Art War

Tyler’s “act of war” against other local art schools establishes its presence.

With their move to Main Campus, Tyler School of Art students have been trying to secure their spot — and more respect — in the Philadelphia art scene.

Their stunt last week of declaring war on area art schools has gotten the city talking and all eyes on Tyler, waiting to see what’s next for Temple’s prestigious art school. While unconventional, the Trojan Horse delivery epitomizes what is best about the arts and why Tyler is a force to be reckoned with.

Many Temple students may be unfamiliar with the new artists on campus, but what they’re missing is that Temple’s artists are among the best in the country and refuse to be left out.

Even though Elkins Park was churning out spectacular art — Tyler overall was ranked 14th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report — students took it into their own hands to get themselves recognized by their peers.

Tyler graduate programs are seen as the best in their field with the graduate painting and drawing programs ranked seventh in the nation and the graduate sculpture program ranked eighth.

Karyn Olivier, the professor of advanced sculpture class that dreamed up the fanciful attack, said what her students did was a great opportunity to open up collaboration between art students at different schools.

Whether it opens up a dialogue or not, it’s wonderful to see Tyler students asserting themselves in such a creative way.

In a letter delivered with the wood and cardboard horses, Tyler students call out their peers and demand an equally creative response.

“On this morning, we, the students of Tyler School of Art, declare war against thee and stand by our gates at full attention waiting for the battle to begin.”

Olivier planted the seed in her students by asking them to create a 12-hour art project. From that, the wheels were turning in the students’ heads, and they were allowed to let their creativity roam.

When students are allowed to collaborate with a professor about the direction of a class, they can do their best work and often get the most out of the experience. More professors should give students such freedom to get creative with assignments and expand their learning to outside the classroom.

This move should encourage other students to reach out to their peers at neighboring universities, express their Temple pride and engage in some friendly competition to show them who’s boss.


  1. Really highly rated art schools here, you should be proud of those. I didn’t know that the Philadelphia art scene was so strong, but it should try to encourage as many as possible if it is to stay like that, not fight internally.

  2. A letter filled with wood and cardboard horses?
    Considering this is the opinion section.. I have an opinion that I’d like to share.

    This was NOT that creative.

    I’m glad Temple Art students have enough time to dwindle in their ‘fanciful’ war.

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