University of the Arts
Advancing Human Creativity
University of the Arts’ mission is simple: to advance human creativity. UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success in today’s society and has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders for more than 145 years.
After being granted university status in 1987, University of the Arts became the largest institution of its kind in the nation, offering programs in design, fine arts, media arts, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing. It now features 23 undergraduate arts majors, 15 graduate programs and the nation’s first PhD program in Creativity.
Kerry Walk, PhD, currently president of Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) on New York’s Upper East Side, will become University of the Arts’ fifth president and CEO on Aug. 1. Walk, a champion of student learning and success, is the first woman to assume the UArts presidency.
“Kerry is a proven dynamic leader in higher education who espouses the values that shape UArts’ extraordinary university community,” said Judson A. Aaron BM ’81 (Saxophone), chair of the university’s Board of Trustees. “As a highly experienced college president passionate about arts education, she is the perfect person to capitalize on our momentum as UArts embraces its next chapter. Perhaps more importantly, it is clear she believes deeply in our cross-disciplinary educational imperative, which aims to nurture our students’ ability to think, adapt and innovate in preparation for professional success and a rich, creative life.”
“UArts’ mission, to advance human creativity, has never been more important and relevant than it is today,” said Walk. “As UArts students and alumni have constantly demonstrated for nearly 150 years, artists and creative thinkers are at the forefront of innovation and meaningful change in our society, striving for a more just and equitable world. It is an honor to be chosen to lead the university at this pivotal moment.”
Walk received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Wellesley College and her Master’s and PhD in English Literature from University of California, Berkeley. She focused on Shakespeare, both on the page and on the stage. Prior to her presidency at MMC, where she has served for eight years, she was provost and interim president of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and spent more than two decades teaching and leading major initiatives at Harvard University, Princeton University and Pitzer College.
“What stood out most to me was Kerry’s superior understanding of the workings of a private arts-based university—the challenges we face, as well as the need to work collaboratively with and support the faculty and staff,” said Search Committee member and Interim Director for Creative Writing Steven Kleinman. “As she has demonstrated throughout her career and across numerous institutions, she will be an inspirational president with the ability to lead our university into the future.”
At MMC, Walk has led the college through a critical time for higher education through her abiding belief in building strong, inclusive communities and engagement in proactive and collaborative long-range planning. Through her leadership, the college has focused on the convergence of creative practice and critical inquiry infused with social justice, diversity and innovation. She has secured significant funds, including a $25 million gift, the largest in MMC’s history, to support scholarships and the creation of the Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts, a transdisciplinary hub of creativity built to support its students’ creative endeavors. The Judy, as it is better known, is a perfect emblem of Walk’s philosophy that sits at the intersection of the liberal and creative arts and guides innovative work that spans disciplines. Walk also recently launched MMC’s Center for Health, Human Development and Creativity, which encourages students and faculty to pursue opportunities for creative research and collaboration as students prepare to enter and transform health and well-being professions.
Walk’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, a fundamental UArts value, has been a hallmark of her long career. Among her first actions when arriving at MMC was to appoint the college’s first DEI officer and form a presidential council to coordinate DEI efforts across the college, centering the work within the President’s Office. In 2021, amidst the pandemic, the college opened the Intercultural Center, a welcoming space to provide a safe, educational and social justice–oriented environment for students across marginalized groups.
Walk also launched CityEdge, a signature program that aims to broaden the college’s educational avenues by immersing students in New York–focused coursework, internships and other career-preparation programs. With $1.7 million in funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Walk built BRIDGE, a unique prison education initiative that strengthens the bonds between the college’s students on campus and those incarcerated at two correctional facilities for women in Westchester County, New York.
Beginning in July 2022, a search committee comprising students, faculty, staff and trustees conducted the presidential search with executive search support from the firm Isaacson, Miller. The committee considered a pool of distinguished candidates from across the nation before the Board of Trustees unanimously elected Walk to the UArts presidency. Walk will succeed President and CEO David Yager, who has led the university since 2016 and is retiring on June 30. Board Chair Jud Aaron will serve as interim president for the month of July.
