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High School Students Explore Art & Architecture at Penn

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High School Students Explore Art & Architecture at Penn

By Lydia Filosa

Each summer, Penn’s campus is filled with high school students who come from all over the world to take college-level art and architecture courses through the Julian Krinsky program, Art & Architecture: Summer at Penn. Campers can choose from a wide array of arts courses, including Animation Production, Digital Video Production, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Figure Drawing, Ceramics, and Graphic Design. The architecture studio includes assignments in freehand drawing, technical drawing, and model building. Classes take place in Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall and are taught by Penn faculty, allowing students to gain experience learning in a real college environment. With small student to teacher ratios, the classes offer students a chance to work closely with preeminent professors.

Penn art classes use the city of Philadelphia as an extension of the classroom, and campers get a taste of the on-site learning that is integral to a Penn education. The campers take advantage of all of Penn’s on-campus arts resources, with frequent visits to the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Arthur Ross Gallery, and the Penn Museum. In addition, after their full day of arts classes, campers often take evening field trips with their instructors into Philadelphia to the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and art galleries throughout Old City, where they get a behind-the-scenes view of galleries.

Deirdre Murphy is a PennDesign lecturer who has been teaching painting and drawing at the camp for thirteen years now. This summer, she is leading courses in drawing, painting, and figure drawing. Her students will experience what it is like to be a Penn Fine Arts student as Murphy takes her semester syllabus and condenses it into one “marathon month” for students. The campers will be walking away with an entire semester’s worth of knowledge at the end of the month. Murphy’s classes will seek inspiration throughout Penn’s beautiful campus and the surrounding area, with sketching days at the Bio Pond and Woodland Cemetery, as well as a field trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, where students will learn how to capture the essence of movement by drawing animals in motion.

I visited Professor Murphy’s painting class last week to see the campers in action. In the center of the classroom was a whimsical display of seemingly incongruous objects: a balloon animal, a telephone, an elegant bust with a rabbit head, a traffic cone, and more. As I walked around the classroom, I loved seeing how each student’s painting offered a different perspective and interpretation of the display.

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After a jam-packed month of arts classes and field trips, the camping experience culminates with a gallery show of the students’ final projects in Charles Addams Hall on Friday, August 1. Students install their work in the gallery and there is a grand final party with friends and family in attendance. Students walk away with full portfolios of artwork that many use later in applying to college, as well as lifelong friends from around the world.


Lydia Filosa graduated from Penn in December 2013 with a BA in Classical Studies. She is currently interning for the Undergraduate Office of Admissions and the Penn Art & Culture Initiative.

Edited by Kenna O'Rourke