The Rotunda is multi-purpose arts and culture venue that elevates the quality of life for Penn and University City by providing access to programming for multiple communities. The Rotunda presents over 300 events annually, including live music, spoken word, theater, panels, film, exhibits, dance, education, and various experimental forms of art and performance.
The Rotunda’s building dates to 1911 and was originally built as a house of worship. The University of Pennsylvania acquired the building in 1996 and in 1998 an Urban Studies seminar led by Dr. Ira Harkavy and Dr. Lee Benson called for the formation of The Foundation Community Arts Initiative, which would start producing weekly events and monthly series at the Rotunda: showcasing world music, Jazz, Rock, Experimental, and more. The Rotunda was primarily student-run until 2002.