Building Philadelphia Lecture Series

Understand Philadelphia through the built environment – starts March 11!

I can’t recommend this lecture series enough for anyone who loves this city and has an interest in architecture and history.

When I first moved to Philadelphia, I attended this series with a few friends out of my general interest in architecture and art history — and I gained so much more than that.  The talks brought me a real sense of this city’s history (which honestly was never taught to me), the stories of the people here, a richer understanding of the roots of my new home and a stronger knowledge of architecture. (Bonus:  I could more actively hang out with my architect, history, design and urban planning friends too!)   I developed a deep network of friends and colleagues who share my interests and a true love of Philadelphia.

Cut to… years later, and I have not only attended all of these lectures (some multiple times), but I am proud to say that I am now a seasoned architectural tour guide and I get to share my passion for the subject with lots of new people.

I strongly recommend attending the entire series as the full context of each topic is enhanced by grasping these as a whole.  But you are definitely welcome to select specific ones that interest you most or fit your schedule.  I hope to attend as many as I can, as they continue to inspire and engage me.  And the more I know, the better tour guide volunteer I can be!

The Philadelphia Center for Architecture’s “Building Philadelphia” lecture series starts March 11th and runs ten Tuesday evenings from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. “Building Philadelphia: Architecture, History, & Politics” is the definitive course (definitely!) on the development of Philadelphia and its architecture.

This engaging 10-part lecture series is taught by a selection of architects, urban planners, art historians, and social historians from local universities and architecture firms. Topics covered include William Penn’s original plan for Philadelphia, archeology and preservation in Philadelphia, major urban planning projects such as the Benjamin Franklin Parkway & Society Hill, skyscrapers, Modernism in Philadelphia, and the future of development in the city.



March 11 | Penn’s Plan and the Founding of the City | John Andrew Gallery, Executive Director of Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia

March 18 | From Colonial Capitol to the Athens of America: Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival | Richard Webster, PhD, Professor Emeritus, West Chester University

March 25 | Romantic Philadelphia: Eclecticism of Style | Richard Webster, PhD, Professor Emeritus, West Chester University

April 1 | Digging in the City of Brotherly Love | Rebecca Yamin, PhD

April 8 | Immigration to the City | Caroline Golab, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University

April 15 | Passover | No Lecture Scheduled

April 22 | The Victorian City | Jeffrey Cohen, PhD, Bryn Mawr College

April 29 | Going on Stilts: The Tall Building in 19th Century Philadelphia | Paula Spilner, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

May 6 | Planning the Modern City: The Parkway and Society Hill | David Brownlee, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

May 13 | Misfits and Heroes: Modernism in the Delaware Valley | William Whitaker, Curator of The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

May 20 | Ed Bacon and the Future of Philadelphia | Scott Gabriel Knowles, PhD, Drexel University

And following the series, you too can join me as a tour guide by attending three tour guide training sessions.  It is infinitely rewarding!




Save the Date to celebrate a Decade of Design with DesignPhiladelphia

The 10th annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival will be held October 9th to 17th, 2014.

The Festival will kickoff on October 8 with PopUp Place – an experiential benefit and cocktail party. This year guests will explore how good design intersects cutting-edge technology in another up-and-coming Philadelphia “design -destination” neighborhood.   For the past nine years, the DesignPhiladelphia Festival has consolidated the region’s design culture and produced a snapshot – in real time – of the wealth of talent, diversity, and opportunity available here for the outside world to see. Celebrating a decade of design gives us all a chance to stand together on the strong tradition of design in this region and take stock in how far we have come, all the while creating a vision for our future.

Power of Email Marketing Small Business Workshop – Feb 27

The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts presents this free workshop, held at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Lovett Branch.

Thursday, February 27 at 10:15 am:  Free Library, Lovett Branch: 6945 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA

Free and open to the public.  No RSVP needed.

