Tyler School of Art

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Tyler School of Art
TypeArt and architecture school
(as Stella Elkins Tyler School of Fine Arts)
Parent institution
Temple University
DeanSusan E. Cahan
Location, ,
United States

The Tyler School of Art is an art and architecture school based at Temple University, a large, urban, public research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] Tyler currently enrolls about 1,350 undergraduate students and about 200 graduate students in a wide variety of academic degree programs, including architecture, art education, art history, art therapy, ceramics, city and regional planning, community arts practices, community development, facilities management, fibers and material studies, glass, graphic and interactive design, historic preservation, horticulture, landscape architecture, metals/jewelry/CAD-CAM, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and visual studies.[2] Tyler's art programs "have long been considered among the finest in the nation."[3] The school is currently No. 15 in the nation among fine arts schools in U.S. News' Best Graduate Schools rankings, and three of Tyler's individual MFA programs are ranked in the top 10.[4]

Founded in 1935 by Stella Elkins Tyler and sculptor Boris Blai in nearby Elkins Park, Pennsylvania[5], Tyler moved to a new, 255,000-square-foot facility at Temple's Main Campus in 2009 with the cornerstone financial support of an allocation of $61.5 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania[6]. In 2012, Tyler's Department of Architecture moved into a new facility connected to the main Tyler building.[7] Temple's departments of Landscape Architecture & Horticulture (based primarily at Temple's suburban Ambler Campus) and Planning & Community Development joined Tyler in 2016, unifying all of the university's built-environment design disciplines in one school for the first time.[5]

In 2017, arts administrator, art historian and curator Susan E. Cahan, formerly associate dean and dean for the arts at Yale College at Yale University, was appointed dean of the Tyler School of Art by Temple President Richard M. Englert.[8]

In 2018, Temple University's Board of Trustee's approved changes to Tyler's structure and identity in order to unify the school, integrate the built-environment disciplines, support cross-disciplinary studies and reflect current understanding of creative practice and research. Effective July 1, 2019, the school's name will become the Tyler School of Art and Architecture.[9]

Academic programs and accreditation[edit]

The Tyler School of Art offers a wide range of degree and certificate programs in the areas of art, built-environment design, graphic design, art history and art education. Tyler students also have access to the comprehensive programs and resources of Temple University.

Under Susan E. Cahan, Tyler's dean since 2017, Tyler has placed a renewed emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies and collaboration in its academic and co-curricular programs.[10]

Tyler's academic degree programs[2]:

  • Architecture (BSArch, MArch, MSArch**)
  • Art Education (BSEd, BFA with Art Education Concentration, BSEd, MEd with Major in Art Education)
  • Art History (BA, MA, MA Fine Arts Administration Track, PhD)
  • Art Therapy (BA)
  • Ceramics (BFA*, MFA)
  • City & Regional Planning (MS)
  • Community Development (BS)
  • Facilities Management (BS)
  • Facilities Planning (MS***)
  • Fibers & Material Studies (BFA*, MFA)
  • Foundations (non-degree granting program for first-year students)
  • Glass (BFA*, MFA)
  • Graphic & Interactive Design (BFA*, MFA)
  • Historic Preservation (BS)
  • Horticulture (BSHort, ASHort)
  • Landscape Architecture (BSLA, MLArch)
  • Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM (BFA*, MFA)
  • Painting (BFA*, MFA)
  • Photography (BFA*, MFA)
  • Printmaking (BFA*, MFA)
  • Sculpture (BFA*, MFA)
  • Visual Studies (BA)

* also available as BFA with Entrepreneurial Studies or a BFA with Art Education concentration

** post-professional degree available with optional concentrations in Advanced Technologies and Design, Urban Ecologies and Design, Health and Design

*** post-professional degree available with an optional concentration in Health and Design

In addition to its degree programs, Tyler also offers undergraduate certificate programs in Arts in Community, Creative Entrepreneurship, Environmental Sustainability, Historic Preservation, Horticultural Therapy, Landscape Plants, Native Perennial Garden Design and Sustainable Food Systems; and graduate certificate programs in Arts in Community, Health Facilities Planning, Sustainable Community Planning and Transportation Planning.

