Fall 2020 courses for students in current certificate courses have moved online.
UArts is reimagining the possibilities of Continuing Education. Therefore, this program is not accepting new students in 2020–2021.
UArts staff is currently working remotely. Please direct all questions and inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach New Creative & Professional Heights
Whether you want to tackle an item on your bucket list — like mastering your digital camera — or if you are poised to take the creative reins of your career, UArts Continuing Education courses and programs are the perfect step forward.
Classes & Registration
Courses for adults in Art + Design, Digital Design, Music, Movement + Dance, Photography, Social Media, and Writing.
Tuition & Policies
Review tuition and fees for courses and learn about program policies.
UArts Continuing Education staff has compiled a list of Philly institutions, arts resources and events that you might enjoy taking advantage of at home. Visit Philly’s museums virtually or check out #MuseumFromHome around the globe. Aspiring writer? Writer's block? Get inspired with creative writing and storytelling workshops through the Global Haiku Project, StorySlam and more. Lightbox Film Center is presenting special online screenings and also releasing a curated playlist of underrated film soundtracks. Dive into UArts' extensive collection of audio and visual resources and stream films on Kanopy. Need some reassurance during these uncertain times? Artist Allan McCollum collects clips from film and TV that offer moments of support and comfort.
Check out the full list of resources below — get inspired, continue engaging with the arts, and stay well.
What is your professional background? What first interested you in the UArts Graphic Design Certificate program?
I worked in public relations professionally for 4 years and was looking to transition to a career in graphic design.
How has the program changed or diversified your professional skill set?
The Graphic Design Certificate Program helped me develop better design skills that positioned me for new opportunities in the field.
Did this Certificate program help you attract or secure any new career opportunities?
Yes. During the summer of 2019, Program Director, Caitlin Perkins shared a freelance graphic design opportunity with Continuing Education Certificate students. I contacted the organization, interviewed and ended up working for them for several months. Additionally, I began a contract position at The Vanguard Group in November, 2019. My professor, Gregg Robinson is now my manager. This Certificate Program gave me the skills and connections that opened this door for me.
What advice do you have for future Certificate students?
It is important to create and maintain relationships with professors, they can be great resources, references and may one day be your colleagues. Utilize your classes as opportunities to build your portfolio and don’t forget to ask questions about the design world to help you figure out where you might fit in.
Did you find the classroom setting beneficial? How did you engage with your peers?
Class sizes were relatively small, which was helpful for critiques and we were able to grow together. Having classes with familiar faces made for a comfortable environment that was beneficial for everyone. The more we got to know each other, the easier it was to critique one another's work effectively and constructively.
What was the highlight of your Certificate program experience?
Personally, I enjoyed the poster project in Kendra Lebo's Photoshop class. The purpose of the project was to combine quotes and images in a set of posters that tackle an important theme. The theme of my posters is the power of education. I used the juxtaposition of handcuffs and a syringe to convey the idea that education should be taken as seriously as issues surrounding healthcare and incarceration.
Students of the Continuing Education UX Design Certificate Program learned first-hand about the impact user research can have on finding creative solutions to real-world problems. As part of the certificate’s User Research course, students partnered with Mural Arts Philadelphia to explore opportunities to expand the potential of the iconic Love Letters Tour.
A Love Letter For You is a series of murals by Steve Powers, covering walls in West Philadelphia with most of them viewable from the El. The murals together form, according to Mural Arts, “a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown, and from local residents to their neighborhood of West Philadelphia.” For years now, Mural Arts has run tours of the murals involving a trip on the El and platform stops. The logistics of this, however, mean it can only be offered at certain times despite the tour being in high demand.
Ellen Soloff, Director of Tours & Merchandise at Mural Arts, partnered with us to present an opportunity. Could there be a self-guided version of the Love Letter tour that allows locals and tourists a reasonable, informed way to experience the murals and their story, even when guided tours can’t be offered?
Students first learned the methods of user research, from conducting an effective interview and hearing first-hand from people about their experiences to developing a survey to collect quantitative feedback from a large number of people. Then, they developed a plan. How could they explore the opportunity for a self-guided mural tour? What questions would they need to answer? What methods would best provide those answers?
Once armed with that plan, students put it into action. This included:
Taking the tour themselves, observing the experience tour guides provided and the logistics needed to experience the tour in the best way possible
Interviewing tour guides and directly hearing about the challenges they face and their opinions on the most valuable aspects of the guided tours
Interviewing those who took the tour to learn what they loved about it and how likely they may be to take on a self-guided experience
Surveys with recent tour-goers and local audiences to identify the interest Philadelphians might have for going on a self-guided tour
Reviewing online reviews and feedback to gather perspectives on the current tour experience, what challenges might exist, and what draws tourists and locals to the tour
Reviewing existing digital experiences to assess gaps and find opportunities
Students uncovered several trends from their research.
