Skip to main content

Fall 2020

Read MassArt's plan: Return to Learning & Making

You are here

Pre-College Summer Studios

A Pre-College Studio Art Program for Students Entering Grades 11 & 12

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MassArt has made the decision to move all Summer 2020 Youth Programs online. 

Course availability and FAQs will continue to be updated on an ongoing basis. We appreciate your patience.



July 20-August 15, 2020 

Morning Studios: 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Afternoon Studios: 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Students attend both morning and afternoon studio sessions.

Registration for Pre-College Summer Studios 2020 is closed.



MassArt’s dynamic and engaging Pre-College Summer Studios program is for the young artist who is serious about their work. For students entering grades 11-12, the program is a four-week intensive experience in art making and critical thinking. Students develop the discipline required to achieve excellence in their artistic endeavors and produce work for their portfolios. 

Pre-College students attend three core courses – 2D Fundamentals, 3D Fundamentals, and Issues and Images – to strengthen the foundational skills that students need if they are choosing to pursue higher education in the visual arts. Students also take one elective that begins the third week of the program and meets intensively for the remainder of the program. Working off-campus provides a unique opportunity for developing a personal artistic practice that includes time management and creative problem solving skills.

The nature of the 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.

The program is ideal for students: 

  • Interested in developing a portfolio

  • Seeking to connect with other creative artists 

  • Looking to spend the summer immersed in their creative passion

  • Striving to develop technical skills and critical thinking


"The minute the class started until the end you are working rigorously…I didn’t want the days to end. I couldn’t wake up early enough for class."
- Past Summer Studios Participant

For College Credit*

Pre-College Summer Studios offers the option of taking the program for credit. Students interested in this option apply by submitting a portfolio. Students who are accepted and successfully complete the program receive three college credits from MassArt. Credits can be used toward 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.

*At this time, we are not accepting new applications for credit.



MassArt Youth Programs will be offered virtually in Summer 2020. Online studio offerings will include:

  • Live presentations from faculty and daily check-ins

  • Time for creative art making, both independently and in class

  • Break out sessions in small groups

  • One-on-one and group critiques with faculty

  • Online resources such as virtual museum tours, TED Talks, external demo videos, “visiting” artists, virtual collaborations, etc.

Every studio will utilize Google Classroom and Zoom. Zoom will be used for the virtual meetings, and Google Classroom will be where the assignments are posted, and other class content will live. 


Program Information and Cost

  • Tuition: $3,060
  • Additional fee for credit (if accepted): $540

Prices have been reduced as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A $100 non-refundable deposit must be sent upon enrollment confirmation (emailed 2-3 weeks after submitting a registration form).

Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served and space available basis. Submission of a registration form does not guarantee enrollment in a class. If you submit a registration form and your preferred classes are full, you will be placed on the waiting list and notified as soon as possible if a space becomes available.

Scholarships are based on financial need and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To request a scholarship for Summer 2020, please email us at by May 30th with the following information: Student first and last name, program, a copy of your most recent tax return (SSNs removed), and a short statement about why you are requesting financial assistance. Due to limited availability, we are unable to accept new scholarship requests after May 30th.

Cancellation Policy
Full program cost, less the deposit, will be refunded if the request to drop is received in writing to the email one month prior to the start of the program. If the request to cancel is received after this date, you will be responsible for the balance due. MassArt reserves the right to cancel courses in the event of an insufficient number of registrations. You will receive a full refund in the event that a course is cancelled for this reason.




Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served, and space-available basis. Accepted students will be enrolled in 2D Fundamentals, 3D Fundamentals, Issues & Images, and one elective course (course descriptions below). 

When selecting an elective on the registration form, please select one choice only. If your preferred class is full, you will have the option to select a different class or be placed on the waiting list.* If all classes are full, we will not be able to offer you a spot in the program at this time. You will be placed on the waiting list and notified as soon as possible if a space becomes available.