Temple also has a BA in Art program at Temple University, Japan Campus, located in Tokyo.[11]

The Tyler School of Art at Temple University is a non-profit, accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Tyler's MArch degree program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, and the school's BLArch and MLArch programs are accredited by the National Landscape Architecture Board and the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. Tyler's MS program in City and Regional Planning is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. The BS program in Facilities Management is accredited by the International Facilities Management Association.[12]


Since 2009, when the Tyler School of Art moved into its new home, a 250,000-square-foot building designed by award-winning architect Carlos Jiménez[6][13], Tyler's art students and faculty have had access to expansive, state-of-the-art facilities. Tyler's architecture students and faculty experienced a similar boost in size and quality of facilities when the program moved into a new, 50,000-square-foot Architecture Building in 2012—Temple's first building dedicated solely to architecture.[7] The two structures, which are connected by a glass-enclosed passageway, are located at Temple University's Main Campus in Philadelphia, giving the Tyler community access to the city's museums, galleries and other arts-related resources. Their location adjacent to Presser Hall (part of Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance) and Temple Theaters (part of Temple's School of Theater, Film and Media Arts) has created an arts quadrant in the northeast corner of campus.[6]

The central courtyard between Tyler's two primary buildings is one of the largest green spaces at Temple University's Main Campus. In 2018, the Natural Dye Garden, a collaboration between students and faculty in Tyler's Fibers & Materials Studies and Landscape Architecture programs, was installed in the courtyard, part of a plan to re-activate the courtyard and make it a space for interdisciplinary collaboration and recreation.[14]

Notable Tyler facilities include:

  • The Architecture Building, with four floors of studios and exposed air ducts, plumbing pipes and lights in order for students to observe the building's infrastructure.[15]
  • A 10,000-square foot ceramics facility—one of the largest in the nation—with four gas kilns, 13 electric kilns, a large glaze room and 3-D modeling and printing facilities.[15]
  • Fibers and material studies studios equipped with a computer lab for silk screening and digital printing, a Jacquard Loom, multi-harness floor looms and electronic looms.[16]
  • A glass facility with a hot shop with two 530-pound day tanks, four benches and four glory holes; and a cold shop with Merker and Czech lathes and four flameworking stations.[15]
  • Landscape architecture and horticulture facilities at Temple University's large Ambler Campus in suburban Montgomery County, which include a 187-acre Ambler Arboretum and a 5,600 square foot greenhouse.[17]
  • A 5,600-square-foot metals/jewelry/CAD-CAM facility with 56 bench-top torches, three burn-out ovens, a computer lab, a crucible, a centrifuge, two 3-D printers and more.[15]
  • Painting and drawing rooms, each measuring more than 1,000 square feet with north-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows providing ideal light and views of Philadelphia.[15]
  • A 9,000-square foot photography facility with two large wet labs, a lighting studio, a critique room, an exhibition gallery, computer studios with large-format printing and more.[15]
  • A fully equipped, 10,000-square-foot printmaking facility featuring three large rooms for lithography, etching/relief/monoprinting and screen printing.[15]
  • A 16,000-square-foot sculpture space, including a complete wood shop and metal fabrication shop, two-ton gantry cranes, hoists, an outdoor assembly area and a 1000-square-foot outdoor pad.[15]
  • Digital services facilities that include a Digital Fabrications Studio where students have access to 3-D printers, 3-D scanning, vinyl cutting, laser cutting and a ten-needle embroidery machine; a Media Output Center with archival-quality printing up to 64 inches wide; and a Visual Resource Center with a wide variety of scanners, projectors, DSLR cameras and more.[18]

Visiting artists and scholars[edit]

Tyler also hosts a variety of visiting artist, architect and scholar programs that bring leaders in their disciplines to the school to address the Tyler community and work with students in their classrooms and studios. Flagship visiting artist and scholar programs include:

The Critical Dialogue series, a core component of Tyler's MFA programs in Painting and Sculpture that has been bringing internationally renowned artists, filmmakers, architects, curators, scholars, and writers to campus to work with Tyler students for more than four decades. Past visitors include:

The Jack Wolgin Annual Visiting Artist Symposium, an endowed visiting artist program that brings one of the nation's most influential artists and thinkers to campus to work with Tyler students and present a free public lecture each year. Past Jack Wolgin Annual Visiting Artists:

Tyler Architecture alumni endowed a lecture series to honor Brigitte Knowles, professor emerita and former associate dean, that brings the world's leading architects, landscape architects and designers to campus. Past lecturers include:

The Laurie Wagman Lecture Series in Glass, an endowed visiting artist program that brings internationally renowned glass artists to Tyler to work with students and present free public lectures. Past lecturers include

Temple Contemporary[edit]

Temple Contemporary is Tyler's exhibitions and public programs unit, which has been led by Robert Blackson, Tyler's director of exhibitions and public programming, since 2011.[22] Temple Contemporary's galleries and offices are located in the Tyler building at Temple University's Main Campus, although much of its programming takes place in the surrounding Philadelphia community.

Temple Contemporary's mission is "to re-imagine the social function of art through questions of local relevance and international significance.”[23] To achieve that goal, Temple Contemporary relies on a "ground-up" programming model. The issues that Temple Contemporary tackles in its gallery exhibitions and other public programming are not determined by its director, but are prompted by a democratic process spearheaded by an advisory council made up of non-Temple-University-based local residents (ranging from high school students to community leaders), Temple University and Tyler faculty faculty members, Temple University and Tyler students and others.[24][25][26]

Temple Contemporary's community-focused programming that has earned national attention includes "Funeral for a Home" (2014)[27][28], an extended commemoration of at-risk urban housing stock and the lives that soon-to-be-demolished homes contain; "reForm" (2014-2015)[29][30], a response to the closure of public schools and its impact on urban communities and their children by artist and Tyler faculty member Pepón Osorio; and "Symphony for a Broken Orchestra" (2017-2018)[31][32], a citywide effort to collect, display, repair and return broken instruments belonging to Philadelphia's public schools, highlighted by the composition of music for the broken instruments by composer David Lang and the music's performance by a diverse orchestra of local residents. All three of the projects above were funded in part by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage[33][34].


U.S. News and World Report's annual Best Graduate Schools ranking of "Best Fine Arts (MFA) Schools" lists the Tyler School of Art as No. 15 in the nation, tied with four other institutions.[4] Among public art schools, Tyler is tied for No. 5 in the nation for their graduate programs, and Tyler is the only art school in the Philadelphia region to be ranked in the top 30.[4] Several of Tyler's individual MFA programs also earn national top-10 ranks from U.S. News, including glass (ranked No. 2 in Best Graduate Schools), printmaking (no. 7) and painting/drawing (no. 10).[4]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable current and past faculty[edit]


Arts patron Stella Elkins Tyler (of the Elkins/Widener family) donated her estate in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, to Temple University in the early 1930s. With an interest in progressive education and a deep appreciation of her mentor, the sculptor Boris Blai, Tyler offered her estate with the expressed wish that, through Boris Blai, it would become an environment for the advancement of the fine arts, scholarly study in the arts and individual creativity. As founding dean of what was then known as the Stella Elkins Tyler School of Fine Arts, Blai instilled the school with a commitment to progressive education emphasizing the student's mastery of technique within the framework of a liberal arts curriculum. Blai insisted upon individual attention to each student's needs as the basis of successful teaching. During his 25-year tenure as dean, Blai shaped the school into one of the finest visual arts centers in the country, and his founding ideals still remain paramount to Tyler's educational philosophy.[3][5]

In 1960, Charles Le Clair succeeded Blai. Under Le Clair, the Tyler campus was improved with construction of a residence hall and two studio/classroom buildings. In 1966, the school's name was changed to the Tyler School of Art, and Le Clair founded the Tyler Study Abroad program in Rome, Italy.[3][5] Tyler's programs at Temple University Rome remain among the most respected fine arts study abroad programs in Europe today. Temple University Rome has expanded to include a full range of liberal arts, architecture, business and law courses with an emphasis on those relating to Rome, Italy and Europe.[35] Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Tyler's curriculum continued to grow in response to new definitions of art-making and the role of art in society. New programs and modern facilities in design, ceramics, glass, metals and photography were added.[3][5] During this time, Tyler established Art History and Art Education departments on Temple's Main Campus in Philadelphia.[3][5]