University of the Arts has announced the recipients of the 2023 Grants for Creative Research and Innovation program, providing funding to 12 innovative projects led by UArts faculty and staff.
Through funding provided by the President’s Fund for Excellence, the Grants for Creative Research and Innovation program is able to disburse over $68,000 to realize the 12 projects. The 2023 grant cycle saw a 44% increase in submitted proposals. The President’s Fund for Excellence continues to grow, thanks to support from private donors.
The program’s second round of funding is allowing UArts staff and faculty members to explore identity and history through video, audio and performances; build DIY vehicles; develop several multimedia performances; and creative and immersive virtual reality narrative.
The grant recipients will begin to conduct research, travel and execute their projects immediately, with many resulting performances, installations, production periods and travel taking place over the summer and into early fall.
The staff and faculty selected to receive grants this year are Anthony Guido, Kevin Merinsky, María Jimena Paz, Arabia Richardson, Chris Rodgers, Priyanjali Sen, Mikhail Sergeev, Cynthia Veloric, Emily Wexler, Lauren Whearty, Rebecca Wright and Uwazi Zamani. Below is an overview of the staff and faculty projects that have received funding from the President’s Fund for Excellence.
Overview of funded projects
Anthony Guido: DIY Urban Cargo E-Bike production
Anthony Guido, associate professor at the School of Design, will build a fully functional, affordable DIY cargo e-bike to help spark interest in the new UArts Product Design program and both produce and demonstrate important design concepts and practices for Guido’s courses.
Guido’s build process draws on open source DIY e-bike plans from Danish firm NK55 and will involve fabricating, documenting, using and presenting actual examples of progressive, eco-minded design. Furthermore, the production will be directly incorporated into Guido’s coursework, specifically Design for Sustainability and the fabrication shop-based course Exhibition Materials and Methods. The experience and documentation developed during the build process will serve as a model for future Product Design (both MDes and BFA levels) hands-on studio learning projects and will potentially be repurposed into design workshops for high school students seeking enrollment at UArts.
Arabia Richardson: ‘And Now We’re Live’ dance and historiography project
Arabia Richardson, adjunct assistant professor at the School of Dance, will be undertaking a continuation of her MFA thesis, titled “And Now We’re Live,” which is an expansive project encompassing historiographical delving and exploratory dance. Richardson will travel to Goshen, Alabama, to continue in-depth work on assembling family history. While there, she will visit local libraries and government buildings to comb through county residential records, meet with people who knew of her family before they ventured up north; and interviewing, archiving and finding ways to help dance move us closer to the next answer.
“I consider this to be a lifelong project, tracing my histories and bringing my discoveries back to my living relatives, becoming the family's historian and archivist,” Richardson says of the research. “Being present in a space such as Goshen will allow me to work with the gravity of Blackness, time traveling into the past and making new rhythms from the body and causing dynamic shifts in space using gestures, emphasizing tones and facial expressions from interviewing … continuing to find the archival traces through movement, documentation, collecting and sharing. Through this process, I hope to enlighten my family, as well other members of the Black community, of the importance of familial archivism.”
Richardson will travel during the summer and complete the project in August.
Chris M. Rodgers: ‘Stillness is the Move’ solo exhibition
Chris Rodgers, UArts’ ceramic technician, is presenting Stillness is the Move, a solo exhibition hosted by the Clay Studio in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, in July 2023. The Creative Research and Innovation Grant will support the cost of materials and kiln firings necessary to realize Rodgers’ project. He cites the exhibition as an important opportunity to demonstrate the development of his personal creative practice and experience as a resident artist at the Clay Studio, furthering his career as a working artist.
Rodgers aims to create 10 to 12 sculptures, including a delicate spherical piece and a classical bust. The sphere will be adorned with a relief of small cast ceramic feathers covered with silver leaf, and the classical bust will be broken, then refired to be rejoined.
Beyond any personal professional goals, Rodgers hopes that the exhibition can work to connect the greater UArts and the Clay Studio communities. He notes that his exhibition can act as an introduction to the Clay Studio for UArts students, leading to their exploration of other creative outlets in Philadelphia and expansion of their own practices.