Email is everywhere – you can’t reach for your phone anymore and not end up “doing your email”. Which, in most cases, involves hitting the delete button nine times in a row. Did you ever ask yourself why? Why did you get all of those emails in the first place? You didn’t sign up for them. And secondly, they are useless to you. Is the term “eBlast” part of your vocabulary? Should it be? Moreoever, has the game changed in 2014?

Constant Contact, the world’s leader in Email marketing is going to show you why and what you can do about it. With so much noise being made about “open rates” we will demonstrate something much more important – Best Practices. Our experts will show you what not to do and why – and include examples of what works – and why! This program is generic: It doesn’t matter what email program you currently use, Best Practices apply everywhere. In the for-profit and in the non-profit world, much is at stake in this economy. Come and learn how you can be productive, trusted, and grow your business.

A Great Reception for Digital Photo!

We are so proud of our latest group of photographers who have completed their Digital Photography Capstone Exhibition!

It was great to celebrate the accomplishments of Kaylee Collins, Deedra Grandelli, and Adam Kantorski at last night’s reception, along with their many supportive friends, colleagues, and family members.  We loved meeting all of you.


Kaylee Collins at the reception, image by Susan Kessler

Adam Kantorski at the reception, image by Susan Kessler

Deedra Grandelli at the reception, image by Susan Kessler

It was so nice to see the community spirit and ongoing creative support our photo students have nurtured amongst themselves as they develop their craft.

We toast Kaylee, Deedra and Adam – great job!

And we look forward to our next group show on Thursday January 23 to see the works of Bridget Horgan Bell, Eve Miller,  Susan Kessler and Casandra Williams.  Join us!

SEI Innovation Studio Opens at the Kimmel Center

One of our beloved neighbors on the Avenue of the Arts –  The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – unveiled additions this week to its basement black box theater, the new SEI Innovation Studio.

(Photo by Evelyn Bonner for The Kimmel Center)

Aiming to draw in a younger audience and make the acclaimed music hall more welcoming, the 200-seat black box theater now sports a state-of-the-art glass facade facing Spruce Street that opens into a staircase  leading to the SEI Innovation Studio.

In addition, I’m thrilled to hear that a rotating collection of art by emerging artists from the West Collection, the world’s largest private collection of work by emerging artists, will be featured.  This collection is well known —  but being a private collection housed in Oaks, PA (at the SEI offices), it took some coordination to see the work.  It is thrilling to have some examples of the collection right here next to UArts and so accessible to arts and culture enthusiasts in the city.

If you want to check out the new space and learn more about their upcoming programs, the Kimmel Center offers free art and architecture tours every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

SEI Innovation Studio
Where: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street
More info:


CITYWIDE – Collective Exhibitions for November

Throughout November, a group of artist-run galleries are hosting and exchanging with other spaces resulting in a collaborative exchange across the board geographically and ideologically.

Image courtesy of WHYY newsworks

CITYWIDE will simultaneously showcase work from over 19 Philadelphia based collective galleries and four curatorial and project based groups, representing over 100 local artists.  The essence of CITYWIDE lies in collaborative action to promote the city of Philadelphia as a successful model for artistic empowerment.

This Saturday, November 16, is the CITYWIDE shuttle bus day – FREE shuttle buses will take visitors to various gallery spaces – reservations are required.

Bill Dufala, of the Traction company, crouches in the tiny Napoleon gallery, where he helped create a scale model of the Traction Company's 8,000-square-foot space. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks, WHYY)

In an effort to unify the community of the artist-run scene, CITYWIDE:  A Collective Exhibition, will bring together the twenty artist-run entities of Vox Populi, Grizzly Grizzly, Marginal Utility, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Practice, NAPOLEON, Little Berlin, Space 1026, Fjord, McCartney/Belknap Projects, Rebekah Templeton, Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space, Basekamp, Highwire, The Traction Company, In Liquid, Paradigm Gallery, Magic Pictures Gallery, Termite TV Collective, BYOPrint Studios, Pterodactyl, The Soapbox, Title Magazine, and The Nicola Midnight St. Claire.

