Office of the President
For more than 140 years, University of the Arts has been constantly evolving, devoted to the art and science of creativity for a better world.
Advancing Human Creativity
Through a community-led, strategic planning process we have defined our shared priorities and a vision for the future of UArts. Learn more about our core values, mission and 2019-2022 strategic plan.
Conceived by Carrie Mae Weems and Pierre Loving, Resist Covid Take 6! aims to create an artist-driven public awareness campaign to educate and enlighten Black, Latinx and Native American communities about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives.
UArts is the exclusive presenter of Weems’ project in Philadelphia, where billboards, creative messaging and public art has been installed around Center City to highlight the virus’ staggering death toll. Phase 1 of the project at UArts is generously supported by the Jessica Hamilton Hardy Visiting Artist Fund.
University of the Arts and Thomas Jefferson University announced on July 16, 2020, that they will be partnering on new course offerings for undergraduate students this fall. Leadership at both institutions came to an agreement, in order to further their creativity-focused curricula, that undergraduate students from either university will be able to take select courses at the other institution at no additional cost.
In a post-pandemic world, I believe that creativity will be the most essential skill our students need for success and that life as we know it will be shaped and defined by it.
-UArts President and CEO David Yager
Throughout its more than 140-year history, UArts has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders; in 2018, it became the first university in the U.S. to offer a PhD in Creativity. Just this year, Jefferson announced a creativity core curriculum for undergraduates, teaching the human skills of empathy, creativity, design thinking and compassion.
“In a post-pandemic world, I believe that creativity will be the most essential skill our students need for success and that life as we know it will be shaped and defined by it,” said David Yager, President and CEO of University of the Arts. “Those who employ it will challenge entrenched assumptions and conventions, seek and establish the meaning of chaos, loss and tragedy—of which our times have delivered more than their share—and demonstrate the resilience gained through the trait which makes us human: creativity. We could not be more pleased to expand our partnership with Jefferson in meaningful ways that demonstrate the relevance creativity holds for all disciplines.”
“In University of the Arts, we have an academic partner aligned with our belief that cultivating creativity in students is vital to impactful 21st century education,” said Mark L. Tykocinski, MD, executive vice president of academic affairs and provost of Thomas Jefferson University.
This is not the first or only collaboration between the two institutions. Jefferson has agreed to serve as an advisor to UArts on health protocols related to a safe reopening of the Center City Philadelphia campus, in addition to a longstanding partnership with Jefferson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine for primary care services for UArts students.
“This partnership will not only allow for unique curricular experiences for our students, but will accelerate the ways in which our communities are able to share knowledge and ideas for future collaborations,” said Carol Graney, vice president for academic affairs at UArts.
UArts and Jefferson hope that this partnership will also foster a deeper level of collaboration among faculty members. The institutions recently collaborated on a joint research proposal for the use of virtual reality modeling to identify and improve design flaws associated with physician burnout in academic Emergency Department settings, based in Jefferson’s Emergency Medicine department and Health Design Lab, and leveraging UArts’ new Center for Immersive Media.
“I believe that once we take down the walls between our institutions, our students and faculty will find a hundred new ways to collaborate,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “The future of higher education, and indeed of professional work, depends on the freedom to work across traditional disciplines, indeed to redefine what's possible.”
The expansion of these unique collaborations is bringing transdisciplinary study to the forefront in Philadelphia. Exploring the intersections among art, science and the human experience will not only benefit student artists and students of medicine and science, but also the communities which they serve.
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.
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.
Want to invite President David Yager to an event? Please fill out our form linked below to send him a request for an appearance, speaking engagement, etc.
PHILADELPHIA, PA October 22, 2018 -- The University of the Arts is proud to announce the launch of “Uniquely UArts: the Campaign for Creative Capital.” The $50 million fundraising campaign will impact every facet of the UArts experience from investment in faculty and visiting artists, to new indoor and outdoor community spaces, to innovative programming that will offer students fresh perspectives on the visual and performing arts they pursue.