Cynthia Haveson Veloric: COCE conference presentation
Critical Studies adjunct associate professor Cynthia Veloric will be attending and presenting at the International Environmental Communication Association’s Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). The COCE will address planetary ecology and our fractured environment, with sessions devoted to sustainability, pedagogy and education, policy and governance, social media and technology, consumption and agriculture, science media and journalism, and animal voices—to name only a few areas of focus!
“The conference will catalyze new ways of seeing and communicating the planetary crisis and thus will enhance my abilities as a university lecturer and freelance curator,” Veloric says. “This opportunity, in turn, would complement my teaching of environmental art at the university. My presence at the conference will increase my visibility as an academic and bring the UArts name to a new discipline.”
Veloric’s paper and presentation is titled “Pollution Pods: Synesthetic Space as Environmental Communication,” which Veloric will present in June.
Emily Wexler: ‘Birdsong’ multimedia solo performance
Emily Wexler, adjunct associate professor in the School of Dance, is developing Birdsong, a multilayer, multimedia solo performance that will be choreographed and performed by Wexler and incorporate video projects of LOVESONG, a trio of films with a cast of 10 dancers. Throughout the choreographic work and performances, Wexler is exploring “the repetitive experience of trauma and the ways in which grief vibrates within us.” Leading motifs in the performance include erosion, repetition, and digging—all choreographic concepts that Wexler will explore in movement scores, which will include some established movement phrases derived from personal memories.
The performance itself will include a pair of very loud industrial fans on the highest setting which will be in the performance space, closely facing Wexler as the audience enters and serving as a conceptual element, an atmospheric sound source that interacts with the score and as a choreographic component. Wexler will also be collaborating with sculptor Jena Gilbert-Merrill to create a large, raw-clay vessel for the performance.
Birdsong will be performed in May 2023.
Kevin Merinsky: ‘Betaverse’ interactive virtual-reality film
Creative Technology Specialist Kevin Merinsky is working on realizing Betaverse, an interactive virtual-reality film that asks participants to question our ability to determine fact from fiction when technology can be used to fabricate whole worlds right before our eyes.
Merinsky describes Betaverse as a project that aims to foreshadow what disinformation could evolve into as digital environments become more immersive. “Best described as an interactive virtual reality narrative experience, Betaverse will rely on user interactions to change a participant’s experience in unintended ways and create a shifting narrative designed to keep its user engaged,” he elaborates.
Participants will be placed into a three-dimensional scene and launched into a narrative experience that borrows from an undecided historical event. Each character or element they interact with will be recorded and used to gauge the user’s interest and/or bias toward a particular direction in the narrative. At the conclusion of a scene, Betaverse will dynamically compile the next chapter of the narrative, based on what it knows about the user, making it harder to be exposed to an alternative viewpoint as presented by characters in the film. Upon completion, participants will be shown a visual representation of their story arc and how it deviates from what actually occurred per our historical understanding.
Merinsky will have a functioning prototype of Betaverse completed in September 2023.
Lauren Ann Whearty: untitled solo show
Adjunct associate professor of fine arts Lauren Whearty will use the grant to fund the production of a body of work for a commercial gallery solo exhibition at Philadelphia’s Gross McCleaf Gallery.
Whearty’s work is focused on still life paintings. She uses the genre to make connections among aesthetics, world views and values. “Still Life painting speaks through our shared histories and projects aspirations into our future through the process of world building,” Whearty says. “It observes and critiques how we live and see and engages viewers to look more closely at the world around them.”
Whearty will complete the body of work for the exhibition by June 2023, to then be installed during the last week of June for a July show. Whearty says that the exhibition is a transformative opportunity for her studio practice and her career: “Having this platform will allow me to gain publicity, develop new relationships and most importantly, create a cohesive and ambitious body of new work.”
María Jimena Paz: ‘Conversaciones’ (working title): Conversations with Latine/x immigrant migrant dance artists
Jimena Paz, assistant professor in the School of Dance, will be interviewing artists who were born, raised and partially socialized in other countries/cultures in Latin America before migrating to the U.S.
