July 8 - August 2, 2019 (4 weeks)

In the four-week Art, Media + Design program, your interests drive your experience. You’ll gain new skills and learn to think critically about art through college-level art + design courses, critiques, and visits to Philly's museums and cultural institutions. You take four classes: one major,  two electives, and a foundational Critical Studies course. Class offerings are broad and reflect UArts' undergraduate offerings.

The Process

Courses are taught by UArts faculty, comprised of artists and creative professionals, expand your perspective on contemporary art making.  Each is designed to support your work, artistic development and portfolio.

The Perks

Experience art institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fabric Workshop + MuseumBarnes Foundation, and Philly’s galleries and artist-run spaces.  In the evenings, you'll participate in open studios, interdisciplinary workshops and artist talks.

The Proof

At the end of the program, your work will be exhibited in a public exhibition and featured in the Summer Institute Look Book. Walk away from the program with a portfolio of new work, feedback from instructors and  3 college credits . Rising seniors have the opportunity to have their portfolio evaluated for Fall 2020 undergraduate admission.

Students in Art, Media + Design choose one major and two electives, and all students are enrolled in Critical Studies.  Majors meet all day on Mondays +  Fridays from 9 am - 4 pm (with a break for lunch), and Wednesdays for a half-day. Electives meet on Tuesdays + Thursdays in the morning and afternoon.  On Wednesdays, all Art, Media + Design students participate in Critical Studies, a foundation course that explores contemporary art, design, and culture.  

Foundation: Critical Studies

Meets Wednesday afternoons. This is a required course.

This foundation course explores contemporary art, design, and culture through lectures and reflective writing assignments. Field trips to Philadelphia museums, artist-run galleries and art spaces allow you to explore artwork in context. All Art, Media + Design students are enrolled in this course, which meets half-days on Wednesdays.

Past Critical Studies trips have included visits to:

Barnes Foundation
Crane Arts 
Fabric Workshop + Museum
Institute of Contemporary Art 
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum
Vox Populi

Interdisciplinary Evening Workshops

Students may elect to participate in Interdisciplinary Evening Workshops on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Topics may include acting for the screen, dance/performance for beginners, music + sound art, taxidermy, drawing 101, vocal lab, lyrics + poetry, d.i.y. digital media, film screenings and more.


Choose one Major to focus on, with class and studio time all day Mondays + Fridays, + half-days on Wednesdays.

Animation  this major is full. 

From hand-drawn to high-tech, animation has evolved dramatically since its debut in nineteenth-century France. In this major, professional animators provide guidance as you learn the basics of motion studies — experimenting with traditional hand-drawn and stop-motion animation as well as digital animation techniques. Over the course of the program, you will storyboard, film, edit and execute your own short animated movie and demo reel.

Film is one of the primary ways we experience stories in contemporary culture — and often it's the most powerful. In this major, you’ll examine artistic expression in filmmaking from all sides. Study direction, cinematography, and editing using state of the art cameras, equipment, and software. Work with filmmakers and peers on group projects as you learn to balance the many elements of filmmaking: storyboarding, developing characters, shooting scenes and editing. Over the course of the program, you will gain an understanding of contemporary cinema and the various facets of the film industry. At the conclusion, you'll have created a series of small projects as well as one complete, comprehensive short film.

Graphic Design   this major is full. 

Design is everywhere in our modern world — posters, publications, album covers, apparel, digital and other media utilize graphic design to convey messages to viewers. Design and popular culture have grown more intertwined through recent history, and this major aims to explore this relationship. You’ll focus on the principles and possibilities of visual communication, including graphic form, type design, layout, image treatment, and sequence using the Adobe Creative Cloud. Investigate the influence of design on trending topics while mastering technical skills involved in this relevant field.

Illustration  this major is full. 

