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A Window on a Creative World

Defining creativity

For more than 130 years, the University of the Arts (UArts) has been educating creative individuals in the visual and performing arts and design. Located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, the University of the Arts offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in six areas of study: Design, Visual Arts, Film, Dance, Theater and Music.

The University had recently launched an initiative to foster greater collaboration across traditional disciplines and academic boundaries. The ongoing quest for creative connectivity led UArts to reconsider the role of its website. As one of the nation’s preeminent art schools, the University needed a contemporary, captivating website—one that captures the spirit of the institution, reflects its commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and speaks to the multiple audiences of potential students, current students, parents, faculty, alumni and donors.

The website as an evolving work

Two strategic themes came to the fore in our reimagining of the website: Persistent Vision and Always in Motion. “Persistent Vision” embodies the University’s enduring pursuit of excellence and arts leadership, while “Always in Motion” conjures the notion of a constant creative outpouring. Together, these themes capture an ever-evolving, unstoppable creative force.

To bring this strategy to life, we began by streamlining the site. With fewer pages overall, a cross-linking content strategy and audience-centric navigation, we aligned the site with the University’s academic offerings and paid tribute to the collaborative ideal. With our technology partner, NorthPoint Solutions, we were able to build a site that delivers on the creative vision with a remarkably versatile template structure and easy-to-update content management system underlying it.

Perhaps our greatest innovation is the community-generated “Studio Spotlight” that welcomes all those past, present and future visionaries to share snippets and snapshots of their own creative excellence. Students, faculty and alumni can easily post their work using a simple upload page that works like many social media sites. The result is an expanding online repository of visual art, performances and music that shines brightly on the diverse and talented artists who make up the University of the Arts community.

Inspiring this generation, and the next

As the central vehicle for the University of the Arts to share its story, the new website embraces the creativity of its community while effectively sharing its brand promise to all audiences. On a practical note, the streamlined navigation allows visitors to find what they need easily, and to create personal connections with the University and each other through intuitive interactions. Most strikingly, the Studio Spotlight has become a vibrant showcase of community-generated content for the entire UArts community.

In the words of Sean T. Buffington, president of the University of the Arts:

"This new site will provide a platform to showcase the University of the Arts’ innovative new approach to educating artists in the 21st century."

Following the launch, Siegel+Gale won a People’s Voice Webby Award in recognition of its website design for the University of the Arts.

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