“This presents a different perspective from notions of reclaiming cultural heritage from past generations,” Paz says of the interviews. “It is about the present, not about the past. In this particular case, the other cultures are alive in different Spanish-based native languages, the materiality of the body and bodily expressions—not only running like deep water, but also easily surfacing and overflowing.”
Paz will conduct interviews from March through June and will then transition to editing, writing and translating during her residency at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Italy during June and July. The interviews will yield a book and a podcast that Paz will present in September 2023 at the NOT Festival in New York City.
In preparation for this project, Paz is immersing herself remotely and in person in the study of cultural biology in Matriztica, Chile, a school founded by renowned biologist Humberto Maturana and Ximena Dávila, that is also known as the School of Thought of the Southern Hemisphere. She will also be studying the Quechua language and culture through the Folklore department at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Paz says that “going back to study in my own language and culture with students from different places within Latin America will allow me to learn in community as I reflect on my own cultural roots.”
Mikhail Yu. Sergeev: ‘Crucifixion in Art: From Church Frescoes to Modern Painting’
Mikhail Sergeev, adjunct professor in the Critical Studies program, will complete the writing and publication of his book manuscript, provisionally titled Crucifixion: From Church Frescoes to Modern Painting. Taking a scholarly historical and comparative approach, Sergeev advances his thesis that the 20th century produced a distinctive way of portraying the Crucifixion. Namely, depictions of the Crucifixion during the 20th century yielded a universal symbol of redemption through righteous suffering. It becomes a cultural prism through which artists judge their contemporary society.
Sergeev argues that “the central event in Christian history … [remains] widespread in modern times, especially in an apparently secular and frequently atheistic 20th century. Contemporary Crucifixion paintings tend to de-emphasize the religious content and self-identify with the body on the cross. In addition, they exhibit a much greater variety and complexity.”
With first and second proofs printed and proofread by June, Sergeev expects the book to be published by M-Graphics Publishers over the summer, since he has already secured a contract with the Boston–based publisher.
Priyanjali Sen: Book Research and Short Film
Visiting Professor in Film and Media Studies Priyanjali Sen is pursuing a film history and archival research project that builds on and expands her doctoral thesis, with the Creative Research and Innovation Grant enabling the groundwork for and production of two new scholarly chapters for her in-progress book, titled The Literary Poetics of Bengali Cinema (1922–2022): History, Sensibility and Cosmopolitan Consciousness.
Sen will conduct research at the National Film Archive of India, Pune; the National Library, Kolkata; and four film societies in West Bengal (Federation of Film Societies of India – Eastern Region, Cine Central, Behrampore Film Society, and North Calcutta Film Society) that have all played a significant role in preserving, circulating and generating discourses around Bengali-language cinema in India.
One proposed chapter will focus on specific silent films that were produced during the colonial era under the regulation of British colonial policies, censorship and Cinematographic Acts. The second proposed chapter will engage with the major transformation that occurred in the Bengali film industry and film culture in the decade following the Naxalite Movement (1967), when violent peasant uprisings, along the lines of China’s Maoism, subverted the prevailing ideologies that were catering to elitist/bourgeois audiences.
Besides the overarching goal of writing two book chapters for the monograph that Sen intends to publish in the next couple of years, she will also produce a short film that will document the research process and historiography component of this project. Additionally, as a faculty ambassador to the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Committee, Sen intends to give a talk for DEIA about displacing dominant ideas while navigating the archives during the fall 2023 semester.
Rebecca Sonia Wright: ‘OTHER ORBITS’ installation play
Rebecca Wright, adjunct assistant professor in the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, will produce OTHER ORBITS, a large-scale installation play about community, evolution and survival through the lens of camp science fiction. The play unfolds in two spaces simultaneously complementary governing bodies in the science fiction world-building of OTHER ORBITS, between which audience members are invited to move freely, choosing for themselves what to watch and how to engage with the piece. Per Wright’s proposal, the installation set design is immersive and otherworldly and transports audiences to an alien environment, while prioritizing accessibility as a core value of the piece. OTHER ORBITS will strive to accommodate every kind of body and mobility, welcoming all audience members to “come, go, sit or get down with the performance in the consensual manner of their choice … [Audience members] can walk directly from a delicate interspecies negotiation between an alien Walrus and a talking Blackberry in the Chambers to a stately consultation in the form of social dance between a sentient Mushroom and a Mutant Pig in the Dance Hall.”
