Our creative and cultural history has been monumental in proving what artists of all kinds have known for as long as there has been art: The arts are crucial to humanity’s survival.
And as an artist, you are vital to the world’s understanding of ourselves and each other. You provide voices for those without them, you effect social change, you envision and create the world we want to live in. You’re an adventurer. You’re a creator. You shape culture.
There is no more meaningful work than creating community, sculpting society and making your mark.
It’s why you’re an artist. And it’s why we’re University of the Arts.
University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, develops innovative, creative leaders—because we all contain multitudes.
We’re one of the only arts schools in the U.S. that make it possible for you to work and collaborate across traditional boundaries.
More than 20 minors are open to all students, so animators can study guitar, dancers can minor in photography, creative writers can take classes in illustration.
You’re more than one thing. And so are we.
UArts is home to more than 20 undergraduate areas of study that produce leaders and award-winners across every discipline each year in schools of Art, Dance, Design, Film, Music and Theater.
We also have
6 academic buildings in the heart of Philadelphia’s booming arts district.
10 professional performance venues on campus.
12 exhibition/gallery spaces on campus.
Approximately 1,500 students from 42 states and 16 foreign countries.
Mission and Values
University of the Arts is dedicated to advancing human creativity in an increasingly complex and technology-driven world.
We believe creativity is the true catalyst for social and economic change and the most essential skill for success in today’s society.
We deliver a diverse curriculum, grounded in critical inquiry and creative practice, which enables students to both explore and transcend different artistic disciplines.
We are committed to being the place of choice for thinkers, doers and dreamers—a constantly evolving university devoted to the art and science of creativity for a better world.
Integrity & Diversity
UArts is a supportive community committed to individual and artistic integrity and inclusion. We promote and respect self-expression, a wide range of ideas and diversity in all its forms.
Excellence, Creativity & Passion
With a focus on excellence, we inspire, challenge and support the unconventional thinkers, dreamers and doers who are passionate about using their creative works to impact society.
Connections & Collaboration
We connect design and the performing, visual, communication and liberal arts in the classroom and the community, expanding artistic possibilities, outcomes and lives through creative collaboration.
Read more about our mission and values.
Life at UArts
The choices you’ll have at UArts and in Philly will prepare you for boundless creativity and professional success—however you define it—throughout your life.
Being involved in campus life is a great way to enhance friendships, make new connections, and build a community on campus. Whether you are joining a club, participating in Emerging Leaders or helping to welcome students as a First Year Guide, there are multiple ways to make life-long connections. We have over 25 clubs and organizations, tons of events and activities that focus on many different areas of interest, leadership programs, student leader positions and so much more.
American Beatbox Championships
Meet Our Students
Name: Aliyah Clay
Hometown: Newark, Delaware
Class of 2023
Name: Vanessa Dinh
Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania (but mostly raised in Philly)
Class of 2023
Major: Graphic Design
Name: Victoria Hamersky
Hometown: South Philadelphia
Class of 2023
Name: Justin Chance Henry
Class of 2023 (Photography), 2024 (Art Education MAT)
Minor: Art Education
Name: Michael Hirwan
Class of 2023
Major: Creative Writing
Name: Muyan (Ashley) Pei
Hometown: Beijing, China
Class of 2021
Major: Film & Video
Name: Michael Ramalho
Hometown: Waterbury, Connecticut
Class of 2023
Major: Musical Theater
Life in Philly
One of the best cities in the U.S. for creatives.
— Thrillist, 2019
Our campus is located in the cultural district of Center City—the heart of downtown Philadelphia. We’re surrounded by theaters, restaurants, creative agencies, dance companies, jazz clubs, coffee shops, performance venues and more, so it’s no surprise that plenty of artists, designers, performers, writers and creators call UArts—and Philly—home.
Most affordable large city in the U.S.
226 performance venues
3,000+ places to eat
156 design studios
4,000+ nonprofit organizations
65 miles of bike trails
Meet Our Faculty
This is just a sample of the kinds of artists and innovators you’ll be taught by, and work with, at UArts.
