Arts and Culture at Penn

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. 

Penn Arts and Culture Initiatives

Creative expressions of all kinds flourish at Penn. Whether you are continuing a lifelong love of music, theatre, dance, or fine art, or you are new to creative expression, Penn is just the place for you to take your next artistic steps. 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.

Our 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 Kelly Writers House, and the Wolf Humanities Center—among many more.

Want to be on stage? Platt Student Performing Arts House advises and trains students pursuing their extracurricular passions for the performing arts and those preparing for a career in the arts, including support for over 70 student performing arts groups.

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.

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.

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. 

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 (also the site of Rocky's famous run up the steps) is one of the country's largest museums. The Rodin Museum contains the most extensive collection of Auguste Rodin's works outside of France. The nearby Barnes Foundation includes a memorable, permanent collection of famous paintings and unique objects. You don't even need to pay museum admission to enjoy art in Philadelphia! 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.