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The University of the Arts (UArts) is one of the United States' oldest universities dedicated to the arts. Its campus makes up part of the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, Philadelphiamarker. The University is composed of three colleges: the College of Art and Design, the College of Performing Arts and the College of Media and Communication.


The University was created in 1985 by the merger of the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (PCPA) and the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA), two schools that trace their origins to the 1870s.

In 1870, the Philadelphia Musical Academy (PMA) was created. Seven years later, the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music (PCM) was founded. In 1944, the Children's Dance Theatre, later known as the Philadelphia Dance Academy (PDA), was founded by Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck. In 1962, the PCM was merged into the PMA. In 1976, the PMA acquired the PDA and renamed itself the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (PCPA). After establishing a School of Theater in 1983, the institution became the first performing arts college in Pennsylvania to offer a comprehensive range of majors in music, dance and theater. This institution is now the College of Performing Arts.

In 1876, the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art (PaMSIA) was founded as both a museum and an art school. In 1938, the museum changed its name to the Philadelphia Museum of Artmarker and the school became the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. In 1964, the school became independent of the museum and renamed itself the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA). This institution is now the College of Art and Design.

Twelve years after the merger, in 1996, the University added a third academic division, the College of Media and Communication.


Undergraduate students take two-thirds of their classes from one of the three component colleges of UArts and one-third of their classes from the Division of Liberal Arts. Graduate students work within one of the colleges. Under an exchange agreement, 10 students may take classes at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphiamarker.

College of Performing Arts

  • Majors: Dance, Music, and Theater Arts
  • Minors: Musical Theatre, Music Education, and E-Music
  • Graduate programs: Jazz Studies, Music Education

College of Art and Design

  • Majors: Animation, Crafts, Film/Animation, Film/Digital Video, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Metal/Jewelry Arts, Painting/Drawing. Photography, Printmaking/Book Arts and Sculpture
  • Minors: Animation, Book Arts, Figurative Illustration, Film/Digital Video, Narrative Video, Photography, Studio Photography and Typography
  • Concentrations: Digital Fine Arts, Art Education Pre-Certification and Art Therapy
  • Graduate programs: Art Education/Teaching, Book Arts/Printmaking, Ceramics, Crafts Post-Baccalaureate, Industrial Design, Museum Studies, Painting and Sculpture

College of Media and Communication

The College of Media and Communication is divided into the following major disciplines: Multimedia, Communication, and Writing for Film & Television.
  • Majors: Communication, Multimedia and Writing for Film & Television
  • Minors: Documentary Video, E-Music, E-Publishing, Game Design, Information Architecture, Multimedia, Narrative Video, Screenwriting, Strategic Advertising, Web Design, Web Drama
  • Communication Concentrations: Advertising, Documentary Video, Game Design, Media Studies, Narrative Video, Professional Writing, Screenwriting, Web Design, and Webcasting

Facilities and collections

The University's campus, located in Center City Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts cultural district, includes 10 buildings with more than 850,000 square feet.

The Albert M. Greenfield Library houses 152,067 bound volumes, 6,936 CDs, 14,901 periodicals, 16,820 scores and 1965 videos and DVDs. The Music Library collection holds about 20,000 scores, 15,000 books, 10,000 LP discs, and 5,000 CDs. The visual resources collection includes 175,000 slides. Additional university collections include the University Archives, the Picture File, the Book Arts and Textile Collections, and the Drawing Resource Center.

UArts' 10 galleries includes one curated by students. Exhibitions have included Vito Acconci, R. Crumb, Rosalyn Drexler, April Gornik, Alex Grey, James Hyde, Jon Kessler, Donald Lipski, Robert Motherwell, Stuart Netsky, Irving Penn, Jack Pierson, Anne and Patrick Poirer, Yvonne Rainer and Andy Warhol.

The University of the Arts currently has 7 theaters. The Merriam Theater is the largest on campus with a seating capacity of 1,840 people. The Levitt Auditorium in Gershman Hall can seat 850 but there is also standing-room-only for up to 1,500. Also in Gershman Hall is a black box theater used for student run productions. There is also the Philadelphia Arts Bank which seats 230. The university also owns the Drake Theater which is used primarily by the College of Performing Arts Dance Department. The Skyline Performing Arts Center (located on the 16 & 17th floor of Terra) which opened in 2007 currently house two theaters. The black box seats 100 and the recital hall seats 250.

Notable alumni


External links

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