It’s not like us to brag, but …
Tommie Waheed-Evans, a professor of dance, is a 2021 Guggenheim fellow. (That’s a big deal.) He also earned a 2020–2021 fellowship from the Center for Ballet and Arts at NYU, a 2019 Princess Grace Honoria Award in Choreography, Howard Gilman Foundation Fellowship, Joffrey Ballet Winning Works 2019, Ballet Memphis New American Dance Residency 2019, and was selected nationally as an emerging leader by Dance/USA, among many other honors.
Photo by German Ayala Vazquez BFA ’20 (Photography)
Ben O’Neill, a professor of guitar, is a Grammy-nominated artist, guitarist, singer and songwriter who has played with John Legend, Jill Scott, Common, Kanye West and others. Among other places, he has also appeared on Ellen, Good Morning America, Today and NPR’s Tiny Desk.
Chris McDonnell, professor of animation, animated St. Vincent’s video for “The Melting of the Sun,” released in 2021.
B. Proud is a professor of photography whose documentary projects First Comes Love and its sequel, Transcending Love, have been exhibited around the country at 18 different institutions. Her self-published first book, First Comes Love: Portraits of Enduring LGBTQ Relationships has sold almost 3,000 copies.
Angela Riechers, program director of Graphic Design, is a former editorial art director who has designed everything from Harper’s Magazine to O, the Oprah Magazine. Her writing on typography, graphic design and visual culture appears in publications including Communication Arts, Print/HOW, Wallpaper, Metropolis, Design Observer and other outlets.
Michael Johnson, program director of Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, has performed on or engineered albums by Daedelus, Japanese Breakfast, Nightlands, Kurt Vile, and The War on Drugs, among other projects. He has shared the stage with those artists and legendary acts like Dinosaur Jr., Iron & Wine, and Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse).
Mike Attie, program director of Film, has been featured in the Sundance Film Festival two years in a row for his short films Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa (2020) and The Field Trip (2021). Alum Courtney Kehr BFA ’19 (Film and Video) worked as a sound recordist for Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa.
Sherrie Maricle is a professor of music and a jazz drummer who leads the DIVA Jazz Orchestra from her drumset. She performs at Carnegie Hall, is music director for Broadway star Maurice Hines and is prominently featured in the award-winning documentary film The Girls in the Band.
Sawyer Lovett is a Creative Writing lecturer and the organizer of the Philadelphia Queer Zine Fest and Philadelphia Feminist Zine Fest. His long-running zine, Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric, was made into a book published by Mend My Dress Press in 2016.
Katherine Freer teaches Projection Design in the Theater Design and Technology program. She is a core collaborator of the All My Relations Collective and serves on the Executive Committee of Wingspace Theatrical Design. Katherine also co-curated the Design With an Equity Lens series on Howlround, and is co-director, producer and editor of We Will Always Be Here, an official selection for the Cordillera International Film Festival and a Best Indigenous Film Award nominee.
Creativity is central to the world’s society. That means you can make a living doing what you love. Skeptical? Check out the success UArts alumni had after graduation and learn about what they accomplished while they were a student.
UArts graduates make art happen.
Loveis Wise BFA ’18 (Illustration) was commissioned to illustrate the cover of The New Yorker magazine just months after graduating and delivered another in 2019. They also created two Google Doodles, one in 2019 and another in 2020. Loveis’ clients include BuzzFeed, the New York Times, NPR, Playboy, Red Bull Music, Refinery29, REI and more.
In their junior year, they sent a formal portfolio to Women Who Draw, a digital pipeline for “women, women of color, LBTQ+ and other less visible groups.” Art directors used the platform to contact Loveis, and they booked their first major freelance job with Refinery29.
Courses Loveis took: Quest for True Self in Arts; Designistration; Travel Course: London & Paris; and Food and Labor in 1880s Paris
Kevin R. Wright BFA ’12 (Writing for Film & TV) is a creative producer of production and development at Marvel Studios. Among other movies, he was an associate producer of Ant-Man and the Wasp. He was also a production and development manager on Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange.
Completed two writing internships
Delivered the valedictory address during the 2012 Commencement ceremony
A United States Marine Corps veteran who served honorably as a combat correspondent and documentarian during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
Jonathan Lyndon Chase BFA ’13 (Painting) is a 2019 Pew Fellow, has had solo exhibits at Company Gallery in New York City, Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles and the New Century Art Foundation’s Pond Society in Shanghai. Their work was acquired for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s permanent collection after being included in the Whitney’s 2019 biennial.
