Summer Institute Art, Media & Design

July 8–July 26, 2024

Three weeks
Three college credits 
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. & evening studio hours

Expand your perspective on contemporary art-making while working with UArts faculty, who are professional artists and creatives. Through college-level art and design courses, critiques, and visits to Philly’s museums and cultural institutions, you’ll gain new technical skills, learn to think critically about art, complete new work for your portfolio and show your work in a public exhibition. 

Over the course of three weeks, you’ll take three classes: one major and two electives. There are a variety of classes to choose from that reflect the UArts college experience.


Learn from the artists and creative professionals who comprise UArts faculty. Each class is designed to expand your perspective on contemporary art-making and support your artistic development. You’ll get feedback from instructors along the way, complete new work for your portfolio and show your work in a public exhibition. 

At the end of this program, students will

  • create new works suitable for inclusion in a portfolio.

  • learn skills in critical thinking and revision practice through critiques.

  • expand vocabulary and technical skills in their chosen visual arts subject area.

Outcomes may vary by course—see the courses below for detailed overviews.


You’ll participate in one major and two afternoon electives.

Majors & Electives

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Choose one major from the following areas.


Professional animators guide you through the basics of motion studies: experimenting with traditional hand-drawn, stop-motion and digital animation techniques. Over the course of the program, you will storyboard, film, edit and execute your own short animated movie and demo reel.

Art Explorations

Develop a unique artistic practice by drawing from an array of 2-D and 3-D disciplines, including sculpture, ceramics, drawing and printmaking. You will have the opportunity to explore a range of techniques and learn how to work across media and toward an interdisciplinary approach to art making.


In this wide-ranging course, you will develop a concept for your own sneaker design while learning about product design, branding (graphic design) and interaction design. First, you’ll design and print a 3-D model of your sneaker. Then, you’ll explore how to create a logo, a tagline and a brand for your footwear. Finally, you’ll create an interactive web and social media ad for your sneakers to help sell and promote your product.


Dive into the world of contemporary illustration with a course led by professionals working in the field. Learn traditional and digital drawing techniques while developing your picture-making process. Create imaginative, conceptual and meaningful visual solutions and storytelling illustration for platforms such as comics, children’s books, publications and concept art.

Registration is full for this major.


Enjoy a deep exploration into painting! Begin with an introduction to painting techniques and studio processes, including color mixing, paint application and composition. Hands-on projects and the opportunity to work from a range of source references will introduce you to some of the fundamental approaches to representation and abstraction.

Registration is full for this major.


Learn professional digital photography and develop your abilities in composition, lighting techniques, color and tonality to take dynamic images. You’ll also learn about photographic strobe lighting in the studio environment and hone your photographic skills to create exhibition quality images and prints.



Students will enroll in two of the following electives, one meeting on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the other meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Applicants will rank their preferred electives.


Learn about the technical possibilities of clay while working with your hands! You will develop two main projects that weave the historical and conceptual possibilities of this unique and transformative material.

Character Design Illustration

Working with a professional in the field, you’ll research and use your imagination to develop and design original characters that tell their stories. You’ll use a variety of traditional and digital media to create thumbnail sketches that evolve into highly rendered character designs suitable for various applications, including games, animation, comics, graphic novels and illustration.

Registration is full for this elective.

Comics & Sequential Art

Strengthen each skill necessary to create a great graphic novel or comic, from conceptual brainstorming to character and narrative development to page layouts, image making, and editing. Tell the stories you're interested in through the development of sequential drawing and illustration work.

Digital Effects for Film & Animation

Create effects for live-action and animated films using Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere. Shoot and light sequences in front of a green screen for a range of settings, and create standard effects such as muzzle slashes, lightsabers and explosions.

Figure Drawing

Drawing the figure is crucial for many forms of art making 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 recommended.


Learn to create a one of a kind wearable piece of jewelry through various metalworking techniques, including soldering fabrication, cold connections and polishing. You’ll walk away with one or more pieces of finished jewelry.

Mixed Media Painting

Enjoy diverse approaches to making mixed media paintings. The class will begin with a demonstration of painting techniques, and will explore the incorporation of printmaking and collage. The layering of the materials is the most important element in creating intriguing visual compositions and juxtapositions, which can enhance and enrich your own personal content within the work.

Photography Workshop

Hone your photographic skills to create exhibition quality images and prints. Learn professional digital photography and develop your abilities in composition, lighting techniques, color and tonality to take dynamic images.

Registration is full for this elective.


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


Learn a wide-range of 3-D techniques and processes, including modeling, carving and installation, among others. Work in numerous media in various shops across the university.

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 will encourage you to work from life and your imagination.

Studio Lighting

FLASH! The photographic lighting studio provides image makers with endless possibilities! Learn to use strobe lighting and light modifiers like soft boxes and snoots to make dynamic photographs! Professional techniques will be covered and will teach students how to hone their creative vision into a series of stunning images.

Visual Development for Animation

Learn the fundamentals of character design, creature design, environmental design and art direction for animated media. You will also learn how to pitch a project to a design team using reference material, written descriptions and visual aids such as mood boards.

A Week in the Life

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View a sample schedule.


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Major

  • 1–4 p.m. Elective A 

  • 4–7 p.m. Open Studio 


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Major

  • 1–4 p.m. Elective B 

  • 4–7 p.m. Open Studio  


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Major

  • 1–4 p.m. Elective A 

  • 4–7 p.m. Open Studio 


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Major

  • 1–4 p.m. Elective B 

  • 4–7 p.m. Open Studio  


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Major

  • 1–4 p.m. Major


  • Optional off-campus field trips

Note: Students break for lunch between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. every day. Students may elect to attend open studios Monday through Thursday evenings. Commuters should plan accordingly.


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

How to Apply

Start your application.

Application priority deadline Saturday, April 13 2024. 

Application Requirements

  • Complete the Summer Institute application.

  • Submit an essay or portfolio. Students applying for a scholarship must submit a portfolio.

    • Essay

      • Include an essay of 300 words maximum that explains why you want to attend the program and what you hope to gain from the experience.

    • Portfolio

      • Upload 48 examples of your artwork. Your portfolio can include 2-D, 3-D or time-based media. For time-based media, include a YouTube or Vimeo link.

  • Pay the $15 application fee.

Tuition & Fees  

Tuition: $3,400
Program fee: $150  
Housing and meals: $1,500

Commuter total: $3,550
Residential total: $5,050


Students are expected to bring supplies with them or purchase them once they arrive on campus. Supply lists will be shared one month before the program starts with cost estimates.

Spending & Miscellaneous Expenses

Students spend an average of $80–$100 per week on additional items, including laundry, snacks, personal spending and non-required supplies.


Scholarships for the Summer Institute are awarded to students in high academic standing with significant creative potential and financial need. Scholarship awards are competitive. Students are able to apply for either a merit- or need-based scholarship. 

Learn about Summer Institute scholarships.


Request more info

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