A $25 million bequest from Campbell’s Soup heiress Dorrance Hamilton, a longtime UArts trustee, provided the catalyst for the Uniquely UArts campaign. The bequest matches her previous gift in 2007, making Hamilton’s support of UArts unprecedented in the school’s history. Her vision for UArts was inspiring and steadfast. As Hamilton stated herself, ““I’ve always maintained that the arts have the power to transform society, and I see no reason why the epicenter of the coming creative revolution should not be at the University of the Arts”
Hamilton’s gift, and the support of alumni and friends it has already inspired, will allow UArts to fully realize its slogan, “The Place of Choice.” As UArts President David Yager explains, “This gift is transformational for current and future UArts students. For more than 30 years, Dorrance Hamilton demonstrated her dedication to young artists, performers and designers through her service as a trustee and her extraordinary philanthropy. As the foundational piece of the “Uniquely UArts” campaign, this new gift will help us realize her bold vision of what this institution can become—how it can truly change the lives of young creatives, and through them change the world.”
“I am honored to serve as the chair of this campaign,” said UArts Trustee and campaign Chair Brian Effron. “I’m very excited about the many transformational changes that this historic effort will bring, and how those changes will greatly benefit our talented students, now and far into the future. This is truly a key moment for the University.”
The Uniquely UArts campaign goal of $50 million—$34 million of which has been raised during the effort’s “quiet” phase—will allow the University to reach a new level in arts education through four critical strategies:
Supporting student success by enhancing the student experience – through innovative design technology, upgraded learning environments, and collaborative living residential spaces that will give UArts students the advantage of world class resources and experiences.
Investing in faculty as leaders in their fields – by providing enhanced opportunities for artistic exchange and collaboration for existing faculty, attracting new instructors at the pinnacle of their careers; and enriching the dialogue on campus with visiting artists from around the globe.
Re-envisioning the UArts campus – by creating a bustling Makerspace, an innovative Center for Immersive Media, a model professional dance theater, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a renovated Art Alliance to showcase work, new green spaces, and a vibrant student center that will add a fitness center, café, gallery, screening room, and community gathering places to the Gershman Y building at Broad & Pine Streets. These capital improvements will enhance Philadelphia’s Center City for the entire Avenue of the Arts community.
Developing innovative programming – With programs such as the new International MFA in Dance, which launched in Paris in the summer of 2018, UArts will push beyond the traditional boundaries of creative training.
The current demand for creative content, and workers who can apply creative approaches to any industry, has never been higher. The Uniquely UArts campaign will transform the UArts campus, sustain its community, and highlight its role as a leader in arts education -- nurturing visionary students who will drive the creative economy in all fields.
For more information on Uniquely UArts: The Campaign for Creative Capital, please visit uniquely.uarts.edu after November 5, 2018.
The President’s Fund for Excellence was established by President David Yager in 2016. The fund was inspired by the Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which President Yager created in 2011 while serving in that role.
The fund supports extraordinary faculty and student project opportunities that would otherwise not be financially possible. The President’s Fund for Excellence is entirely funded by the generous support of our donors and can support travel, research, publication, and other creative projects that foster excellence and innovation.
Spurred by one of the largest gifts in its history, the University of the Arts is in the midst of a plan worth tens of millions of dollars to renovate its current facilities and expand its already large presence around Broad and Spruce Streets.
Orangenius has partnered with Knowledge @ Wharton to produce the Business of Art radio series, an in-depth look at some of the business-centric issues facing artists and the art market. In this fourth installment, David Yager, CEO of the University of the Arts, sits down with Orangenius founder Grace Cho and Wharton emeritus professor of marketing Jerry Wind. This interview has been edited and condensed.
You can now get a PhD in creativity.
Universities don’t like change. But as the breakneck pace of technology speeds up the modern economy, these ancient institutions are starting to break the rules.
David Yager, CEO of the University of the Arts, talks with Wharton's Jerry Wind and Grace Cho of Orangenius about how the right culture can help nurture increased creativity.
I trained as a designer and fine-arts photographer, which are disciplines based on observation. Photography and research took me into the gallery space, the academy, the technology industry, and to one of the leading medical centers in the world. My creative instincts led me to found the Innovation and Design Lab (IDL) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of California, Santa Cruz in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center (JHCC).
Leading century-old cultural institutions to join together, creating Philadelphia Art Alliance at the University of the Arts
The boards of trustees of the University of the Arts and Philadelphia Art Alliance announced that the two century-old institutions will join together. The vote of both boards was unanimous.
Under the agreement, the Art Alliance will become part of the University of the Arts, renamed Philadelphia Art Alliance at the University of the Arts, under the executive leadership of UArts President David Yager and the governance of the university's Board of Trustees. The documents to begin the state approval process for mergers of nonprofit organizations were filed on September 8, 2017. That review is expected to take several months.