Illustration is a non-verbal tool for sharing and communicating feelings and ideas. In this major, you’ll gain an understanding of both hand-drawn and digital processes for articulating ideas and meaning visually in comics, children’s books, advertising, editorial and other applications. You’ll encounter subject matter sourced from various fields and be prompted to respond with imaginative illustrations that articulate insight and provoke an emotional response. You’ll focus on developing original concepts, style, visual vocabulary, and personal vision as an illustrator.

Oil Painting*

What can painting show us about the post-internet age? This comprehensive studio major will prompt you to consider some approaches to contemporary painting as well as provide you with an introduction to how the oldest art discipline is being practiced, interpreted, discussed and made relevant today. You’ll begin with fundamental painting techniques and studio processes such as color mixing, paint application, and composition, but hands-on assignments and group critiques will prompt you to experiment materially and conceptually. At the end of the program, you will complete an ambitious individual painting project. Prior drawing experience will be helpful for this major. 

Photography (DSLR required)

Move past your camera’s automatic mode to take your photographs to the next level. Learn the fundamentals of photography — aperture, shutter speed, ISO, lenses, and depth of field — while digging into composition, lighting techniques, color and tonality to create dynamic images. You’ll also explore advanced camera controls and post-production techniques using Adobe Creative Suite to refine your photographs. This major will address various contemporary processes and applications specific to documentary, fashion, editorial, and conceptual photography through in-class demonstrations, photo analysis, and group critique. By the end of the program, you’ll have a portfolio of photographs that express your distinct perspective of the world around you.

In Philadelphia, murals cover spaces across the city's neighborhoods and significant public artworks, like Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE sculpture near UArts campus, are scattered throughout Philly's public squares.  Public artworks, murals, and installations incite emotional and physical response through the manipulation of site, scale, and space. In this major, delve into the process of making work large-scale and in-public.  From concept and studio experiments to considering location and community, selecting materials, and execution, you'll explore your own interests while working alongside professionals and learning the technical skills to compose and construct site-specific public works.

*Note: Nude figure models will be used in drawing and painting courses


Choose two electives: One  Morning  elective and one  Afternoon  elective. Electives meet on Tuesday and Thursday. 


Alternative Painting  this elective is full. 

A lack of boundaries is what makes contemporary art powerful and subversive. This painting course doesn’t emphasize technique or expectation — it harnesses the artist you already are. Consider psychological influences and imaginative approaches to creating paintings. Although technical instruction will be in painting, you will be encouraged to explore and incorporate non-traditional materials and other media of your choice including drawing, collage, and installation in order to develop individual expression. This course is taught in acrylic paint.

Advanced Drawing this elective is full. 

Focus on design and composition as you work toward sustained studies and large-scale finished drawings. Explore structure, space, line, and tone while working in various media. Work from still life, interiors, landscape, and figures while experimenting with a variety of materials including conté crayon, pastels, and toned and colored papers. Prior drawing experience preferred. Nude figure models will be used in this course.

B&W Darkroom Photo

In contemporary society everyone can be a photographer — in this course, you'll learn how to give your photos distinction from the (digital) crowd.  Experience the alchemy of darkroom photography as you develop your own film, hand print images, and explore various darkroom processes and manipulation techniques.  This course is appropriate for both experienced photographers and beginners.

Character Development: Illustration  this elective is full. 

Looking to create the perfect protagonist — or adversary — for the story you want to tell? Work from your imagination to develop and design original characters. Use a variety of traditional and digital media to work through a series of thumbnail sketches that evolve into highly-rendered images suitable for various applications — illustration, animation, comic books, cartoons or graphic novels.

Creative Writing

American fiction writer and literary journalist Joan Didion said, "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." In this course, you'll focus on developing your voice while exploring contemporary approaches to creative writing. You'll compose original writing in various formats based on prompts that incite experimentation while also participating in critiques of your own and your classmates’ work with UArts faculty.

