelphia’s avant-garde community through performances, exhibits and a digital archive. The project will open Jan. 30 across three venues––Gershman Hall, the Philadelphia Art Alliance and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery––as well as at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Also on Jan. 30, the Art Alliance will host Music of Philadelphia’s Masters: Persichetti, Rochberg and Crumb, which features flutist Sue Ann Kahn, cellist Christopher Finckel and pianist Andrew Willis––three of Philadelphia’s major composers. Later in the spring, Alex Da Corte BFA ’04 (Printmaking & Book Arts) will also reinvent Allan Kaprow’s 1962 performance art piece, Chicken, in Gershman Hall, where it was originally performed.
The digital component of the project includes an online archive of interviews, pictures and videos from 1950 to 1977 that highlight significant achievements in the Philadelphia art scene. Visitors can search the curated timeline by categories such as literature, music, film and painting to gain a greater understanding of their development over time. Additionally, clickable “arcs” explain the associations between cultural milestones. The site also features interviews with significant avant-garde artists, such as Denise Scott Brown, Ruth Fine, Jim McWilliams and myriad others.
Events throughout 2020 will showcase writers, photographers, architects and other artists who were instrumental in forming the city’s postmodern art landscape.
BFA '18 (Illustration)
News & Events
On Wednesday evening, Nov. 20, UArts faculty, staff, students, administrators and honored guests gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Center for Immersive Media (CIM) in Juniper Hall. The opening of this state-of-the-art facility marks the culmination of a year-long renovation project, announced in summer 2018.
The grand opening celebration included remarks from UArts President and CEO David Yager and CIM Director Alan Price, as well as live, hands-on demonstrations of VR, motion capture and various immersive sensory experiences. Remarks were followed by a ribbon-cutting and exclusive preview performance of “Infinitely Yours” by Miwa Matreyek, the center’s first fellow. She will join University of the Arts in the spring 2020 semester, leading a course in CIM that will focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, called Projection, Body and Storytelling.
Adjunct assistant professor, master sound engineer and CIM’s first faculty grantee, JohnPaul Beattie BA ’10 (Composition), will also lead a course in CIM in spring 2020, titled Spatial Audio Composition. Beattie has received a microgrant to pursue research that will synchronize spatial audio with immersive lighting design and explore the interconnectedness of our eyes and ears.
We believe artists and creatives are uniquely positioned to help us understand the enormous impact technology is having on our lives. -President Yager
CIM at University of the Arts is a place where students and faculty can explore the opportunities and implications of what it means to be immersed in data, simulations, stories, performances and digital communities. The 5,600-square-foot facility is dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture, and human-computer interaction through collaboration across visual and performing arts disciplines.
“CIM demonstrates our commitment to advancing human creativity in a changing world,” Yager says. “We believe artists and creatives are uniquely positioned to help us understand the enormous impact technology is having on our lives, and the center will afford a fantastic opportunity for experimentation and exploration at the intersection of the arts, design, science and medicine.”
University of the Arts and International House Philadelphia (IHP) have announced that the two institutions will ensure the continuation of Philadelphia’s premier year-round exhibitor of film and moving image art by transferring the Lightbox Film Center program from IHP to UArts, beginning in January 2020.
The transfer will allow Lightbox to continue to present an unparalleled slate of repertory, nonfiction, experimental and international film while drawing upon UArts’ School of Film and its artistic community. Lightbox Chief Curator Jesse Pires will be the founding director and curator of Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts. When screenings conclude at IHP’s Ibrahim Theater at the end of the year, Lightbox will relaunch in February 2020 with regular screenings on the university’s campus.
“The addition of the Lightbox program offers unrivaled alignment with UArts’ strategic vision and mission to advance human creativity,” said UArts President and CEO David Yager. “As a universitywide center, Lightbox will foster collaboration across the university’s seven schools and more than 40 programs, while continuing to engage the broader public.”