"This coming together of two of Philadelphia's most historic and innovative arts institutions offers a rare opportunity," said Yager, "to preserve and celebrate that extraordinary history while creating a future that envisions even more exciting possibilities across a wide range of art forms. Bringing together these exceptional educational and exhibition components opens up a myriad of new creative doors."
"We are thrilled that the Art Alliance will continue to be an active part of the future of Philadelphia's cultural life as a result of this merger with the University of the Arts," said Carole Shanis, chairperson and president emerita of the Art Alliance. "The Art Alliance has been a multi-disciplinary art center, guided by artists, since it was founded in 1915. While, over the last 10 years, our focus has been on contemporary craft and design, we welcome the new resources and broader perspective that will come with this partnership. We are confident that UArts will find creative ways to work with us to expand audiences and programs at the Wetherill Mansion, while furthering its own comprehensive educational mission."
The merging of the two historic organizations—the university celebrated its 140th anniversary this past year and the Art Alliance its 102nd—brings together institutions that have presented or developed some of the most influential and well-known artists of the past century. The two organizations, located just six blocks apart in Center City, are landmarks of their respective Philadelphia neighborhoods.
The University of the Arts' iconic Hamilton Hall, built in 1826, is the oldest existing building on South Broad Street. UArts is one of the only universities in the country solely dedicated to educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing.
Since 1915, the Art Alliance has hosted art exhibits, theater and music workshops, poetry readings and recitals by renowned artists, in the historic 1906 Wetherill Mansion on Rittenhouse Square.
UArts' alumni include renowned celebrity and fashion photographer Irving Penn, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Judith Jamison, and children's book authors Stan and Jan Berenstain, among many others. Since 1915, the Art Alliance has hosted exhibitions by artists such as Mary Cassatt, Andrew Wyeth and Man Ray, readings by e.e. cummings and Dorothy Parker, and performances by Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham.
"At a time when the arts are challenged as never before, this integration offers a wonderful opportunity to develop visionary new arts and educational programming for the Philadelphia region, now and into the future," said UArts Board of Trustees Chairman Jeffrey Lutsky.
What was to become the Philadelphia College of Art (and eventually the University of the Arts), the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, was founded in 1876 by Philadelphia civic leaders, in response to the growing interest in art and design stirred by the country's Centennial Exposition, and as a means to develop world-class artisans and designers in post-Industrial Revolution America. Concurrently, UArts' other predecessor institution, the Philadelphia Musical Academy (which eventually became the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts), opened its doors. Visual arts, performing arts and design joined together a little over a century later, with university status being granted in 1987 as the University of the Arts.
The Philadelphia Art Alliance, the oldest multidisciplinary arts center in the United States for visual, literary and performing arts, was established by philanthropist Christine Wetherill Stevenson in 1915 with the goal of uniting the arts by presenting music, theater, painting and sculpture in a single venue. In 1926, it moved from its temporary quarters on Walnut Street into. Stevenson's family home on Rittenhouse Square. Since its inception, it has been a national pioneer in bringing contemporary artists—many now considered icons—to the public. In its early days, the Art Alliance welcomed them when most museums and other venues chose not to present contemporary works.
Once the integration is approved by the Commonwealth, the university plans to make interior enhancements over the course of the next few years.
President David Yager
Inauguration Speech — “Imagine”
October 17, 2016
Thank you Chairman Lutsky, and thank you to Mayor Kenney for joining us on this special day.
“A place where the rules no longer apply.” That’s one definition of “liminality.” It can signify transition; the space between; being at the threshold of something.
WE find ourselves at the threshold here today. Maybe that’s the place art always finds itself—the unknown; the blank canvas; a place of uncertainty and transformation. WE can’t predict the future, but we can imagine it—WE are artists.
“You were great. You were beyond great. You were incredible.”
These are some of the final lines of Ron Yerxa’s wonderful film Little Miss Sunshine.
I want to shine some light on a future that I believe will be “incredible.” So, how will others see us 10 years from now? How will we see ourselves?
I ask you to close your eyes.
Imagine what our University will look like in the year 2026
Imagine a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new building, The Institute of Collaborative Arts and Design.
Imagine students moving into a brand new residence hall that has a performing arts space, a gallery, a health and wellness facility, dining halls and gathering places for all of our undergraduate students…a space where living and creating exist seamlessly.
Imagine the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy occupies an entire floor of Terra Hall—and engages with UArts students and the city of Philadelphia.
