Established in 1876, the University of the Arts is one of the nation's only universities dedicated solely to educating students in the visual and performing arts and design. The university offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 1,900 students who connect, collaborate, and create across disciplines and traditional boundaries. Center-supported projects include Gray Area 3, an active engagement of community members, designers, and historic preservationists on re-use strategies for two vacant Philadelphia buildings; and the exhibition Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde, highlighting and exploring Philadelphia’s significant contributions to visual culture from the 1950s to the 1970s. In 2018, the University of the Arts School of Dance received Center support for The School for Temporary Liveness, an eight-day pop-up performance experience presented in the format of a school that occupies the Philadelphia Art Alliance building, featuring choreographer and performer Nora Chipaumire and interdisciplinary performance artist Isabel Lewis.
The University of the Arts’ Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde will highlight and explore Philadelphia’s significant contributions to visual culture in the 1950s through the 1970s in an exhibition, a publication, and performances. The project will invite audiences to envision Philadelphia as “a city of firsts,” which produced the first Pop Art exhibitions, innovations in architecture and urban planning, one of the country’s first rock music magazines, and a substantial post-war growth of art schools. On view at both the University of the Arts’ Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery and the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Invisible City will include works by major architects, photographers, sculptors, painters and conceptual artists of the period, including Denise Scott Brown, Rafael Ferrer (1993 Pew Fellow), Ree Morton, Italo Scanga, and Robert Venturi. The exhibition will be enriched by time-based ephemeral pieces such as posters, pamphlets, and films. In examining the region’s performance art history, Alex Da Corte (2012 Pew Fellow) will reconstruct Allan Kaprow's important happening Chicken at the Gershman Y, where it was originally performed in 1962. Invisible City builds on extensive research and website documentation that was initiated by the university’s director of exhibitions, Sid Sachs, and supported by a 2014 Center Discovery grant.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.