Lewis Center for the Arts


  • Chair

    • Tracy K. Smith
  • Executive Committee

    • Su Friedrich
    • Judith Hamera
    • Aleksandar Hemon
    • Brian Herrera
    • Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Deana Lawson
    • Yiyun Li
    • Susan Marshall
    • Moon Molson
    • Paul Muldoon
    • Kirstin Valdez Quade
    • James Richardson
    • Joseph S. Scanlan
    • Tracy K. Smith
    • Susan Wheeler
    • Jeffrey Whetstone
    • Stacy E. Wolf
  • Associate Professor

    • Brian E. Herrera
  • Assistant Professor

    • Moon Molson
    • Kirstin Valdez Quade
  • Senior Lecturer

    • Michael W. Cadden
    • Jane F. Cox
    • Martha Friedman
    • Rebecca J. Lazier

Program Information

The Lewis Center for the Arts is an academic unit made up of the programs in creative writing, dance, theater, music theater, and visual arts, as well as the Princeton Atelier. It is designed to embrace the arts as an essential part of the Princeton educational experience. Lewis Center courses are offered with the conviction that exposure to the arts, particularly to the experience of making art, helps each of us make sense of our lives and the lives of others with whom we share the planet. Lewis Center students, whether pursuing a certificate in one of its programs or simply trying something artistic for the first time, come from every concentration the University has to offer. Students who are first and foremost interested in fields as wide ranging as choreography, costume design, sculpture, screen writing, printmaking, photography, film, performance art, painting, poetry, or fiction writing, or indeed any aspect of the creative or performing arts, will discover that Princeton's faculty and facilities are second to none. Students concentrating in molecular biology or mechanical engineering, chemistry or physics, classics or history, mathematics or neuroscience will find that each of these subjects has a natural connection to the making of art. The Lewis Center provides a home for those who know they want lives in the arts and for those who want to learn something about how and why artists do what they do.

Academic Opportunities in the Creative and Performing Arts

Certificate Programs. The certificate programs in creative writing, dance, theater, music theater, and visual arts are offered under the auspices of the Lewis Center for the Arts, while the certificate Program in Musical Performance is offered under the auspices of the Department of Music. For information about each of these programs of study and the courses they offer, please refer to their separate entries in this catalog.

Academic Concentrations Involving Creative Work. Various academic departments offer special opportunities and tracks that involve creative work. The Department of English offers tracks in creative writing, theater and performance studies, and arts and media. The Department of Art and Archaeology offers a concentration in the history of art and studio arts (Program 2). The Department of Comparative Literature offers a track in literary study and the creative arts. For more information about these and other opportunities, please refer to specific department entries in this catalog.

University Scholar Program. Finally, the University Scholar Program is designed for "a small group of students with outstanding and demonstrated talent in an academic or creative area that requires a substantial commitment of time and that cannot be pursued within the regular curriculum," such as artists who are already balancing the demands of a professional career with their educational requirements.

Visiting Artists and Fellows

The Lewis Center for the Arts is the home of two fellowship programs designed to bring emerging professional artists to Princeton. Hodder Fellowships invite artists in the early stages of their careers to campus to spend an academic year of "studious leisure" working on independent projects. Princeton Arts Fellowships bring artists with extraordinary potential and a significant record of achievement to spend two years at Princeton, to create new work, to teach classes and to collaborate with students on other artistic endeavors.

Princeton Atelier

The Princeton Atelier is a unique program that brings together professional artists from different disciplines to collaborate on new work. A painter might team with a composer, a choreographer might join with an electrical engineer, a company of theater artists might engage with environmental scientists, or a poet might connect with a pianist. How do artists who work in different media create art together? How do their different practices, experiences, methods, and assumptions influence each other's art making? Each Atelier finds entirely new answers to these questions. Each collaboration involves Princeton students as witnesses to the creative process, as participants in the new work and, most importantly, as developing artists in their own rights.

Unlike studio courses in other programs, Atelier courses are one-time events built around the visiting artists' newest work and current preoccupations. As the artists negotiate their collaborative partnership, they share their expertise and experience with students. Atelier courses typically include reading assignments and creative projects; the day-to-day activities usually include both discussion and "action." Although Ateliers are process oriented, they almost always culminate in a work-in-progress reading, showing, exhibition, or performance of some kind.

Princeton Atelier courses are open to all students but admission is sometimes determined by application, audition, or portfolio review. At least two Atelier courses are offered each fall and spring, and each Atelier course is cross-listed with another program or department. Please see each semesters course listings at the Lewis Center website.