Imagine our new library on which visitors want to model their new space based on our innovative concept of a library of the future, with students and faculty in a learning living and exploring environment.
Imagine when a degree in the arts is valued by society as much as a degree in business, science, or engineering, and that the University of the Arts is the recognized best place to obtain that degree.
Imagine parents are calling UArts Trustees asking “Can you help get our son or daughter admitted to the University of the Arts,” and our waiting lists continue to grow.
Imagine the City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia working with UArts to ensure that every child in the city gets access to high-quality arts educational experiences.
Imagine people are calling me and our Trustees on a regular basis asking how to become a University of the Arts Trustee.
Imagine an Institute that breaks through traditional notions of “the teaching museum”— a performance incubator space, a maker space, a home for collaboration and innovation.
Imagine every student at UArts has the opportunity to do an internship related to their potential future careers.
I’m going to ask you to close your eyes again.
Imagine we have the powers of a Stan Lee superhero to continue envisioning the future
So close your eyes, again, as we imagine the future
Imagine the University of the Arts reaches learners of all ages across the globe through relevant, high quality, unique online coursework that is easy to access.
Imagine exceptionally talented and motivated high school students travel to Philadelphia from around the globe to study in UArts’ Pre-college Summer Institute, not only because it is an excellent college preparatory program but also because they want to increase their chances of being accepted into UArts.
Imagine the University of the Arts has more endowed professorships than any art schools in the country. Last night we announced the first endowed chair in 140 year history at the University of the Arts; the Effron family endowed a chair in glass. Over the next five years, imagine we announce 10 new endowed chairs.
Imagine faculty in our new Research Centers will offer the first courses in our new interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary PhD programs. We’ve had our first committee meeting to discuss this, already.
Imagine UArts has built the finest state of the art contemporary exhibition space and has partnered with other exhibition venues.
Imagine graduate students in our new post-MFA Fellowship programs are leading dance programs in South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. We currently enjoy the accolades of having a top-5-ranked dance program.
Imagine undergraduate students in our new Cross-Border collaborative studio are redefining what it means to be a citizen artist, and are meeting with institutions and artists around the world.
Imagine feeling a sense of pride when showing potential students and their parents our UArts facilities, the best in every discipline.
Imagine: a team of Writing for Film and TV graduates accepting an EMMY award.
Imagine start-ups in Philadelphia created by UArts alumni and students are popping up all over the country.
Imagine the University of the Arts is clearly the creative economic engine for Philadelphia business.
- Imagine: UArts is featured in a major news story on American universities that have created new paradigms of teaching, learning, mentoring and in internships in the arts.
- Imagine we are the only university in the country with a student, an alum, and a faculty member in the 2020 Forbes Under 30 list.
- Imagine every Internet search of “best universities to study the Arts and Design in North America” includes UArts in top spots in every ranking list.
Imagine green and sustainable improvements to our buildings that would serve as “learning gardens” and settings to create/grow natural dyes for art-making, teaching courses on land art, or landscape design. Imagine a park or green space that students can call their own that allows for rotating sculptures/installations.
Imagine the leading business incubators and accelerators around the country are inviting us to help them build creative and innovative start-up companies.
Imagine UArts Arts and Design students and faculty are embedded in research and invested in the latest discoveries in the health care industry.
Imagine UArts students, upon graduation, have become Citizen Artists with individual missions to make a real, measurable difference in the world through their art.
Imagine our faculty are invited to Washington D.C. to lead a new initiative on social engagement in the arts.
Imagine multilingual faculty in Graphic Design evolve its signature approach to learning and communicating to the cultural contexts celebrated in the University’s branch campuses around the globe
Imagine we overhear this conversation on the streets of Philadelphia: “Do you know where the Kimmel Center is?” “Sure. It’s next to Hamilton Hall at the University of the Arts. Do you know where that is?” “Of course!”
Imagine a new residence hall with health and wellness facilities, a gallery and exhibition space, a performance space and a place for students to relax and meet other students.
Imagine a mural on Broad Street celebrating the University of the Arts 150th Anniversary.
Imagine we have the funds to provide scholarships for adults who wish to return to school or to change careers to enable them to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees at UArts. We have the funds for scholarships to ensure any student admitted will be able to attend UArts. And we will raise funds so that no student has to drop out for lack of resources to complete his or her degree. How a number of students were not able to attend UArts this fall even though they had scholarships…and how $100,000 would save 5-7 students from not attending college.