Wright has written OTHER ORBITS to unfold on a distant planet, where a group of wildly diverse non-human characters assemble at an All-Planet Council Meeting. “Like us, they find themselves in a historical moment when the actions of some are threatening the survival of many, and they will need to reimagine their entire social system in order to prevent massive ecological disaster,” Wright says. “Mutant mammals, talking plantlife and sentient machines must work together across the barriers of their varied lifespans, needs, sizes and communication methods to ensure the flourishing of all.”
The production will begin rehearsing in June 2023 and will premiere in July 2023 at Standby Studios in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood.
Uwazi Zamani: ‘hooded: a hymn for the hidden’
Uwazi Zamani, artist in residence in the School of Dance, will create a multidisciplinary art and performance installation that uses text, voice and the epistolary to explore the intersections of police violence, queerness and Black boyhood. Titled “hooded: a hymn for the hidden,” the performance installation will examine how narratives of Black masculinity and Black queerness are simultaneously shaped in urban centers like Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia.
This work utilizes singing, movement, improvised sound score and visual media to “situate a hood as a recurring metaphor; one that signifies racism and the accompanying moral perception of Blackness in America” Zamani says. “In this work, I draw on Fred Moten’s notion of enclosure—a psychological entrapment caused by social precarity. This work questions how Black men navigate enclosures that frame them as reductive, noncomplex categories instead of plural and emotionally complex beings.”
The performance will have dancers responding to improvised audio loops, a primary vocalist and visual elements. Collaborators will join rehearsals and give feedback on the work in progress. For the month of April, dancers will repeat this process with audio loops recorded from previous sessions and the vocalist will improvise
Zamani will put grant funding toward lighting, sound equipment, costumes and compensating artists, as well as expanding the scope of research for this project. The finalized presentation of “hooded” will take place on Saturday, April 22.
About UArts’ Creative Research & Innovation Grant
The Creative Research and Innovation grants are made possible through the President’s Fund for Excellence, which continues to grow through the generous support from the university’s private donors.
The 2023 round of grants was evaluated and awarded by a committee of UArts faculty and staff comprising Director of Exhibitions Management & Head Preparator at the Philadelphia Art Alliance Michael Ciervo, Photography program director Jennifer Greenburg, Creative Writing;s interim program director Steven Kleinman, Associate professor at the School of Music Paul Schuette, associate professor at the Ira Brind School Fadi Skeiker and associate professor at the School of Dance Katie Swords Thurman. The selection process was facilitated by Director for Special Projects Raúl Romero.
In recognition of her global contributions to dance, Donna Faye Burchfield, dean of University of the Arts’ School of Dance, was awarded the rank of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture. The recognition, one of the primary distinctions from France’s ministerial orders, is bestowed upon those who have distinguished themselves through their creativity in the cultural realm and their dedication to advancing the distribution of arts and culture.
The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established by the Republic of France in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The Order of Arts and Letters is awarded three times annually under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Culture. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman.
“Traveling to France over the past three decades has shaped my career in profound ways,” Burchfield said. “The relationships I have formed there over the years have helped me to understand the great lessons bound up in lifelong, loving friendships in dance. I am humbled by this honor.”
“Collaborating with Donna Faye, sharing ideas, and learning from her experience in dance and education is as joyful as it is elevating. It makes you wish you were a student again, and students of Donna Faye are fortunate indeed,” said Gaëtan Bruel, director of Villa Albertine and Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States.
Donna Faye Burchfield, professor and dean of the School of Dance, arrived at University of the Arts in 2010. Before her arrival, she served as dean of the American Dance Festival (2000–2010) and professor of dance at Hollins University (1993–2010) in Virginia.
