Brianna Florio spent part of her summer in the Summer Studios program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.
Why did you choose to participate in Summer Studios?
I knew I wanted to do a pre-college program, but I didn’t think I’d ever be able to because of money. My junior year I discovered MassArt, filled out the application for Summer Studios and was awarded a scholarship for the program! I knew I wanted to go to art school my whole life but had never had proper art classes because I couldn’t afford them.
How did you decide this program was right for you?
The moment I came to MassArt and toured the school I had a good feeling – a good vibe from Boston and the MassArt campus. I liked the size of the school. After I looked at the Summer Studios curriculum, the drawing and 3D classes struck me as so important because I lacked the fundamentals. I wanted more experience drawing observationally and from the figure.
What was a typical day like in Summer Studios?
I stayed in the dorm so I got close with all the residential students; it was like a family. We’d wake up early and go together for breakfast, then a three-hour class, then lunch, then another class. The minute the class started until the end you are working rigorously trying to get as much stuff done and absorbing it all. It was a very busy day but I didn’t want the days to end. I couldn’t wake up early enough for class. I cried my first day because I was so happy. I remember calling my mom and saying, “Mom, this is where I belong.” I never thought I’d have this type of experience because I only thought rich kids had this experience. MassArt changed this for me.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer?
One of my most memorable moments was in my sculpture class. It had been my first time working with any 3D materials observationally. We had sculpted this figure for a week and Gina, my teacher, came over to me and was in complete disbelief that I had never sculpted a figure before. She said, “You’re a natural. You have such a feel for this. I hope you continue with this…” Gina put it in my head that I could go to MassArt and ended up writing a letter of recommendation for me. Gina gave me that push; someone believed in my work. She was so genuine. She wasn’t favoring me – she was being honest. It ended up leading to me studying sculpture at MassArt as a minor.
What advice do you have for teens looking for a summer program?
Coming into a program like this you need to completely let yourself be free and immerse yourself. Take in as much as you can and ask for help and criticism. You can never have enough contacts in the art world to give their perspectives. It’ll only help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t limit yourself.
Never, ever let money stand in the way of you going for what you want. If you’re thinking of going to an art college, taking a summer program at MassArt will give you the full sense of what it’s like being a college student. I felt so prepared to come to MassArt after that. It also introduces you to what you want to do in the art world. The program touches upon everything you need as a pre-foundation to college.