AND…Imagine when the myth of the “starving artist” is completely obsolete— it doesn’t even make sense as a metaphor. Instead, people talk regularly about “the artist’s bounty,” recognizing how rich the life of an artist is, how rich art makes us all.
You can now open your eyes, since we don’t need to imagine our students’ power to captivate an audience.
For 140 years— as we have seen today—our University has been resilient and agile. Our students and faculty are talented and tenacious, fearless and forward thinking. Our city is dynamic and creative. Our friends and supporters are enthusiastic and generous. Our alumni have demonstrated great ingenuity and leadership.
The University of the Arts will be what it has always been—distinctive and bold. And it will be like something we have never seen before. Because that is our obligation—and our passion—as artists and makers.
So, here we are at the threshold.
Celebrating 140 years of “the maker’s moment” and envisioning how we can build on the core values and the principles and the unique strengths that have brought us to this moment.
Many of you asked me why I came to UArts? The answer is, The Quality of the Faculty.
I spoke with a group of people and asked them if they remember the buildings that were built at their University or College, or do they remember the faculty who changed their lives?
Human creativity is the world’s most precious resource.
How do you focus on excellence, build top-tier programs and build reputations in disciplines with national visibility?
How do you be unique but focused on quality?
How do you be nimble and ready for change?
How do you build a “WE” culture?
As I have stated, Excellence rules over everything except culture. Build a strong culture so excellence and change are embraced and not feared. Excellence should drive decisions; the key is how to determine excellence and set goals and measure outcomes. Together today we have imagined a remarkable—and achievable—future.
The University of the Arts will be the most provocative, imaginative, entrepreneurial, socially engaged, authentic, and influential school of the arts in the country.
How will we get there?
It starts with Excellence.
Participation and provocation to evolve our role in the creative economy.
We need to understand and emphasize empathy
We need to focus on the capacity of the arts to help us cross borders of all kinds.
To create new partnerships and collaborations.
A drive to take risks. To challenge assumptions. To change the conversation about what it means to be an artist. To be a maker.
A commitment to the idea that hard work, persistence, and discipline are as important—if not more important and valuable—than sheer talent.
We will seek out new partnerships in our city and around the country to design new programs and develop new opportunities in our communities and in our organizations. Last night at the Gala we announced our partnership with the Kimmel Center; in the months ahead, we will hopefully be announcing other new and important partnerships. The first will be an exhibition by UArts faculty members in the Kimmel Center’s atrium.
We are standing at the threshold of something new. Mark today in your calendar, as we celebrating 140 years and this inauguration.
THIS IS A NEW GENERATION OF STUDENT. The average 18 year old spends 4,000 hours/year online—by the time students enter college, they have spent over 20,000 hours online and 10,000 hours playing games online. A recent study found they spend more time on their phone and the Internet than sleeping.
Everything kids do now is “customizable”—it’s on demand and mostly free: music is free; film and TV is free and scheduled; they customize clothing…
Then you have classes and performances that are scheduled—a particular time, a particular space.
We have opportunities.
Any 13-year-old can make a film now. How do we deal with a “professional” level capability without formal education? Artistic production has been “democratized,” as has distribution. Audience numbers are plummeting but artists’ numbers are exploding. Traditional artistic institutions and venues will continue to exist, but they are not the entire artist community.
With the rise of the “professional amateur-artist” — the “DIY” — working on social/political/environment issues in new ways and in new venues--we are already doing that and UArts is already leading the way.
The Arts have been “excised” like a tumor from public education; how do we embrace a student population with less awareness of the arts or what it means to be an artist? How do we as artists add value? How do we enhance the emotional intelligence of our community?
In an “on demand” world, the artist pushes boundaries, pushes you into the unexpected — and what is the value of those traits in this economy? In a marketplace defined by social consciousness, artists can take on the roles of:
Boundary-pusher, “disruptive innovator”
“Integrator” of multiple disciplines :Art and Science; Design and Medicine; the Brain and the Arts
In a time of increasing ambiguity and uncertainty, there is nothing more important or valuable than an artist:
Having skills and imagination turns questions into creative solutions and problems into opportunities
Creative leadership…with empathy
Being comfortable with the unfamiliar
Artists are unafraid to cross borders, to take risks, to change the conversation and to be unpopular
The artist is the most prepared to deal with the uncertainty of the world around us
Don’t discount the concrete and compelling reality of building creative capital
I am a life-long student…always learning. To that end, I’ve learned over a number of years the value of building creative capital. In addition, with the dramatic changes in our social communications environment, there are many opportunities for artists to change our world. Consider the intersection of the qualitative (empathy, flexibility, curiosity) and the quantitative (community engagement, economic impact):
More than two million Americans are in creation or distribution of the arts, generating more than $700 billion annually
In Philly, 44,000 people work in arts-related businesses contributing $3.3 Billion each year
Employers in nearly every industry are seeking out creative people
The arts drive the resurgence and renewed vibrancy of America’s downtowns, and center city neighborhoods like here in Philadelphia
So, as I conclude…some questions for all of us to think about:
Do the arts and artists have a role to play in creating, building and sustaining “resilient cities” (or resilient communities), or for that matter, resilient people?