While at UArts, in 2019, she worked alongside Lauren Bakst to develop the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage–supported platform The School for Temporary Liveness, which premiered that fall at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. In summer 2018, she launched the university’s internationally situated MFA program in Montpellier, France, situated at the ICI-CCN (International Choreographic Institute). That was coupled with the inaugural Study Cycle, Dancing Politics, Moving Performance: Conversations at the Edges of Choreography, which took place at the CND (Centre National de la Danse) in Paris. She formed a three-year-long working relationship with the artistic staff at the Painted Bride Arts Center as an artistic advisor to guide the Bride’s 2016 Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia Project with support from the Pew Center. Returning to Seoul for the fourth time, she was a juror for the 2016 Seoul International Choreography Festival. She also served on the Dance/USA Philadelphia’s Advisory Committee and as co-chair for the national conference for Dance/USA (June 2013), and she co-chaired and hosted the Society for Dance History Scholars conference: Dance and the Social City (June 2012) at UArts. In May 2014, she received a distinguished honorary fellowship from Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Israel. The award is given to distinguished artists whose artistic and educational visions have made a remarkable contribution to the fields of music and dance. She was awarded the esteemed Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Award and endowed chair for distinguished teaching at the 2011 American Dance Festival (ADF) at Duke University. In 2006, she received the North Carolina School for the Arts Outstanding Teacher in Performance Award for contributions to the dance program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts and to the state of North Carolina.
While at Hollins, she authored and directed the Hollins MFA program in collaboration with the ADF (2006–2010). She also hosted the American College Dance Festival on two occasions and the 2008 Congress on Research in Dance conference: Dance Studies and Global Feminisms. She received the Hollins Herta Freitag Faculty Legacy Award for Distinguished Service in 2009.
She has worked generously across the U.S. and around the world as an educational leader in the field of dance, developing curriculum, managing international programs, and hiring and recruiting faculty, as well as leading national and international recruitment efforts. Her service to the field extends to decades of work on a multitude of panels and organizations around the globe in support of dance and students. Her in-depth work and teaching of dance in countries around the world include China, Hong Kong, England, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Tunisia, Italy and Cuba. She taught, managed, designed and curated the teaching platforms for the ADF International Linkages in Moscow (U.S. State Department supported, 2000), Seoul and Shanghai. Burchfield holds a BFA and an MFA from Texas Christian University, where she studied with Jerry Bywaters Cochran.
News & Events
On Sat., Oct. 15, UArts welcomed Oscar-nominated director Sam Green for a screening of his 2022 Sundance Film Festival hit documentary, 32 Sounds. The film, which asks audiences to reconsider their relationship to sound, was presented as a “live cinema” event at Lightbox Film Center, and Green provided live narration.
Green designed 32 Sounds to be a participatory documentary that can be experienced in several different ways, though his ultimate intention is an intimate live show. Each audience member is provided with a pair of noise-canceling headphones that help shape the direction of the film’s sound and eliminate rustling, whispering and other typical movie theater distractions. The film also includes an original score by artist and composer JD Sampson, best known for her work with the electronic bands Le Tigre and MEN.
Throughout the film, Green explores 32 discrete sound explorations to, as Green ponders, “understand time and time passing and loss and the ephemeral beauty of the present moment,” consistent themes that appear in his work. In one segment, Green speaks with the curator of natural sounds at the British Library Sound Archive and asks which of the more than 7 million sounds in the collection is her favorite. The audience joins the curator in listening to a heartbreaking recording of the mating call of the last remaining Moho braccatus, a Hawaiian bird species that went extinct in 1987 because of human development.
Later, Green accompanies composer Annea Lockwood, who has recorded the sound of rivers with a submersible microphone for more than 50 years. Her recordings offer a glimpse into the rich sounds of underwater environments, where currents, insects and fish intersect to create what the artist calls “delicious, beautiful sounds” that deepen our connections with the environment.
Lockwood emerges as the film’s central figure, and Green returns to her as she examines her grief at the loss of her longtime partner and fellow composer, Ruth Anderson, through recordings they made of their laughter and the sounds of nature that surround their Hudson Valley home.