The pace of change and growth began to accelerate dramatically in the late 1990s. In 1998, Tyler welcomed Temple's Department of Architecture. In 2009, Tyler moved from Elkins Park into a new, 250,000-square-foot building at Temple's Main Campus.[3][5] Three years later, Architecture moved into a new 50,000-square-foot facility connected to the new Tyler building.[7] Temple's departments of Landscape Architecture & Horticulture and Planning & Community Development became part of Tyler in 2016, for the first time unifying all of the built-environment disciplines at Temple in one academic unit. In 2017, the Tyler School of Art welcomed Susan E. Cahan, who came from Yale University to become first permanent dean of an independent Tyler since the school moved into its new building in 2009.[5][8]

Tyler's leaders:

  • Boris Blai, dean (1935-1960)
  • Charles Le Clair, dean (1960-1974)
  • Donald M. Lantzy, acting dean (1974-1975)
  • Jack Wasserman, dean (1975-1977)
  • David Pease, interim dean (1977-1978) and dean (1978-1984)
  • George Bayliss, dean (1984-1989)
  • Rochelle Toner, dean (1989-2002)
  • Hester Stinnett, acting dean (2002-2005)
  • Keith Anthony Morrison, dean (2005-2008)
  • Therese Dolan, interim dean (2008-2009)
  • Robert Stroker, interim dean and dean of Center for the Arts (2009-2015)
  • Hester Stinnett, interim dean (2015-2017)
  • Susan E. Cahan, dean (2017-present)


  1. ^ "Schools and Colleges | Temple University". www.temple.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  2. ^ a b "Academic Programs". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hilty, James (2010). Temple University: 125 Years of Service to Philadelphia, the Nation, and the World. Temple University Press. p. 227. ISBN 1439900191.
  4. ^ a b c d "U.S. News Best Fine Arts Programs". U.S. News & World Report. October 14, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mission, Vision and Values". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  6. ^ a b c "Tyler move creates Temple arts hot spot". Temple Now | news.temple.edu. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  7. ^ a b c "Architecture moves into dedicated building". Temple Now | news.temple.edu. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  8. ^ a b "Susan E. Cahan appointed dean of Tyler School of Art". Temple Now | news.temple.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  9. ^ "Trustees approve Tyler changes". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  10. ^ "Meet Tyler dean Susan Cahan". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  11. ^ Campus, Temple University, Japan. "Art Major - Undergraduate Program, Temple University, Japan Campus". www.tuj.ac.jp. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  12. ^ "Accreditation". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  13. ^ "Tyler School of Art (2005-2009)". Carlos Jiménez Studio. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  14. ^ "Tyler School of Art on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "Explore Our Facilities | Tyler School of Art". tyler.temple.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  16. ^ "Fibers & Material Studies". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  17. ^ "Gardens | Ambler Campus". ambler.temple.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  18. ^ "Tyler Digital Services". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  19. ^ "Rick Lowe coming to Tyler". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  20. ^ "TYL Architecture Alumni Lecture in Honor of Brigitte Knowles". www.alumni.temple.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  21. ^ "Brigitte Knowles Honored at Snøhetta Lecture Sponsored by Architecture Alumni". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  22. ^ "Who We Are". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  23. ^ "Temple Contemporary". www.templecontemporary.info. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  24. ^ admin (2015-08-21). "Inside Temple Contemporary: Q&A with Rob Blackson". The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  25. ^ "Meet Tyler dean Susan Cahan". Tyler School of Art. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  26. ^ "Temple Contemporary's Rob Blackson Disrupts the Traditional Art Gallery". thephiladelphiacitizen.org. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  27. ^ "Funeral for a Home". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "In Nod To History, A Crumbling Philly Row House Gets A Funeral". NPR's "All Things Considered". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  29. ^ "reForm". reForm. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  30. ^ "Art Show Captures the Wrenching Effects of Closing a School". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  31. ^ "Symphony for a Broken Orchestra". symphonyforabrokenorchestra.org. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  32. ^ "A Symphony Breathes Life Into 400 Broken School Instruments". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  33. ^ admin (2016-11-30). "Rob Blackson". The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  34. ^ admin (2016-11-30). "Symphony for a Broken Orchestra - GRANT". The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  35. ^ "50 YEARS OF TEMPLE ROME – Temple University Rome Campus". rome.temple.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-15.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°58′59″N 75°09′13″W / 39.983162°N 75.153556°W / 39.983162; -75.153556