The nature of the tour provides a unique challenge. Most of the tour involves riding the El, introducing a barrier for tourists. Without a guide, tourists would be on their own to learn where and how to get on the train, what options exist for paying, and how to do it all safely. Even for locals, the nuances of a tour that takes place on a speeding train and has very specific viewpoints from station platforms would be difficult to pull off solo.
Love Letter Murals Aren’t Easy to Locate
The murals themselves introduce further complication. Many are not viewable from the street and face multiple directions. They may be close or far from the El track and show up at different heights. Even using an existing map Mural Arts has online, the murals can be difficult to find. Those who expressed an interest in viewing the murals by themselves, some who have even gone on the guided tour already, found lack of awareness of mural locations a current roadblock. Just knowing where a mural is wasn’t enough. They had to know how to see it.
Tour Guides Offer Significant Value
Not only as a help to navigating the logistics, tour guides provide a wealth of knowledge about the murals and personality to the experience. A common highlight noted by those who took the tour was the informative narration and energy of the guides. In fact, one tour-goer commented “No guide? No tour,” highlighting how critical they felt the guides were to the experience.
Now equipped with this knowledge, students created several concepts for how Mural Arts could maximize the opportunity for self-discovery of the Love Letter tour:
To maximize the awareness tour-goers would have of the murals and their locations, students proposed a brochure with a mural map that could complement the guided experience and provide an opportunity for people to refer back to the map if attempting to find murals they may have missed seeing on the tour itself.
An enhanced digital experience was also proposed, allowing anyone to view not only where murals are located, but where someone would need to go in order to see them. This included a distinction for murals that required the viewer to be on the El or a platform vs being on street level, making a self-guided tour a real possibility.
Finally, students also proposed physical signage on the ground at Septa platforms, directing tourists and commuters alike to where murals could be seen, with the additional benefit of building awareness for the mural tour.
I think the students did an incredible job and provided us with a lot of information that we will use in the future. The best idea that we are working on implementing this summer is adding signage on the SEPTA platforms to point out the murals. I loved working with the students and hope to continue this partnership. - Ellen Soloff, Director of Tours & Merchandise at Mural Arts
Students walked away with real-world experience of user research and provided value to an important local organization along the way. User research unlocks powerful understanding for successful design and armed with these skills, students are already prepared to bring more value to their own work and future challenges.
Teaching Artist Certificate student and award-winning muralist Katie Trainer didn't expect her new mural to gain the attention of the local news. Katie painted her mural on an empty storefront window on Cumberland Street in Lebanon, PA and says she "took the panic emotions from the corona virus and figured out a way to spread some good positive outlook." The mural gained popularity quicker than she ever expected - her mural gained over 700 likes in one weekend. Her mural was featured in two local papers - Leb Town and Lebanon Daily News - and on ABC 27 who is going to do a full story about her inspirational window paintings. Katie explains that the skills of artists and teaching artists are in high demand in this unprecedented time, as people are looking for positivity and an uplifting break from the news.
Katie says she didn't intend for this to be as big a campaign as it has become and now she is ready to use her craft to inspire her local community and beyond.
Katie has since started a fundraiser to paint more positivity and clean windows in the community.
The Art Alliance Writers’ Workshop is a place where emerging writers can hone their craft alongside talented faculty; earlier this year, poets participated in the workshop’s first poetry contest. The prize was awarded to Naz Bowman ’20 (Creative Writing) and Thea Brown, with Jaymie Hommel ’20 (Creative Writing) selected as an honorable mention.
The award celebrates the work of C.K. Williams this year and is presented in conjunction with Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde, which highlights the Philadelphia avante-garde scene from the 1950s through the ’70s. In the call for submission, poets were asked to gather inspiration from the exhibition or Williams’ writings, including his 1968 book of poetry A Day for Anne Frank.
We reached out to the poets about some of their other sources of inspiration. Brown’s winning submission is part of a larger manuscript called Loner Forensics, which she calls an “urban surrealist Spoon River Anthology that’s engaged with grief, utopia, institutional violence and love,” referring to Edgar Lee Masters’ 1914 work. Other influences for Brown included “Alice Notley’s The Descent of Alette, interactive fiction computer games from the late ’80s and parallel universes.”
For Bowman, music was a major influence on their work. “The way that lyrics in songs, even more so than lyric poetry, can create tiny holes into places without taking up much space, is something that I try to emulate,” they said. Bowman explained that the poem they submitted “was an attempt at taking the way music approximates things and turning [it] into a scroll or tab of thoughts throughout a day.”
In addition to a $100 prize and publication in an upcoming issue of Horsethief magazine, the prizewinners were given the opportunity to collaborate with Book Arts and Printmaking MFA students Sarah Moody and Sara Moose-Torres to design original letterpress broadsides of their poems. The broadsides will be displayed at The Art Alliance in early April.