As a whole, the segments come together to form a meditative tapestry on the power of sound to cross borders and reshape the perception of the world around us. When it debuted at Sundance this year, 32 Sounds was heralded as a “relentlessly curious documentary” with “lingering gravitas” by The New York Times. Green’s past work includes 2004’s The Weather Underground, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and 2012’s The Love Song of Buckminster Fuller, which features music by indie rock band Yo La Tengo.
In advance of the screening, Green spent much of Friday, Oct. 14, with students in UArts’ School of Film. He visited a sound design class for a conversation moderated by Program Director Mike Attie and shared insights on his process and career. Green also had lunch with a small group of students and hosted one-on-one meetings with him.
“I’ve personally been a fan of Sam Green since the release of The Weather Underground, a film with a unique creative approach that made the past both present and personal,” Attie said. “Green is a relentlessly curious and innovative artist whose work defies categorization, much like the very best of what we do at UArts.”
Green's visit was also covered by the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY.
On Aug. 26, University of the Arts will welcome the inaugural cohort of Inspiration Lab (iLAB) artists in residence. This new program, which will occupy the renovated third floor of Anderson Hall on South Broad Street, gathers emerging and midcareer interdisciplinary artists and provides the critical support needed to accelerate their contributions to contemporary art. The residencies range from three months to one year, with additional artists set to join the university in January.
In addition to dedicated studio and communal spaces, the cohort has the potential to access the university’s advanced workshops and labs, including fabrication studios, the cutting-edge Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace and Laurie Wagman Recording Studios, and the Center for Immersive Media, which houses one of the largest motion-capture stages on the East Coast. Additionally, as a means to elevate and sustain relationships with the UArts and the greater Philadelphia community, all artists in residence will explore connections with ongoing UArts courses and provide public presentations of their work.
This program has been supported by UArts donors and an active committee that helped UArts envision and shape the concept of these residencies while supporting the artists’ selection. The committee members for this first cycle of residencies are Nicole Pollard, curator of lived culture at Philadelphia Contemporary; Phong Bui, artist, writer, curator, and publisher and artistic director of Brooklyn Rail; and Jenn Joy, scholar, performance artist and author of The Choreographic.
About the artists:
Raven Chacon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Diné artist known for his chamber music compositions and noise music performances. Chacon’s residency is supported by a partnership with the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
In residency through July 31
Cultural organizer and music director Sweet Corey-Bey is recognized for creating works that shift cultural narratives through immersive storytelling and uplift identity formation.
In residency through Dec. 2
Philadelphia-based artist Lucia Garzón works in a range of media including, but not limited to, wood, textiles, print and video. The main themes in Garzón’s work focus on the intersection between the immigrant values and histories passed on through her family.
In residency through Dec. 2
Naomieh Jovin is a Philadelphia-based artist. Her work utilizes appropriated photos from old family albums and incorporates her own photographs to illustrate resistance and intergenerational trauma, and how we carry the experiences of our past and our family’s past in our bodies.
In residency through July 31
Mia Kang is an art historian, poet, performance artist and interim director of the Museo del Westside, a new community participatory museum focused on the history and culture of San Antonio’s Westside barrio. Her dissertation, Art, Race, Representation: The Rise of Multiculturalism in the Visual Arts, examines the contested rise of U.S. multiculturalism and its unresolved legacies.
In residency through July 31
UArts alum Breyanna Maples BFA ’18 (Dance) is a Philadelphia-based artist who recently collaborated with Tommie-Waheed Evans on softly, as I leave you. In addition, Maples has worked with Solange, Okwui Okpokwasili, Peter Born, Gerard and Kelly, and numerous other interdisciplinary artists.
In residency through July 31
The work of Philadelphia-based artist Ana Mosquera revolves around digital data collection and creating methods of analysis that interrogate our daily use of technology. A combination of multidisciplinary processes allows her to organize and make sense of digital experiences, while exploring the relationship between physical and digital places.
In residency through Dec. 2
Through means of mimesis, Philadelphia-based artist Jonathan Santoro utilizes fractured narratives borrowed from mass culture, existential theater and pop psychology to create paradoxical images, where nothing is what it initially appears to be.