Group exhibitions while at UArts: Senior Student Show in Gallery 817, Art Unleashed Student Show, Double Identity senior thesis show in Gallery 817
UArts awards and honors: Michael Leone Award for Outstanding Progress During the Junior Year (20129) and the Steve Jaffee Award in Drawing (2013)
Courses Jonathan took: Gender Images in Media, Major Artists: Pop Art and Franco's Spain: An Open Wound
Skylar Watkins BFA ’21 (Film) photographed countless live bands while a UArts student. She also produced and directed the band Low Cut Connie’s music video for the single “Charyse.” Rolling Stone featured Skylar’s portrait of frontman Adam Weiner and the video, and her photos have been published in Razorcake, Spin, Thrillist and other media outlets. She is also founder and editor-in-chief of Sad Punk Press, a Philadelphia-based print publication that focuses on music, arts and culture.
Courses Skylar took: Love, Power and Justice; Identity; Multiculturalism; Feminism and Media; numerous Business and Marketing courses
Completed a Film internship and a Music internship
Sean Ellmore BFA ’20 (Illustration) collaborated with pop star Miley Cyrus, painting portraits of the guests for her Instagram Live show Bright Minded. Sean also worked with MTV to paint portraits of celebrities, either for their birthday or their album releases. Follow #mtvxsean on Instagram to see the collaboration.
Completed three Design internships
Courses Sean took: Designistration; Revolution, Mobs and the Arts; Introduction to Art Therapy
Mark Samani BM ’20 (Composition) composed music for the film Down, which won the award for Best Student Film Score at the 2020 Prodigy Film Festival. In addition to freelancing, Mark is audio lead director for Team QuadraTron, where he writes music and creates sound effects for the 2021 mobile game Fish Heads.
Helped create the cross-disciplinary course Film Scoring and Motion Studio as a senior
While in school, Mark wrote music for a number of short films, animations and video games for directors and developers from Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles.
Films: Down (Best Student Film Score – Prodigy Film Festival 2020), The Catch, Jellyfish, On Our Own (Best Musical Score – Rough Cut Film Festival 2019)
Larry Barnes BFA ’19 (Theater Design and Technology) was hired as lighting director of Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center shortly after earning his degree. Larry is also part of a Philadelhpia-based collective of theater artists called 10th Floor Productions.
Designed lighting and video/projection for Manifest Destiny, which was featured in the 2019 Fringe Festival
Lighting design for UArts productions: Rhinoceros, Sea Monkey, Uncle (Equinox 2019), Hart Island Requiem (Polyphone 2019), Acedia
Video/projection design for UArts productions: Just Another Normal Conversation, A Little More Spring, Retrograde
In fall 2018, Larry studied Creative Lighting Control at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in England
Lorenzo Pugliese BFA ’19 (Musical Theater) landed the title role of SpongeBob SquarePants on the first national tour of The SpongeBob Musical shortly after graduation.
Made his regional theater debut as a sophomore in two Scranton Shakespeare Festival (SSF) productions: Damn Yankees and The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Cast in UArts productions: American Idiot, Retrograde, Guys and Dolls
Courses Lorenzo took: Zen Buddhism; Us vs. Them; Love, Power and Justice
Majesty Royale BFA ’19 (Dance) was named a 2020 Pina Bausch Fellow for Dance and Choreography—one of only three fellows accepted from an international pool of all ages. Majesty started cooperating with artmaking partners Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly, known as Gerard & Kelly, on the Modern Living project, which explores intimacy and domestic space within legacies of modernist architecture. As part of the project, Majesty performed Bridge-s, curated by Solange Knowles, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Courses Majesty took: Love, Power, and Justice; Personality & Creativity; Revolution, Mobs & the Arts; Identity, Multiculturalism
Completed two Dance internships
Completed an independent study in Dance
Danielle Vuono BFA ’19 (Game Art) earned the prestigious WomenIn Scholarship from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Foundation in 2019. Her collaborative project Sole (Gossamer Games) was nominated for best student game at the annual Independent Games Festival. Currently, Danielle works as a 3-D artist on the most popular game on Roblox, Adopt Me!
