Arts and Culture
Drexel is home to a burgeoning, home-grown performing arts scene. Every term, hundreds of students from across the University express themselves through dance, music, and theater. With four choral groups, symphony and jazz orchestras, a concert band, two dance companies, partnerships with top Philadelphia theatre companies, and student-produced shows, there's something for everyone.
You'll also find influential art collections and galleries that speak to a variety of interests and draw enthusiasts from around the globe. The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, one of the oldest and most esteemed university collections in the United States, houses more than 12,000 textiles, garments, and accessories ranging from Renaissance textiles to French couture. The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design's Leonard Pearlstein Gallery exhibits novel and experimental art in all contemporary media, including digital, video, sculpture, photography, graphics, and fashion design, while the College’s Polish Poster Collections encompass one of the largest surveys of Soviet-era Polish posters within an institution in the United States. And our celebrated Drexel Founding Collection, originally founded in 1891, offers more than 6,000 works, with a focus on 19th-century European art. You can view these historic paintings, prints, porcelain, furniture, silver, and clocks on display in galleries, exhibits, and buildings across the University.
Much like art itself, Drexel’s role within the world of curation and collections continues to evolve. In 2011, Drexel formed an affiliation with The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the oldest natural history museum in the Americas, with a superb library and over 19 million specimens in its collections. The Drexel Audio Archives now serves as home to the historic Sigma Sound Studios Collection, which contains over 7,000 audiotapes from a wide variety of influential artists, including the Studio’s signature R&B recordings. And, the University will soon become the new trustee of the Atwater Kent Collection, an extraordinary assemblage of some 130,000 rare historic artifacts and archival materials relating to Philadelphia and American history.
But the University also recognizes the value in using art as a dynamic and vibrant connection to our surrounding communities. The Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships serves as a neighborhood hub that offers a communal space to engage in dance classes, open mic nights, and opportunities to work on plays and the written word. Additionally, the Drexel University Lenfest Center for Cultural Partnerships collaborates with arts and culture nonprofit organizations to provide interdisciplinary opportunities for experiential learning through co-ops and internships, special classes, faculty research projects, and other consulting projects. Together, these Centers allow Drexel artists, dancers, and writers to regularly work alongside local residents to inspire change and create art of all kinds — while building lasting bonds that move our communities forward.