UArts Name Changes //

Name Changes, Mergers, and Added Programs

The University of the Arts has a long and rich history that reflects the cultural and industrial history of Philadelphia and of arts education in the United States.

The University of the Arts is comprised of two colleges:
College of Art, Media and Design
College of Performing Arts

A third college, the College of Media and Communication, was dissolved in 2011.

College of Art, Media and Design (CAMD)


PMSIA logo 1876: The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (PMSIA)
, chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on February 26, 1876, is founded in response to the Centennial International Exhibition held in Philadelphia that year, and is modeled very closely on the South Kensington Museum of London (now the Victoria & Albert Museum, London). The school, sometimes then called the School of Applied Art, eventually becomes the University of the Arts College of Art, Media and Design, and the museum becomes the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Though never housed in the same location, the school and the museum are founded as one institution. Student entrance exams are held December 10, 1877, and the first classes open on December 17, 1877, at 312 North Broad Street with one hundred students enrolled. The curriculum is primarily drawing and modelling (sculpture) and is intended to be "distinctly industrial." [1885-86 circular] The first closing exercises are held June 26, 1878. Mr. Leslie W. Miller serves as principal of PMSIA from 1880 to 1920. See the 1st and 2nd annual reports of PMSIA for information.

    Historical researchers, please note: PMSIA was an entirely different institution from the Public School of Industrial Art located in Philadelphia. There was no affiliation between them. Charles Godfrey Leland and J. Liberty Tadd were associated with the Public School of Industrial Art and not PMSIA. Source: Custis, John Trevor. The Public Schools of Philadelphia: Historical, Biographical, Statistical. Philadelphia: Burk & McFetridge Co., 1897. Pages 201-213. This item available at the Internet Archive.

1883: Philadelphia Textile School is added to PMSIA. The Textile School is founded by the Philadelphia Association of Textile Manufacturers, which had been formed in 1882. In 1883 PMSIA provided classroom space to the Textile School, and in 1885 a special announcement was made about the organization of the PMSIA School of Weaving and Textile Design. The Textile School is listed separately from the Art School for the first time in the 1890-91 catalog. The Textile School was part of PMSIA until 1949 and is now Philadelphia University.

1940 logo1938: Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. "On April 7, 1938, in the Court of Common Pleas No. 3, the name of the museum was officially changed to its current name, Philadelphia Museum of Art. The school is called Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art." Source: Sixty-second Annual Report of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the Year Ended May 31, 1938, with the List of Members, page [2].

1949: Philadelphia Museum School of Art. The art school changes its name in May 1949 from Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art to Philadelphia Museum School of Art, marking a new emphasis on the fine arts. The Textile School moves to a new Germantown campus for the fall 1949 semester, and on December 1 officially breaks off from the Museum School to become the Philadelphia Textile Institute, known for many years later as Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science and now called Philadelphia University. Source: Philadelphia Museum Bulletin, Vol. 44, no. 222, Summer 1949 [annual report issue], page 56.

1959: Philadelphia Museum College of Art
The School becomes an accredited college. Accreditation is granted by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education in the the Middle States Assocation of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Source: Philadelphia Museum Bulletin, Vol. 54, no. 262, Summer 1959 [annual report issue], pages 75 and 99.

1964: Philadelphia College of Art (PCA)
The College officially separates from the Philadelphia Museum of Art in June, 1964. This former partnership is still recognized today: all UArts students receive free admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Source: Philadelphia College of Art course catalog, 1965-67; Philadelphia College of Art, report, 1964.

1983: Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) and Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (PCPA) Go Under PCA Management
It is announced in September 1983 that PCA will provide management services (financial, business, plant, security, student services) to PCPA. PCPA students live in the PCA Furness dormitory as early as 1984. Source: Main Line Times, 8 Sept 1983, page 7A.

1985: PCA merges with Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (PCPA) to become Philadelphia Colleges of the Arts

1987: On July 16, Philadelphia Colleges of the Arts is granted university status by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education and becomes

The University of the Arts

2001: Philadelphia is dropped from the names of the College of Art and Design and the College of Performing Arts in order to unify the names of the colleges, including the new College of Media and Communication (founded in 1996).

July 1, 2011: College of Media and Communication is dissolved and programs are merged into new UArts College of Art, Media and Design.


College of Performing Arts (CPA)

Philadelphia Musical Academy faculty

PMA founders as featured in the 1880 ten-year anniversary program.

1870: Philadelphia Musical Academy (PMA), founded by Johann F. Himmelsbach, Rudolph Hennig, and Wenzel Kopta at 1228 Spruce Street (now a UArts dormitory). Richard Zeckwer, Emil Gastel, and Miss N. Bywater are engaged as teachers. Source: PMA Silver Jubilee Program, 1895. See also The Philadelphia Musical Academy: Its History, Teachers and Pupils. Festival Gift in Honor of Its Decennial Celebration, February 1880.

1877: Philadelphia Conservatory of Music (PCM) founded by Richard C. Schirmer. Source: Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, school catalog, 1906-07, p. 5.

1917: PMA amalgamates with the Frederick Hahn Conservatory. Source: Zeckwer-Hahn Philadelphia Musical Academy, Season 1927-28, p. 3. PMA is called the Zeckwer-Hahn Philadelphia Musical Academy for many years. On the 1943-44 school catalog, Zeckwer-Hahn appears below PMA for the first time, and in 1947-48 it is not on the catalog at all.

Nadia Chilkovsky's Dance Theatre

1944: Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck founds the Children's Dance Theatre, which later becomes known as the Philadelphia Dance Academy (PDA). Source: Philadelphia Dance Academy catalog, 1964-65.

1962: PMA and PCM join and continue under the name of PMA. Source: Philadelphia Musical Academy, school catalog 1962-63, p. 4.

1976: PMA becomes Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (PCPA). Source: PCPA Admissions Bulletin, 1979-80, p. 1.

The above page of ads from a 1950 Philadelphia Orchestra program shows the three separate schools that would become the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts. Nadia Chilkovsky's dance company performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in this program of a youth concert.

1977: PDA, after long working relationship with PMA, officially merges with PCPA on September 20 and becomes the School of Dance. Source: PCPA Admissions Bulletin, 1979-80, p. 1.

1983: Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) and Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (PCPA) Go Under PCA Management
It is announced in September 1983 that PCA will provide management services (financial, business, plant, security, student services) to PCPA. PCPA students live in the PCA Furness dormitory as early as 1984. ( Source: Main Line Times, 8 Sept 1983, page 7A.) The School of Theater Arts is added to PCPA in 1983. Walter Dallas is the first program director.

1985: Philadelphia College of Art merges with PCPA to become Philadelphia Colleges of the Arts

1987: On July 16, Philadelphia Colleges of the Arts is granted university status by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education and becomes

The University of the Arts

2001: "Philadelphia" is dropped from the names of the College of Art and Design and the College of Performing Arts in order to unify the names of the colleges, including the new College of Media and Communication (founded in 1996).


College of Media and Communication (CMAC)

1996: The College of Media and Communication begins and accepts its first freshman class. Jeff Ryder is the first program director for the first major offered, Writing for Film & Television.

1998: Multimedia program begins, with Chris Garvin as the first director.

1999: Communication major is added to CMAC. Barry Dornfeld is the first program director.

2001: Neil Kleinman is appointed as the first dean of CMAC.

July 1, 2011: CMAC is dissolved and programs are merged into UArts College of Art, Media and Design.

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