Students performing

Arts & Culture at Penn

Whether you are continuing a lifelong love of music, theatre, dance, and fine art, or you are new to creative expression, Penn is just the place to take your next artistic steps.

Penn Arts & Culture Initiatives

Creative expression of all kinds flourishes at Penn. With on-campus museums, visiting artists from around the world, and top-flight academic programs in music, theatre, and visual art, students can create and appreciate art at all levels. Whether you are considering a career in the arts, want to incorporate art courses into your class schedule, or simply want to spend time appreciating the arts around campus, there’s a creative outlet for everyone here at Penn.

The academic programs span across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences with unique offerings for undergraduates in departments such as Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Digital Media Design, History of Art, Fine Arts, Music, Theater Arts, and Visual Studies.

Penn students also have access to our world-class cultural institutions like the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), the Arthur Ross Gallery, the Platt Student Performing Arts House, Kelly Writers House, and the Wolf Humanities Center—among many more.

Learn more about the breadth of departments, programs, centers and museums, dedicated to the study and celebration of art and culture.

Considering submitting a portfolio of work or a music sample along with your application to Penn? Learn more about submitting supplementary materials along with your application.

Connect to Philadelphia’s Extensive Arts Community

Philadelphia’s vibrant arts community is one of its greatest assets. Neighborhoods like Old City are home to an eclectic mix of galleries, and the Avenue of the Arts features more than 35 performing arts venues, including the Kimmel Center (home to the Philadelphia Orchestra), the Academy of Music (featuring the nation’s oldest continually running opera house), and the Walnut Street Theater (America’s oldest theatre), among many others.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the country’s largest (and is also the site of Rocky’s famous steps), while the Rodin Museum contains the most extensive collection of Auguste Rodin works outside of France. The nearby Barnes Foundation includes a memorable permanent collection replete with famous paintings and unique objects as well as a storied past. A simple walk through its streets reveals many of the city's riches—Philadelphia boasts more murals and pieces of public art than any other American city.

Penn Museum exhibit
A 4,000-year-old model of a rowing boat with 16 figures, featured in a Penn Museum exhibition showcasing 200 artifacts from its vast Egyptian collection, as well as their conservation.