Courses Danielle took: Us vs. Them; Collab: Screenprinting Expanded; Madmen, Depressives and Fools; and numerous Game Art classes
While at UArts, Danielle got involved with Philly Game Mechanics, a community of game developers, writers, artists and musicians. Through the group’s game jams and events, Danielle made connections that led her to Gossamer Games, where she worked as a lead artist on the game Sole.
Taylor Terry BFA ’18 (Dance) performed in Beyoncé’s 2020 visual album, Black is King, which streamed on Disney+. In 2021, Taylor made her Grammy performance debut dancing for Megan Thee Stallion for the 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony and also performed at the Oscars in 2020 with Janelle Monáe. She’s worked with artists like Cardi B, Justin Bieber, Ari Lennox, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg, Teyana Taylor and others.
Courses Taylor took: Bodily and Spiritual Love; Women Writers; Poetry Workshop for Non-Majors; Collab: Technology and the Body; Artist Management
During her sophomore year at UArts, she danced with Teyana Taylor
Started her own brand, Heelaholics Anonymous, and posted footage from her classes on Instagram, which went viral and got attention from celebrities and choreographers
You’ll learn a lot (and we mean A LOT) at UArts: You’ll sharpen your self-expression. You’ll explore new methods and use new tools and find new friends, culture and the adventure that lies in living in Philadelphia. You’ll find a new home in our community of creators.
But whether you’re a performer or a visual artist or a writer or a filmmaker or a designer, the most important thing you’ll do is create and explore and experiment, find the media you love, and make your art—no matter the medium—in our dozens of studios.
Check out some of the recent work by UArts Unicorns.
“Superstitions” Tonya Amryn Rice BFA ’21 (Animation)
“Charyse” by Skylar Watkins BFA ’21 (Film)
"s]]In|k`^/ where [[]] to be" by Ella Brockway, BFA ’21 (Dance)
“Use the Door” by Sage Salvatore BFA ’21 (Animation)
“Mirror Image” by Andjela Preradovic BFA ’21 (Film)
“Lemoncholy” by Maya Pirulli BFA ’19 (Animation) & Mariluz Rodriguez BFA ’19 (Animation)
Explore the Game Art program demo reel.
Graduating students from the School of Music perform a virtual rendition of "With a Little Help From My Friends," a UArts Commencement tradition.
Learn how UArts put on a virtual production of Men on Boats, and enjoy a segment from the show.
Men on Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.
Men on Boats By Jaclyn Backhaus
Brett A. Robinson, Director
Ava Kepple (Directing, Playwriting & Production ’24), Assistant Director
Erica Sholes (Directing, Playwriting & Production ’23), Stage Manager
Teayra Bowden (Directing, Playwriting & Production ’24), Assistant Stage Manager/Video Editor
Bella Capelli (Directing, Playwriting & Production ’24), Dramaturg
Sara Outing, Visual Designer
Sophie Smyczek (Theater Design & Technology ’22), Lighting Designer
Julie Padovan (Theater Design & Technology ’21), Costume Designer
Kate Marvin, Sound Designer
Colin Sass (Theater Design & Technology ’20), OBS technician
LeVonne Lindsay, Costume Shop Manager
Audrey Johnson (Musical Theater ’22), Powell
Sarah Bastian (Musical Theater ’22), Dunn
Rose Pell (Musical Theater ’22), Sumner
Christina Carelli (Acting ’21), Hawkins
Symphony Thompson (Acting ’22), OG
Avi Fidler (Acting ’23), Hall
Emma Ellis (Musical Theater ’23), Goodman
Khenadi Christmas (Musical Theater ’24), Bradley
Alison Sahler (Musical Theater ’22), Old Shady
Madison Stephens (Musical Theater ’23), Seneca
Underground Pool is the student literary magazine of University of the Arts and is the result of collaboration, featuring work across majors, from writing and visual arts to multimedia and performance. The theme for this year’s online edition of Underground Pool is “containment.” Underground Pool is published by the Creative Writing program, and edited and designed by students in the Creative Writing and Graphic Design programs.
Image by Lexi Hagelgans '22 (Illustration)
Explore projects and exhibitions by the School of Dance faculty, guests and students. You’re invited to wander and experience the contents of each project in your own time. Project pages will be available indefinitely, so enter, exit and return as you please.