In residency through July 31
Orlando Thompson is a St. Louis-based artist and movie maker. Regarding his work, Thompson says, “I am black… I am American. This is how America defines me. What I make explores being black, American and the space in-between.”
In residency through Dec. 2
Based in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, Wilmer Wilson IV investigates the marginalization and care of Black bodies in contemporary life through his work. Wilson is concerned with “the way that blackness is shaped in and by city space” and interested in “producing possibilities for representation that exist apart from global advertising strategies.”
In residency through May 31
Bookmark the iLAB site and check back soon for more information about the artists.
Supported by $5 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, University of the Arts’ new Student Center opened on April 4, 2023. The new center is the university’s first-ever centralized hub for student activity, occupying the first floor of historic Gershman Hall at the intersection of Pine and Broad streets in Philadelphia. Its realization delivers much-needed gathering and learning spaces on the university’s Center City campus.
More than 65 percent of UArts’ student body already accesses Gershman Hall’s classrooms and services every week, and film lovers regularly gather there for screenings presented by Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts. Not only does this new space serve as the heart of student activity, but it also bolsters the university’s mission, to advance human creativity, in Philadelphia and beyond.
“At UArts, we believe creativity is a fundamental and profound catalyst for social and economic change,” said UArts President and CEO David Yager. “That ideal is embedded into all of our educational programs, allowing us to equip tomorrow's artists with one of the most essential skills needed for success in today’s global, technology-driven society. We remain deeply appreciative of the support that allows us to construct this forward-looking center and eagerly anticipate an innovative new sector of our campus that better supports our students.”
The project was also supported by a lead gift from Harriet and Larry Weiss to establish Harriet’s Place: a gift from Larry. Also located on the first floor of Gershman Hall, Harriet’s Place includes a collaboration hub, a cafe, a school store and other compelling features. Both Harriet and Larry Weiss have been longtime supporters of UArts and patrons of the arts in Philadelphia. Additionally, Harriet Weiss currently serves on UArts’ board of trustees.
“Our wish is for our students to have a great college experience, a place to meet, enjoy each other’s company, form new friendships, and share dreams and creative ideas,” said Harriet and Larry Weiss. Harriet and Larry noted that they wish they could sing, dance and draw like UArts’ students.
These new creative spaces will also allow the university to attract new and exciting talent from around the world and enrich the student experience for future generations. The forthcoming phases of the Student Center project will also include a state-of-the-art screening room, an expanded and modernized dining hall, and an improved accessible building entrance.
In addition, the patrons who visit the university to explore exhibitions and productions will boost Philadelphia’s entertainment and restaurant industries. Throughout construction, this project has created dozens of new jobs in Center City and has given Philadelphia’s hard-hit restaurant and entertainment industry a significant boost. UArts has also ensured that at least 25 percent of workers are from minority populations and at least 40 percent are based in Pennsylvania.
Rendering courtesy of JacobsWyper Architects
UArts President’s Scholarship
University of the Arts has established the President’s Scholarship, the university’s most distinguished scholarship, which is awarded to accepted students who demonstrate exemplary artistic talent and academic promise.
Laurie Wagman Recording Studios
These state-of-the-art facilities are dedicated to exploring all facets of music production including composition, sound design, digital and analog recording, mixing and mastering.
UArts is reimagining the arts university experience. In addition to the distinct opportunity to study outside your major and in Philadelphia’s vibrant cultural center, we’re breaking new ground for creative exploration, expression and learning, year after year.
#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.
Equal Opportunities and Nondiscrimination at UArts
In order to create the conditions necessary for human creativity to flourish, University of the Arts is committed to fostering individual and artistic integrity and inclusion by promoting and respecting self-expression, a wide range of ideas, and diversity in all of its forms. UArts does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information, in any of its programs, activities or employment and admission practices.
Questions and complaints pertaining to UArts’ commitment to its nondiscrimination policies and its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility initiatives can be directed to the director for Title IX, equity and compliance at 215-717-6362 or firstname.lastname@example.org.