Digital Effects for Film + Animation

Create digital effects for both live-action and animated films. Industry professionals will show you how to shoot and light sequences in front of a green screen for compositing into another setting. You'll also create standard effects such as muzzle flashes, classic lightsabers, explosions, and more using particle emitters and other effects appropriate for any genre of work — from sci-fi, fantasy, or horror to drama and comedy. At the end of this course, you'll have hands-on experience working in programs such as Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Photoshop. For your final project, you'll create a portfolio piece complete and original special effects sequence: from storyboard through post-production.

Woodworking Studio: Design + Build

Explore the potential of wood as material. In this course, you’ll get an overview of the properties and possibilities for wood and discover contemporary applications for woodworking. Coursework will cover basic carpentry techniques, including joinery and hand and power tool manipulation. Instruction and demos will focus on woodshop safety and proper use of the band saw and shaping tools including rasps, chisels, small hand planes, and gouges. Learn how to approach woodworking from a design standpoint and draft drawings to create a working plan. Open-ended projects encourage you to explore your original design ideas while gaining useful technical skills.



Drawing is the most basic, rudimentary art and design tool — and it is a fundamental component of all creative disciplines. If you have not had formal training in drawing, here's the place to start. Instruction will focus on drawing from life, including still life, models, and landscape. You'll explore foundational drawing techniques such as light, shadow, rendering, perspective, and composition. Working in classical media such as pencil, charcoal, and ink, you'll develop essential observational skills while learning about the various contemporary applications for drawing.

Figure Drawing this elective is full. 

Drawing the figure is both challenging and rewarding — and can be crucial for many forms of artmaking and design. This course will allow you to focus exclusively on articulating the human form on a 2D surface. Instruction and demonstrations will help you develop observational skills as well as strategies for checking for accuracy. You’ll primarily work from skeletons and models as you learn basic anatomy and skeletal structure, gesture, volume and foreshortening to gain knowledge of figuration that you can utilize for future projects or apply to other media. Prior drawing experience is helpful for this course.

Film Criticism

Learn to watch movies with a critical eye. Through a wide selection of film screenings, you'll enhance your ability to absorb and critically evaluate movies. Instructor-led class discussions will prompt you to identify and analyze cinematic conventions including camera positioning, lighting, shot duration, dialogue, sequencing, and narrative.  Develop a critical vocabulary as you work individually and collaboratively to compose thoughtful written responses to various films.  This class is for future filmmakers, artists, critics, and writers.


Learn the D.I.Y. medium of dissemination that Andy Warhol famously stole from industrial production processes and transformed into an art form. Grasp the basics of screenprinting, from setup and screen prep to image transferring and printing. Learn to screenprint posters, zines, bags, apparel and more. This empowering course will give you the tools to print your imagery, pattern, logo or message on items of your choice.

Sketchbooks: Experiments + Field Notes  this elective is full. 

Artists have been filling sketchbooks for centuries with internal explorations, observational notes, and material trials. In this course, learn to use your sketchbook as a visual journal for observation and invention to develop your creative voice. You'll bind your own sketchbook and fill its pages with your own experiments. Projects and demos will include experimenting with paint pens, markers, ink, and cut paper, and field trips to various sites in Philadelphia will encourage you to work from life and your imagination. 

Street Photography  this elective is full. 

Follow in the footsteps of pioneering street photographers such as Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson — and contemporary artists like Vivian Maier, Diane Arbus, and Bill Cunningham — by capturing the city’s spirit through your lens. Explore camera control along with essential photographic concepts such as “the decisive moment”. You’ll put these concepts to use on walking trips to local Philadelphia parks, markets, and galleries, where you’ll transform the conventional into the exceptional and hone your distinct perspective of the world around you. Previous experience using a camera is preferred for this course.

Sculpture + Installation

Sculpture incites physical sensation and emotional response through the manipulation of materials, scale, and space. Delve into the process of producing art in 3-D, from concept and studio experiments to selecting materials and execution. Projects will prompt you to explore your own interests in objects while learning technical skills for composing and constructing sculptural works.