In conclusion of the project, a printed color exhibition catalogue will be created to serve as a tangible record of the collaborative exhibition.  CITYWIDE’s promotional materials will also include an illustrated map to encourage participants to venture into a variety of neighborhoods and explore alternate spaces throughout the city. Over the course of the next year, a lively exchange between participating groups will take shape as this dynamic project evolves and exchanges are defined.

Grassroots Game Conference–Oct 14-20

If you are interested in understanding game usage, having games made, or making games for any purpose, the Grassroots Game Conference is intended for you, and you are warmly invited to participate.

The Grassroots Game Conference (October 14-20) is specifically formed to bring more entities and individuals into the creative use of game development. It isn’t a game industry/tech conference and it isn’t a “gamer” conference.

There are three great reasons to live and work in games in Philadelphia:

1. Creative Community. Everything from food to robotics; this is the core of the city’s wonderful transition of the past decade.
2. Incredible University Talent and Expertise. More than 300,000 university students in the area and a bunch of the most impressive experts anywhere teaching them.
3. Physically a wonderful place to be, with beautiful locations and a very reasonable cost of living.

This conference emphasizes games made by small teams, an approach that is credibly viable in our region rich in creative and technical resources, but without a history of large-scale game development. This is the second year of the conference, and once again, presenters from across the country and Europe will have significant announcements and insight, including new initiatives in education and professional game creation in this region.

There will be full-day tracks in: Games and Health, Civic Engagement, Women in Games, Music, Art and Teaching Game Development in K12. Each is keynoted by a noted figure in their field and organized in coordination with expert entities.

The Grassroots Game Conference is intended to serve broad interest in the creation of games by small teams. Every track is focused on bringing game creation together with an existing area of robust interest in this region (art, music, health, education, design, civic engagement and more), in collaboration with leading entities, and will attract even more expert presenters this year from across the country.

Tracks include:

  • Games and the Body/Health
  • Art/Game Collision
  • Games and Gamification for Non-Profits
  • Music/Game Collision
  • Game Creation in k12
  • Games for Civic Engagement
  • Women in Games
  • DesignGamesDesign
  • Plus a three-day Chiptunes Music Festival in Collaboration with 8static.

Tickets are only $20 per one-day track, or $10 for students. Most events are held in the First Unitarian Church, on Chestnut at 21st, but please check the website for specifics, as some events will be elsewhere.

Added second section of Foundations of Web Design + Development – now on Weds

We’ve added a second section of Foundations of Web Design + Development, now offered on Weds nights.

Yes, this added night offers identical content and instructor (the amazing Tony Robertson!) as section one on Tuesdays.  This is a comprehensive introductory course to best practices in the industry with hands-on projects using CSS and HTML and more.  Plus this is the first course for our web certificate programs.  Get started now – we have more spaces for those eager to begin!

To register for this, please contact us at or call 215.717.6095.  We can assist you into this or any of our courses starting this week!


Create your now at our Info Session Sept 11!

Join us to learn more about our Continuing Education certificate programs and personal enrichment courses offered this fall at the University of the Arts.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 | 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Terra Hall – 211 S. Broad Street (near Broad + Walnut) 9th Floor, Room 905

There are two brief overview presentations:  one at 5:45 pm and repeated again at 6:30 pm – come when it is most convenient for you!

  • Take the first step in learning about Continuing Education courses and certificate programs.
  • Understand the curriculum
  • Meet members of our faculty of industry professionals
  • Meet current certificate students
  • Ask questions
  • Learn about featured benefits
  • Enjoy light refreshments

Attendees are eligible for a 10% tuition discount for one new Fall 2013 CE course. (New students only. No retroactive refunds will be given.)

Need Directions? Go to:

Note: We do not have a UArts parking garage or designated parking for this event.