Ten Visual Arts Summer Programs that ArtsBridge Loves

Published January 2015 (updated summer listing is here)

Here’s what we tell our consulting clients: Don’t leave summer 2015 a blank spot on your resume, spend it doing something productive. If you’re a visual artist, you should consider spending the months off from school at a summer program that helps beef up your portfolio.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

This list of ten programs is not exhaustive, but these are the programs that our visual artist clients have recommended over and over. Many of these programs offer college credit upon completion, which is a nice head-start towards your degree.

Here are ten visual arts summer programs our clients love:

Interlochen— is located in northwest Michigan. It’s a year round school with an excellent summer program. Students study painting, drawing, and even work with precious metals. Interlochen offers a college portfolio institute that our clients have found useful. Find out more here.

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) — Located in Baltimore, Maryland on MICA campus. “Collaborate with MICA expert faculty, visit working professionals, earn college credit, learn how to put together an application portfolio that stands out, and dramatically expand your creative skills.” Find out more here.

MICA also runs a popular summer program in Tuscany, which sounds amazing. Find out more here.

Mill Street Loft Arts — Mill Street Loft Arts offers a program for pre-college on Vassar’s campus in Poughkeepsie and one section — in July— has a residential component.  Mill Street ends the program with a very popular college fair where many art colleges come and review portfolios. Find out more here.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) — A four-week, college-level art-making experience in the nation’s first and premier school of fine art. Offers “rigorous courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and illustration taught by PAFA’s exceptional faculty of practicing artists.” Field trips to museums in Philly, New York and D.C. Find out more here.

Otis Summer of Art — Located in Los Angeles, Summer of Art “this intensive, four-week, pre-college program is for individuals 15 and older who wish to study at one of the top art and design colleges in the country. Serious young artists seeking to strengthen and enhance their art and design skills, as well as students with limited art training, are invited to participate.” Find out more here.

Pratt Institute Summer programs— Held on the Brooklyn campus, high school students “are immersed in a program of art, design, architecture, or creative writing, modeled after Pratt’s undergraduate offerings.” The Pre-College program is an immersion program, meaning students carry a full schedule Monday–Friday, and weekend events are mandatory. Find out more here.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) — On the Providence, RI campus. The six-week summer residential offers high school students a comprehensive introduction to the college art school experience. Students follow a college-level studio curriculum and live in RISD residence halls. Find out more here.

School of Visual Arts in New York—“The Pre-College Summer Program mimics a fast-paced foundation year experience in the New York art scene. Pre-College students are immersed in their chosen field of study through lectures on art history, theory and the use of media and material.” Meets during the day for three weeks in July, and includes chaperoned trips all around New York. Find out more here.

School of the Museum of Fine Arts — Student live on the campus of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. “Students from a variety of backgrounds and countries spend four weeks utilizing the studios, working with expert faculty and graduate mentors, building their portfolios, exploring the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston’s cultural and historic landmarks.” Find out more here.

San Francisco Art Institute — A great program to help build your college portfolio. “Takes place on SFAI’s legendary campus in the heart of San Francisco—inspiring views of the Bay, a monumental Diego Rivera fresco, and a constant rotation of visiting artists are all part of everyday life here.” Find out more here.

Like we said before, this list of visual arts summer programs is not exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start your research. Wherever you decide to apply, hustle up, deadlines are coming soon!

Applying to college in the visual arts? Get in touch with ArtsBridge if you need help with your application. 


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