UArts is already committed to building a purpose-designed screening room on Broad Street, which will become the primary home of Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts. The screening room will be housed in the lower level of 401 S. Broad St., which is currently being transformed into a comprehensive student center.
Thanks to the generosity of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, UArts has designated $1.5 million for a multiuse center and screening room on the lower level. In the interim, the Lightbox program will operate out of Levitt Auditorium, also located at 401 S. Broad St.
“I am extremely excited to be part of this new era for Lightbox at University of the Arts,” said Lightbox Chief Curator Jesse Pires. “This is a unique opportunity to build upon the rich foundation established over the past 40 years of film at IHP, and UArts offers a perfect new home to continue to expand our ambitious and thought-provoking programming.”
While Lightbox has thrived for 40 years, UArts’ Film program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. Together, the two bring 90 years of film experience to the Avenue of the Arts, and build upon two legacies that already share significant overlap and influence. UArts’ own Wendy Weinberg, the current Dean of the School of Film and Associate Professor, formerly served as the workshop coordinator for the Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association as well as pre-screener and committee member of the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema in the 1990s, both of which were initiatives founded as a part of Lightbox, then known as the Neighborhood Film/Video Project.
“I’m particularly delighted that our students will have the opportunity to not only view exceptional work but also to be engaged in the curatorial process,” said Dean of the School of Film at University of the Arts, Wendy Weinberg. “Broad Street is the perfect place to expand our film community, with students and enthusiastic local cinephiles in close contact. The eclectic mix of programming will reach diverse audiences and the collaborations we can only begin to imagine will benefit all the arts up and down the Avenue. I can’t wait!”
The partnership was announced just prior to the opening of Dream Dance: The Art of Ed Emshwiller, the first major monographic exhibition of the artist’s groundbreaking work in film, video and visual art. Funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Emshwiller retrospective will run from Oct. 18 to Dec. 7 and include a series of screenings at IHP and an exhibition of the artist’s paintings, illustrations and archival material at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery.
The opening reception for the retrospective will take place Friday, Oct. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, 333 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. It is free and open to the public.
BEIJING – On Friday, August 30, 2019 the Special Exhibition of the United States at the 8th Beijing International Art Biennale officially opened at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, curated by University of the Arts.
UArts President and CEO David Yager and Vice President Rick Longo served as curators for the special exhibition, the sole representative of the United States at the major international art event.
Hundreds gathered for the private opening of the Biennale, and and more than a million visitors were expected to attend over the event's 20-day run.
“It is a great honor for the University of the Arts to be selected to curate the United States pavilion at this global art exhibition,” said Yager. “It’s also an exceptional opportunity to showcase the extraordinary artist/educators from the University of the Arts, and the university’s history of developing creative leaders for over a century.”
President Yager was interviewed on several national television networks in China, including Beijing TV and China Central TV (CCTV), which together reach more than 500 million viewers across China.
Since its inception in 2002, the Beijing International Art Biennale has featured more than 4,000 artists from over 100 countries.
The American Special Exhibition showcased UArts’ 142-year legacy of arts leadership and spotlighted the University’s mission of advancing human creativity. Twenty-one artworks by 10 teaching artists and alumni of the University were presented. The artworks spoke to the unique culture of creativity education that the University instills in its students. Teaching artists and alumni included:
- Mark Campbell ‘74
- Daniel Clayman
- Matt Curtius and Gina Triplett
- Shawn Faust ‘18
- Laura Frazure ‘86
- Michael Grothusen
- Mi-Kyoung Lee ‘96
- Alan Price
- Rebecca Sack
- Loveis Wise ‘18
Watch President Yager's interview with Beijing TV here.
The University of the Arts’ Makerspace is a digital and traditional fabrication studio that is a major opportunity for the entire UArts community.
#uartist is a celebration of the boundless creativity of the UArts community. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are welcome to share their work with us via Instagram by including #uartist.
Calendar of Events
See upcoming events in UArts galleries, performance spaces and around campus in Philadelphia.