Our Story

Philadelphia Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School is a tuition-free, Philadelphia Public Charter School open to all city residents. Philadelphia Performing Arts is a K-12 charter that was founded in 2000. In 2013, Performing Arts acquired a center city landmark building at 1600 Vine Street. The school welcomed its inaugural 9th grade class in September 2013. In September 2014, grades 5 through 8 moved from the West Campus to the Vine Street Campus. In 2017, Philadelphia Performing Arts celebrated its first class of high school graduates.  The Class of 2017 earned more than $12 million in college scholarships!

Philadelphia Performing Arts, an Apple Distinguished School, is the result of a shared vision with the School District of Philadelphia to create an innovative school for the ARTS and SCIENCES . The newly renovated, technologically advanced, 280,000 sq. ft. facility includes a variety of learning spaces, such as a theatre, a motion capture studio, an aquaponics laboratory, and several studios for the orchestral, choral, and dance majors. Philadelphia Performing Arts provides the framework and support to encourage innovation, stimulate the imagination, and expand the creative horizons for future generations of the youth of Philadelphia.


Vine Street Campus provides a unique educational environment wherein all students can focus on the arts and sciences as major subjects while fulfilling the mandates of a college-bound curriculum. As a community that strives for excellence in the academic arena, Philadelphia Performing Arts is committed to the continued development of a school climate that stresses tolerance, understanding and acceptance. Reflecting on our own collective knowledge and research on the best instructional practices, the school supports a culture that is cooperative, interactive, rigorous in  standards and responsive to the diverse needs of learners.



“Freedom” Sculpture by Zenos Frudakis is a part of the school’s facade on Vine Street. The artist describes the sculpture as the representation of a universal theme with which anyone can connect. It is the struggle for achievement, the desire to be free, through the efforts of the creative process.

Read more about the sculpture and artist