UArts believes that creativity is the true catalyst for social and economic change and the most essential skill for success. After honing their works and their visions both remotely and in UArts’ studios, classrooms, galleries and performance spaces, the Class of 2021 is poised to enter the wider world with agility and tenacity.
Here is a selection of works that exemplify the boundless creativity of this year’s graduating UArtists.
Image by Emily Grden ’21 (Fine Arts)
Advancing Creative Space
Recently, University of the Arts has opened new spaces and launched programs that create future-facing opportunities for students to gain new and emerging skills and bring new techniques and perspectives to their practices.
The Center for Immersive Media (CIM) is a 5,600-square-foot facility dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture, and human-computer interaction. CIM is the largest such center in the region.
The Laurie Wagman Recording Studios allow students to explore all facets of music production, including composition, sound design, digital and analog recording, mixing, and mastering. Housed in the School of Music, these state-of-the-art studios live alongside brand-new rehearsal, classroom, office, lab and production spaces.
The Philadelphia Art Alliance at UArts — housed in one of the first multidisciplinary art spaces in the U.S.— debuted with the School for Temporary Liveness, an immersive program created by the School of Dance, and hosted a portion of UArts’ expansive Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular of the Avant-Garde exhibit.
Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia’s premier exhibitor of cutting-edge and avant-garde film and moving image art, is housed at UArts. Lightbox screenings are free for UArts students.
Take classes for no extra cost at Thomas Jefferson University, a Philadelphia-based institution that focuses on creativity, the sciences and liberal arts. Through our partnership with Jefferson, students can explore how, where and why art, science and the human experience intersect.
UArts is an ever-evolving institution committed to creating spaces for our students to pioneer artistic, creative and social change.
Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde highlighted Philadelphia’s significant contributions to visual, literary, and musical culture between 1956 and 1976. An interdisciplinary exploration that was centered at University of the Arts, Invisible City features key works by the period’s major architects, photographers, sculptors, designers, painters and conceptual artists. The exhibition was organized by University of the Arts and curated by Sid Sachs, chief curator and director of exhibitions at University of the Arts with Jennie Hirsh, assistant curator, professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at MICA. Support for the research, development, and presentation of Invisible City has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
For questions or concerns, email email@example.com or call 215–717–6480.
Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Two recording studios are equipped with state-of-the-art, 24-channel API consoles and Antelope interfaces. There is a surround sound system in Studio A, while Studio B has a pair of Adam reference monitors. Both studios have a number of outboard compressors, equalizers and other effects processors. Studio A will also function as a fully analog space equipped with a 16-track tape machine.
Five Films from Lightbox Film Center
Lightbox is a longstanding hub for cutting-edge cinema in Philadelphia. As a UArts student, you’ll have free access to Lightbox screenings on campus and special virtual events. In the meantime, Lightbox Film Center Director Jesse Pires has curated this set of five free short films that capture the unique and innovative approach to filmmaking that Lightbox brings to the foreground.
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.
Connect with UArts
No matter where you are in life, there is a place for you at UArts. Whether you’re just beginning high school or looking to transfer to a new institution, connect with us to get to know our creative community.
Visit UArts! Join us for a campus tour, an information session or visit virtually if you can't make it in person. Sign up for a preliminary portfolio review with our Admissions counselors and learn about what makes a portfolio stand out. Look out for Open House programs that will connect you with faculty and current students so you can get to know the UArts community.
Submit your application and check your portal to sign up for an audition or to upload your portfolio. Be sure to complete the FAFSA to be considered for federal need-based aid. Connect with your Admissions Counselor for guidance throughout the application process. Accepted students are invited to attend our admitted student event, Admit One, in April.
Applying & Financial Aid
Join our vibrant, vital community of unconventional thinkers, doers and dreamers.
UArts operates on a rolling admission basis, which means we receive and process applications throughout the year as space remains available in each program.
Portfolio & Audition Information
When you apply to University of the Arts, you must audition, submit a portfolio or complete an interview depending on the area of study.
Tuition, Financial Aid & Scholarships
All UArts students are considered for scholarships at the time of admission. No special application is required. Last year, UArts awarded more than $32 million in scholarships and grants to the nearly 98% of students who were eligible for some type of financial aid. Grant aid is available to eligible students for studying abroad and graduate study.