Uniquely UArts: the Campaign for Creative Capital
The Campaign for Creative Capital
University of the Arts is a uniquely exciting place. Since its founding, we have been at the forefront of educating generations of innovative artists, designers and creative leaders. The Uniquely UArts: Campaign for Creative Capital was launched in 2018 with an initial goal of $50 million to strengthen UArts’ mission to advance human creativity, with a focus on supporting four critical initiatives: enhancing the student experience, investing in faculty, re-envisioning campus and developing innovative programming. Through the generous support of our donors, UArts’ first comprehensive campaign far exceeded its goals. Through the campaign, UArts has and will continue to launch a series of initiatives to transform the University to create an even more innovative home for creativity, risk-taking and exploration.
$67.2 million total funds raised
The Campaign’s Four Strategic Priorities
Supporting student success by enhancing the student experience
To help UArts students succeed, UArts honed its focus on raising unrestricted and endowed scholarships, which are awarded to students based on merit and/or financial need. Additionally, throughout the pandemic, UArts became increasingly aware of the acute hardships many UArts students were facing, especially when meeting some of their basic needs, like access to technology, art supplies and more. In direct response, President and CEO David Yager, with support from the Board of Trustees, launched the Student Support Challenge, to raise funds for the UArts Cares Fund. The fund aims to provide equitable access and essential resources to impact student health, academic success and overall well-being.
Investing in faculty as leaders in their fields
The President’s Fund for Excellence was launched at the beginning of the campaign. It aims to support and invest in faculty as leaders in their fields by providing enhanced opportunities for artistic exchange and collaboration. In March 2022, the inaugural round of the Grants for Creative Research and Innovation program provided funding to 11 innovative projects led by UArts faculty and staff members. These projects comprise imaginative and innovative ideas that will advance the creativity of the UArts community. Additionally, through the active recruitment and hiring of well-respected faculty members and deans, UArts’ profile continues to rise, both in the region and nationwide.
Re-envisioning the UArts campus
There have been several exciting capital improvements that are transforming UArts’ campus and enhancing not only the student experience, but also that of Center City Philadelphia. These improvements include the creation of a bustling Makerspace, state-of-the-art recording studios, a renovated Art Alliance, the Living Steps, a vibrant student center and new visiting artist studios.
Laurie Wagman Recording Studios
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 also functions as a fully analog space equipped with a 16-track tape machine.
As part of the University of the Arts capital improvements, several floors of Terra Hall were renovated. The transformation included the relocation of the School of Music from Merriam Hall to the Terra building, including new recording studios, teaching and practice spaces for instrumental and vocal performance and composition, an instructional circuitry lab, and relocation of the Music Library. Administrative offices and common spaces, including the one shown here, were also reimagined.
The University’s new student center will transform the historic Gershman Hall at 401 S. Broad St. into a new campus student center. The space will include a new bookstore among the many planned amenities. Rendering by JacobsWyper Architects.
Designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm JacobsWyper Architects in partnership with Galia Solomonoff of New York’s Solomonoff Architecture Studio, the center will support UArts’ vibrant community of visual and performing artists and provide much-needed gathering and learning spaces.
The new student center is made possible by a $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, along with a lead gift from Harriet and Larry Weiss to establish Harriet’s Place: A Gift From Larry. Located on the first floor of Gershman Hall, Harriet’s Place will include a collaboration hub, a cafe, a bookstore and other features. Rendering by JacobsWyper Architects.
The student center’s Collaboration Hub is planned as part of Harriet’s Place. The student center will also house a state-of-the-art exhibition hall, a performance center and a film screening room that will showcase works of art created by the university’s diverse and extraordinarily talented student body. Rendering by JacobsWyper Architects.
Thanks to a grant from the William B. Dietrich Foundation, University of the Arts was able to advance to the second phase of the Art Alliance’s renovations: a restoration of the building’s characteristic grand staircase and second-floor landing.
The first phase of the Art Alliance renovation saw enhancements to the first-floor galleries and meeting space, as well its entryway, and new second- and third-floor restrooms.
Based on design concepts from JacobsWyper Architects, and thanks to lead gifts from Trustees Eleanor L. Davis and Brian Effron and additional support from Trustee Raj Tewari, construction on the Living Steps began in early 2021. The new steps in Solmssen Court were recast in softer wood and now feature data and power outlets and tiers of cushioned benches on either side of the traditional risers. The space continues to be a gathering point for students and a staging ground for campus events, as well as rental events.
The University of the Arts’ Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace is a 3,500-square-foot digital and traditional fabrication studio that brings together the entire university community and serves as a catalyst for the collaboration, experimentation and innovation that’s characteristic of UArts.
In addition to being outfitted with state-of-the-art digital and analog equipment–including 3-D printers and scanners; a router and a mill; laser, vinyl and substrate cutters; printed circuit board (PCB) and decal printers–key features of the Makerspace at UArts are the social environment of creativity and risk that is created, and the peer-to-peer learning that’s fostered as studio makers share knowledge and techniques.
Developing innovative programming
Lastly, through the first-of-its-kind PhD in Creativity program, UArts will continue to push beyond the traditional boundaries of creative training. The university's first cohort of PhD candidates graduated in May 2022 with the next cohort beginning in summer 2022.
Breakdown of Financial Support
Generous donors have created named scholarships and supported general scholarship funds, which are awarded to students based on merit and/or financial need.
UArts Cares Fund:
This fund provides equitable access to basic needs and essential resources that impact our students’ health, belonging, persistence and overall well-being. This includes support for housing security, access to technology, art supplies, healthcare and transportation.
President's Fund for Excellence:
Established by President and CEO David Yager in 2016, the fund supports extraordinary faculty and student project opportunities, such as travel, research, publication and other creative projects that foster excellence and innovation.
The funds raised toward capital projects will further enhance our campus, supporting human creativity and artistic growth for the entire University of the Arts community. Highlighted projects include the Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Laurie Wagman Recording Studios, the Living Steps, the Inspiration Lab Artist-in-Residence studios in Anderson Hall and the Student Center.
Funds are designated by the donor to support a specific program, academic discipline or area across campus.
Areas of Greatest Need:
Unrestricted or undesignated gifts to UArts that, at the university’s discretion, are used for expenditures like tuition relief, housing costs, food expenses and art supplies.
A portion of the annual income from the endowment investment is used to address immediate needs at the institution, while the remaining funds are reinvested to ensure indefinite support.
Campus & Academic Improvements, Student Support
See highlights of areas across the university that will continue to benefit from the campaign.