How will the arts and artists shape the way the world is evolving in terms of shaping demographics: we have more refugees than at any time in the last century; rapid urbanization; aging of the population; and emphasis on generational affiliations?
What role will the arts and artists play in advancing and evolving emerging technologies (A.I., augmented reality, 3D manufacturing and design, robotics, use of drones, wearable technologies)?
Which organizations will be looking to the arts and artists as an integral part of their teams for the first time (policy-makers, start-ups, global corporations, hospitals, community health agencies)?
What ethnical questions can the arts and artists address better than any other discipline (now and in the future)?
What role can the arts and artists play in future conversations about “sustainability”
What new models of financing the arts and artists can we expect to see or do we want to see?
The arts and artists embraced physics as a source of inspiration, new paradigms and collaborations in the ‘80s and ‘90s, in literature, theater, visual arts, music. They moved on to embrace biological sciences in the first 15 years of the 21st century. What is the next “scientific frontier” for artists/scientific exchange, and for exploration?
What types of “Arts Businesses” and entrepreneurial endeavors can we imagine over the next 5-10 years from now? What would we like to see that doesn’t exist now?
How will the definition of beauty evolve? How will the definition, for that matter, of “art” and the arts evolve?
Who will be the artists (and arts researchers or educators) best equipped and trained to deal with a world changing rapidly and in so many interconnected ways? What will it be like just a few years from now?
Can you imagine a time when it would occur naturally to the editors of a major publication to ask “20 Big Questions” about the future of humanity to artists, arts researchers and educators?
Can—or should—you imagine a “future of humanity” without the arts and artists?
How will the arts and artists continue to help us understand what it means to be human?
I want to thank all of you for joining us here today. I want to congratulate our Honorary Degree Recipients: Dr. Ron Yerxa, Dr. Stan Lee and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski.
I would like thank, again, the performers and visual artists who shared their talents with us, and their faculty, mentors and staff. I want to thank all of our students—this is all for you. I want to express my appreciation to the University of the Arts Board of Trustees. I want to thank my friends, family, faculty, staff, students and all the supporters of the University of the Arts.
Being a creative person isn’t necessarily easy…but you students can make a difference. Believe in the Arts and what you are doing.
As artists and educators, you can be leaders, trendsetters and your impact can be local and global. Your job is to help change the world.
If UArts were a stock, this is a time to invest. Our opportunities are endless.
I am proud and grateful to be named the fourth president of the University of the Arts.
Know this up front: University of the Arts president David Yager is not a "cookie-cutter person."
Or, at least, that's how he describes himself heading into his new role.
President Yager Addresses Violence in Buffalo
My heart breaks for the people in Buffalo, and the people killed by a white supremacist and terrorist in the middle of a routine errand: going to the grocery store. I am also struck by the painful impact of gun violence and those individuals killed this weekend, in places such as Milwaukee, Los Angeles and here at home in Philadelphia.
President Yager Announces the Inspiration Lab Artist-in-Residence Program
The Inspiration Lab Artist-in-Residence program at UArts will gather artists from our community and around the world as they seek to catalyze their burgeoning careers. These residencies will offer artists the foundation needed to reflect, experiment and produce compelling new work at a pivotal moment in their lives. Moreover, I expect these artists to bring a wide range of disciplines and innovative ideas to our campus and contribute to contemporary knowledge production within the arts.
President Yager Provides and Update on UArts COVID Policies for Visitors and Events
As we approach the end of the academic year and events such as Commencement and senior thesis exhibitions and performances, University of the Arts is amending several of our COVID-19 policies for visitors and indoor events and gatherings. Effective Friday, April 1, visitors to our campus will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination. Additionally, the capacity limits for special events, performances or other productions taking place in our many indoor spaces will be lifted.
