<< Back to Summer Institute Program Information

Summer Institute 2020 on-campus programs are cancelled. Instead, we have launched innovative online programs designed to introduce high school students to new artistic ideas, build skills and strengthen portfolios while they earn 1.5 college credits. 

View Summer Institute 2020 online programs

UArts staff is currently working remotely. Please direct all questions and inquiries to precollege@uarts.edu.


Information below reflects details for summer 2020 cancelled on-campus programs.

July 6 - July 31, 2020 (4 weeks)

Develop your artistic voice in a creative and collaborative workshop setting that immerses you in poetry, fiction and other genres. You’ll learn from award-winning published authors and professional editors as you sharpen your skills and gain writing experience in several areas. Modeled on the UArts’ Creative Writing college experience, this program allows you to take an Art, Media & Design elective to broaden your experience.

The Process

Writing prompts and observational exercises around Philadelphia spark discussion and critique.  Cross-disciplinary electives and collaborations allow you to explore an area of strength or branch out into something new, equipping you to tell your distinct story.

The Perks

Instructors and guest writers share advice for unlocking what you’re trying to say, and mentors provide critical feedback during evening workshopping sessions. You’ll also participate in weekly workshops and roundtable discussions with members of Philadelphia’s literary scene.

The Proof

Over the course of the program, you’ll develop a robust, multigenre portfolio that will be included in the Summer Institute’s Creative Writing Journal. You’ll also participate in a public reading for friends, family and peers; leave the program with detailed feedback from instructors; and earn  three college credits. 

Core Classes

You'll hone your craft in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and other forms, studying with a different dynamic faculty member each week. The program focus changes weekly, allowing room for you to follow your inspiration wherever it might take you.

This multi-genre class investigates what makes funny…funny. You will create original stories, poems, and essays that explore dark humor, parody, absurdism, satire, magical realism, and other forms of the fantastical, surreal, and comedic.

Harry Potter. Jay Gatsby. Emma Bovary. Memorable characters are the lifeblood of any good story. Learn how to create complex, multifaceted characters who will drive your fiction forward.

This week allows for a deep dive into the world of poetry in all its forms, including a special segment on spoken word and performance poetry. You’ll develop a critical vocabulary while finding powerful new ways to express yourself.

Regardless of what genre you write in, zines can be an ideal format for work by underrepresented voices, people seeking a more democratic writing community, or those for whom traditional publishing has proven limiting.


You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a course of your choice on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.  Choose one from the following.


Drawing is the most basic art and design tool, and it’s a fundamental component of all creative disciplines. Working in classical media such as pencil, charcoal and ink, you’ll develop essential observational and technical skills. Instruction will focus on still life, models, and landscape and techniques such as composition, light, shadow, rendering and perspective.

Figure Drawing* 

Drawing the figure is crucial for many forms of artmaking and design. This course allows you to focus exclusively on articulating the human form. You’ll work from nude models as you learn basic anatomy, gesture, volume and how to check accuracy. Previous drawing experience is preferred.

Film Criticism

Learn to watch movies with a critical eye. Through a selection of screenings, class discussions and written responses, you’ll analyze film techniques and develop a critical vocabulary. This course is designed for future filmmakers, artists, critics and writers.


Discover the medium that Andy Warhol stole from industrial production processes and transformed into an art form. Learn the techniques to screenprint clothing, bags, posters, zines and items of your choice.

Sketchbooks: Experiments & Field Notes 

Learn to use your sketchbook as a visual journal for observation and invention. You’ll experiment with markers, ink and cut paper, and field trips encourage you to work from life and your imagination.

Street Photography 

Capture the city’s spirit through your lens. Explore camera control and photographic concepts on walking trips to local galleries, markets and parks. Previous photo experience is preferred.

Visual Storytelling 

Learn how to use visual elements to tell stories more effectively. Investigate how components such as editorial choices, format, pacing and style create meaning. This course is perfect for students interested in animation,  film, game design, graphic design, illustration, photography, writing or any form of visual storytelling.

Woodworking: Design & Build

Learn basic carpentry techniques, including joinery and hand and power tool manipulation, and discover contemporary applications for woodworking. Projects encourage you to explore design ideas while gaining technical skills.

Writing for Comics

Examine how text works with sequential images to create stories and worlds in comics, cartoons, graphic novels, animation and other forms of illustrated text. Delve into concepts like dialogue and narrative as you create written pieces that can be used for future projects. 

*Nude figure models may be used in this class

Summer 2020 Faculty Include

Alexis Apfelbaum head shot
Alexis Apfelbaum

Rahul Mehta headshot
Rahul Mehta

Creative Writing

2020 Creative Writing Sample Schedule

  1. Review the Creative Writing application requirements
  2. Complete the application, including personal statement, and submit the program deposit online or by mail.  Start your application     

Call for Submissions - Young Writers Contest

The Young Writers Contest is a scholarship opportunity and writing competition for applicants to the Pre-College Summer Institute Creative Writing Program. Submissions may include poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and/or work in other genres.

Learn more

We learned to dig deeper and more truthfully into ourselves and our stories.
— Creative Writing student


Request more info

Contact Pre-College
Pre-College Programs
211 S. Broad St, Terra Hall 9th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 717 - 6430