Pre-College Summer Studios is an intensive four-week program for the high school artist entering grades 11–12. With the opportunity to earn three college credits, students preview and experience a condensed version of a Freshman Foundation year by attending foundation classes and an elective as they prepare for higher education.

Students take three required foundation classes and one elective, and are able to see the development of their work over the program. In addition, the program offers a number of special events, and students participate in a closing exhibition of their work.

Summer Studios core courses focus on the basic skills and ideas that are essential to the serious pursuit and study of art.

2D Fundamentals
2D core skills are rooted in and extend from observational drawing. Through observational studies students will explore ways to accurately represent forms in space. Composition, scale, line, and value will be addressed. Students will work from the figure to explore gesture and proportion. Using the elements of line and value students will develop their toolbox of skills in order to visually communicate their ideas in two dimensions.

3D Fundamentals
This class addresses materials, methods, and craft in three dimensional work. Using several very different materials, i.e. clay, wire and cardboard, students consider proportion and scale as well as composition. Working from observation with one material, or working abstractly with another, students will gain facilty in constructing forms. There will also be an emphasis on the figure as an important source for exploring the relationship of objects and figures in space. The 3D Core skills will address methods, materials and craft. 

Issues and Images
What is art? Why do we look at art and make art? What is the role of the artist in society? This class emphasizes critical analysis of art in terms of context, content, artists' intent, and social and personal significance. Students will gain more familiarity with artists and the meaning, impact and interpretation of artwork through research and discussion of a broad range of contemporary and historical work. Students will develop a fluency with the language of art as they discuss the content of other artists work as well as their own work.


All students attend one elective that begins at the end of the third week and meets daily during the fourth week of the program. No previous experience is necessary for the elective. The elective will introduce students to the techniques of the medium and the historical context of the field.

Graphic Design
Designers are creative problem solvers. They must possess a thorough understanding of the principles of visual vocabulary and learn to be comfortable expressing their ideas visually. This course introduces basic skills and concepts fundamental to graphic designers, including process, conceptual thinking, making and production. This course is not computer based.

Painting from Observation
An introduction to painting from observation, students work from the live model as well as the observed environment. Students build their painting and observational skills through a variety of exercises, ranging from quick gestural studies to longer studies. Some class time is spent looking at old masters as well as contemporary artists for examples and inspiration.

Fashion Design
This class focuses on fashion illustration with a concentration in garment construction. Students learn the importance of basic fashion illustration in the industry, with the goal of learning to think with a pencil as a habit of mind. Students develop skills in pattern making, fabric selection, draping and garment construction. The final project is the creation of a piece to be exhibited at the conclusion of the program.

Jewelry and Metalsmithing
Students practice basic jewelry making andmetalsmithing techniques. Students learn the technical skills of sawing, filing, soldering,annealing and forming metal into ornamentaland wearable art. Throughout the course, students will learn setting techniques for stones and found objects and be introduced to basic chain making. Contemporary artists andpractices will be a source for inspiration to encourage students to combine metalsmithing methods with personal voice through 3-dproblem solving assignments.

Developing skills in fine art photography, studentswork in black and white with traditional 35mm film cameras. Students become familiar with darkroom processes and materials and learn the basics of exposure, film speed, aperture, shutterspeed and depth of field. Composition and perspective are a focus of this class as students consider the formal elements of their work and what that communicates to the viewer.

This course stresses basic drawing techniques using graphite, colored pencil, pen and ink. Emphasis is on creating a narrative and developing skills to interpret the narrative. Students study and research the history of illustration to contextualize their own pursuits.


The nature of this program is that of a rigorous art school. Attendance is mandatory in each studio. Students are expected to complete homework assignments and engage in individual and group critiques. Students have the option of living on campus or attending as day students.

Summer Studios offers the option of taking the program for credit (learn how to apply for credit). Students interested in this option will have to apply by submitting a portfolio. Students who are accepted and successfully complete the program receive three college credits from MassArt, which can be used towards MassArt studio elective credits if the student enrolls at MassArt in the future. Credits may also be accepted at a student's high school at the discretion of the school.


Admission Lunches
Wednesday lunches with admission councillors are meant to demystify the college application process. Topics discussed:
-How to apply to art school
-Writing a college essay and the interview process
-How to build a portfolio

Students participate in critiques of workaccomplished in the program. Reviews takeplace with fellow students and faculty as well as visiting artists and representatives from the Admissions office.

Portfolio Reviews with Admissions
Students are welcome to set up appointments with members of the Admissions staff to review their portfolio. This is an opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with an admissions councillor who can offer advice for strengthening one’s portfolio.

Student Exhibition
An exhibition of selected student artwork from the Fundamentals classes will be open to the public during the last week of Summer Studios.Artwork from Elective Studios will be included in the exhibition at the conclusion of the last week.Family and friends are invited to attend theSummer Studios final exhibition and closingreception on Saturday, August 19th from 12:00–1:00pm.

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