President Yager Announces Grants for Creative Research & Innovation Recipients
Earlier this winter, I announced the Grants for Creative Research & Innovation, aimed at supporting the creative lives of UArts’ faculty and staff. Today, I am pleased to announce that our committee has selected 11 innovative projects to receive support in our inaugural round of grants.
President Yager Provides an Update on Masking for the Spring Semester
Despite the repeal of the citywide mandate, high-quality masks that fit tight to your face and cover your nose and mouth will remain mandatory in all indoor campus spaces until at least the end of the spring semester. The only exceptions, shared with you via email on Jan. 6, are outlined in our Community Health Policy and remain unaltered.
President Yager Welcomes the University Community Back to Campus
I hope that you all enjoyed a well-deserved, restorative winter break and that you are looking forward to returning to our creative campus for the start of the spring semester next week. I write to you today to thank you again for the profound optimism, resilience and flexibility you have demonstrated throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic. It cannot be overstated how much your enduring spirit has buoyed our university throughout one of the most challenging times in our long and storied history.
President Yager Provides an Update on Masking for Spring 2022
Due to the heightened risks we are facing relative to the omicron variant and in an effort to ensure our in-person instruction, performances and activities can continue, we are strengthening our masking policy and suspending most academic exemptions.
President Yager Provides an Update for Spring 2022
The university will open as scheduled for the spring semester. In-person New Student Orientation is scheduled to begin Jan. 21, and we welcome returning residential students Jan. 22-23. The first day of classes is Jan. 24.
President Yager Announces COVID-19 Booster Requirement
In continued support of UArts’ commitment to health and safety for all members of its community and in alignment with the recommendations of the CDC, the university has updated its immunization requirements for eligible students, faculty and staff to include a COVID-19 booster. This health policy update means that boosters will be required for all eligible students, faculty and staff prior to the start of the upcoming semester, or within 30 days of becoming eligible, in accordance with CDC guidance.
A Holiday Message to the UArts Community
As our winter break and the holidays approach, I'd like to take a moment to exhale and reflect on the success of our fall term and our return to in-person learning. For your seemingly boundless courage and patience and for all we have accomplished together, I express my deepest gratitude and admiration.
President Yager Provides an Update on UArts Day Plans
With the rise of the delta variant and ever-changing public health recommendations, this year we cannot invite our entire community, plus external partners, to travel and converge in the in-person ways we are accustomed to.
President Yager Unveils COVID Dashboard, Updated Masking Requirements
Due to the heightened risks we are facing relative to the delta variant and in an effort to ensure our in-person instruction, performances and activities can continue, we are strengthening our masking policy and suspending most academic exemptions.
President Yager Provides an Update on Vaccination Rate and COVID Testing
It has been truly wonderful to see you all back on campus within our studios, classrooms, performance spaces and shops. As we complete our second full week of courses, I wanted to take a moment to first thank you for your continued support and observance of our COVID-related health and safety protocols, and also provide a few important updates.
President Yager Shares a Message of Gratitude for the UArts Community
As classes have begun, and as so many of you have worked tirelessly over the past several weeks - even months - to prepare for the return of our students, I would like to extend my gratitude. Your combined efforts have been extraordinary. You are an extraordinary community.
President Yager Shares Overview of Fall Reopening Plan
As regulations evolve in light of new variants, including the City of Philadelphia's recent mask mandate, so too does UArts' strategy for combating the spread of COVID-19.
President Yager Announces Updated Masking Policy for Fall 2021
Effective Friday, August 5, University of the Arts will require masks in most indoor settings of all students, staff, faculty, contractors and visitors to our campus.
President Yager Appoints Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Maurice Baynard, currently associate professor of Critical Studies and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, will transition to the role of director for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Office of the President.
University of the Arts Announces Fall 2021 Vaccine Policy
In support of UArts’ commitment to health and safety for all members of its community, the university will be updating its immunization requirements for students to include a COVID-19 vaccine.
President Yager Announces Honorary Degree Candidates
University of the Arts will honor two extremely accomplished individuals at this year’s virtual Commencement ceremony: Agnes Gund and Carrie Mae Weems.
President Yager Announces Spring 2021 Plan
I write to you today with an important update regarding our plan for opening this spring. The global pandemic continues to wreak havoc across our country and around the globe, and little has improved since this summer and fall—indeed, in some areas the impact has worsened.