Visual Storytelling  this elective is full. 

How can a story be conveyed in the most impactful way? In this class, you’ll learn how to use visual elements to tell stories more effectively. You’ll explore the craft of visual storytelling by dissecting non-traditional story forms ranging from comics to photojournalism to digital multimedia formats. Investigate how elements such as format, style, sequence, pacing, and editorial choices affect stories and drive meaning. This course focuses on writing exercises, drawing, mapping, and storyboarding using pen and ink, graphite, and watercolor, as well as experimental media such as DIY photo/video. At the end of the course, you’ll have stories and concept drawings that showcase your visual voice for use in a portfolio or future project. This class is perfect for students interested in film, animation, illustration, photography, writing, graphic design, game design, or any form of visual storytelling.

Writing for Comics

This course focuses on how text works alongside sequential images to create stories and worlds in comics, cartoons, graphic novels, animation, and other forms of illustrated text.  Through a series of approachable writing exercises and assignments, you'll learn how to conceptualize and construct dialogue and narrative. Hone your writing craft and personal voice as you explore story structure through one-panel, four panel, and multi-panel/page formats. Emphasis will be on collaboration as the classroom becomes a writer's room where stories and concepts are workshopped in an open and supportive environment.  At the end of the course, you'll have several written works that can be used for various applications. This course is perfect for students interested in writing through comics, graphic novels, animation, game design, and more.

*Indicates that nude figure models will be used (drawing and painting courses)

Courses in Art, Media + Design are taught by artists and creative professionals. The majority of our faculty teach in the degree programs at UArts. Our expert faculty is comprised of seasoned educators and dedicated artists who enjoy the opportunity to share their expertise and collaborate with the next generation of artists.

Summer 2019 Faculty Include

Alexis Apfelbaum head shot
Alexis Apfelbaum

Creative Writing
Lowell Boston

BFA '88

Animation, Digital Effects for Film + Animation
UArts Pre-College Summer Institute Faculty Barrett Capistran
Barrett Capistran

BFA '18

Visual Storytelling
Veronica Cianfrano

MFA '10

Oil Painting
R Curry head shot
Robert Curry

Film Criticism
UArts Pre-College Summer Institute Faculty Molly Egan
Molly Egan

BFA '15

Sketchbooks: Experiments + Field Notes
Michael George

Digital Effects for Film + Animation
Kevin Hetzel_headshot
Kevin Hetzel

BFA '15

Joe Hocker

BFA '11

Photography, B&W Darkroom Photo
Joe Ostrowski_headshot
Joe Ostrowski

BFA '19

Street Photography
Christian "Patch" Patchell

BFA '95

Illustration, Character Development: Illustration, Writing for Comics
SI AMD Sarah Pater
Sarah Pater

Alternative Painting, Figure Drawing
Colin Pezzano_headshot
Colin Pezzano

BFA '14

Woodworking Studio
Ornella Plialis_headshot
Ornella Plialis

BFA '19

Ellen Reynolds_Headshot
Ellen Reynolds

Digital Filmmaking
AnneMarie Robinson_headshot
AnneMarie Robinson

BFA '07, MAT '13

Graphic Design
PRouphail head shot
Paul Rouphail

Critical Studies
Alyssa Winscom_headshot
Alyssa Winscom

BFA '18

Advanced Drawing
  1. Review the Art, Media + Design application requirements
  2. Complete the application, including personal statement, and submit the program deposit online or by mail.  Start your application    
The techniques and approaches I learned changed the way I create.
— SI 2017 Art, Media + Design student

Not sure you're ready for the 4-week program?  We also offer two-week Studio Workshops that allow you to expand your creative skills while focusing on one visual arts discipline.  Learn more


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Contact Pre-College
Pre-College Programs
211 S. Broad St, Terra Hall 909
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 717 - 6430