President Yager Addresses the Death of Walter Wallace
Today is a tragic and urgent day. Yesterday yet another Black man was killed by the police, this time here in Philadelphia. Walter Wallace Jr. was fatally shot by two officers in West Philadelphia.
President Yager Announces Election Day Holiday
As you are well aware, a Kentucky grand jury has failed to hold three officers accountable for the brutal death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own home and unarmed, earlier this year.
President Yager’s Response to United Academics of Philadelphia Faculty Union
We have received your request for voluntary recognition of a faculty union represented by United Academics of Philadelphia. In our current environment, a fair and transparent voting process is one of the most important parts of our democratic society and culture.
President Yager Calls for Applicants to DEI Fellows Program
We are pleased to announce a call for applicants for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Fellowship, furthering the University's goal to empower students to play a meaningful and leading role in institutional anti-racism and diversity work. This compensated position will begin this academic year 2020-2021.
President Yager Addresses Racial Violence in Wisconsin
Earlier this week, we prepared to send an announcement and call for applicants for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Fellows program. Though I am proud of the initiative, I am so appalled by the recent shooting of Jacob Blake that I must address this recent deplorable event today.
President Yager Welcomes Students to Fall 2020 Semester
As we approach the start of classes, I want to extend a personal welcome as we commence a semester like no other. Over the weeks and months ahead, you are going to have big choices to make.
President Yager Announces Student Support Challenge
UArts exists for one purpose, and one purpose alone: our students. I’ll be blunt: Some of our students are in trouble, and we need your help to make a difference in their lives.
President Yager Announces Juneteenth Holiday at UArts
As you may know, yesterday Mayor Kenney signed an executive order declaring Juneteenth (June 19) a citywide holiday to honor and celebrate the end of slavery in the U.S., aligning with Governor Wolf’s declaration from last year that named Juneteenth “National Freedom Day” throughout Pennsylvania.
UArts Community Message from David Yager on Anti-Racism Actions (June 10, 2020)
How is UArts turning from words of acknowledgement and commitment to actual and identifiable change? I would like to share a few steps of action we are taking right now.
President David Yager Responds to Racial Violence (June 2, 2020)
It is with continued sadness I write to you this afternoon - on the eighth day of protest across the country in direct response to the unjust death of George Floyd and systemic racism that continues to plague our nation.
President David Yager's Response to Events in Minnesota (May 29, 2020)
May 29, 2020: Dear students, faculty and staff,I write to you again this afternoon, but this time with great sadness and grief as we continue to follow and reflect on the horrific event of George Floyd dying face down on the street under the knee of a police officer in Minnesota.
Message from the President: Lightbox Film Center to join UArts
October 14, 2019 - I write with exciting news for the University and for the Philadelphia cultural community. The Lightbox Film Center, which has been a program of International House Philadelphia (IHP) for more than 40 years, will transfer from IHP to University of the Arts starting in January 2020.
Message from the President: Freedom to Speak Without Being Bullied
April 29, 2019 - No UArts community member, whether faculty, staff or student, should face fear or intimidation in exercising their rights to free speech, dissent or demonstration. We will not stand by quietly while abusive critics—all from outside our campus community—seek to divide us.
Message from the President: Freedom of Expression
April 10, 2019 - Across our nation it is all too common that opinions expressed that differ from another’s—especially those that are controversial—can spark passion and even outrage, often resulting in calls to suppress that speech. That simply cannot be allowed to happen. I firmly believe that limiting the range of voices in society erodes our democracy.
Update: Excellent Middle States Report
March 13, 2019 - The Middle States Commission on Higher Education review team, visiting campus as part of the eight-year accreditation cycle, praised UArts for many of our recent accomplishments.
New University Brand Standard & Style Guide
November 9, 2018 - At its core, UArts’ brand is our reputation, I am pleased to share we are launching a new brand standard and style guide for the University that will be rolled out over the next several months.
Message from the President: UArts Transgender Students, Faculty and Staff
November 7, 2018 - At a time when the federal Health and Human Services Department is reportedly looking into narrowing the legal definition of gender under Title IX, I want to strongly reaffirm the University of the Arts’ support of our transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming students, faculty and staff.
Message from the President: Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6
November 2, 2018 - On Tuesday, November 6, you will have the opportunity to do something extraordinary—to have a real say in the direction of our nation.
Message from the President: Tragedy in Pittsburgh
October 29, 2018 - I am grieving for the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, and most especially for the members of the Tree of Life synagogue. Our nation was stunned this weekend by the hateful and senseless killings there.