*Please note that you must be enrolled in an elective in order to be registered for a program. Signing up for the waiting list does not indicate enrollment. 

Required Materials (Updated APRIL 2020)
  • Completed online registration form
  • One-page statement of purpose describing why the student wants to attend the Pre-College Summer Studios program (uploaded on your registration form)
  • A $100 non-refundable deposit, sent upon confirmation of enrollment


Application for Credit

The deadline to submit applications for credit was March 20, 2020. At this time, we are no longer accepting new applications for the for-credit section of the program. We are still accepting registrations for the non credit-bearing sections of the program.




Required Classes

Pre-College core courses focus on the skills essential to the serious pursuit and study of art: developing craft, provoking thought, and creating community.

2D Fundamentals
Two Dimensional (2D) core skills are rooted in and extend from observational drawing. Through observational studies students will explore ways to represent forms and objects in space. Composition, scale, line, and value will be addressed. Using the elements of line and value, students will develop their toolbox of skills to visually communicate their ideas. Class periods will include a combination of demonstrations, work time, individual and group discussions, video tutorials, and handouts.
3D Fundamentals
This course will explore the wide range of materials and processes that are fundamental in creating meaningful three dimensional artwork and installations. Students will work on transferring drawings and plans into three-dimensional work as well as learn to work directly on sculptural forms. Some of the materials introduced include cardboard, wire, clay and found objects.
By paying close attention to space, objects and the materials that surround us in our own environments, we will work on developing an individualized exploration of space and how sculpture can emerge from it. Students will be encouraged to work on site-specific three-dimensional work that is personal and meaningful to them. They will also be asked to complete projects on their own and hone in documentation skills so that they can work on building a portfolio.

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. Electives begin at the start of the third week of the program. Electives are designed to introduce students to the techniques of the medium and the historical context of the field.

Fashion Design
Learn how to reinvent your wardrobe! This class will focus on fashion illustration, research and sustainability, and reusing garments to give them a new life. Make something to fit yourself: explore hand sewing techniques and basic pattern making to deconstruct, alter, and combine garments into one-of-a-kind fashion pieces.

The Figure
This course starts with an introduction to the basic structure of the human body: how to measure for proportion, scale, and angle; the use of value to describe form; and the importance of line. 

Live video demonstrations from the instructor and guest artists, as well as an examination of old masters and contemporary artists, introduce students to visual techniques that inform their work. This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the human body, how to more accurately draw it, and how to deepen our appreciation for it.

Graphic Design - FULL
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. Students explore the design process, imagery for the commercial space, lettering design, and techniques for combining these disparate elements. 

Classes will be conducted using live video instruction for lecture and discussion, guided online research, weekly emailed assignment sheets, and one-on-one meetings. This course is not computer-based: coursework will be completed by hand using drawing/drafting skills and shared digitally for critique.

Illustration - FULL
This course will include four focus areas: Narrative, Editorial, Advertising, and Concept Art. For Narrative Illustration, students create a short narrative using a sequence of images. Students learn to develop a character and scene, and how composition, light and shadow are employed to create a mood. For Editorial Illustration, students use conceptual thinking and metaphor in images. For Advertising Illustration, students balance words and images to create an impactful visual message. For Concept Art, students develop original characters and landscapes by transforming the ordinary into the imaginative.

This course consists of presentations, small group critiques, and individual feedback during one-on-one sessions with the instructor. Presentations include an overview of what it means to be an illustrator along with the various markets in which illustrators work. Students will also look at the work of professional and student illustrators as examples of the range of media and styles used in visual communication. Students will be give time each day to work on assignments and are encouraged, but not required, to share their work during the small group critiques.

Painting from Observation
This course is an introduction to the use of paint as an expressive medium. By working from observation, we deepen our ability to perceive the visible world while building technical skills. Students learn to create form, space, and light on a two-dimensional surface, as well to develop the vocabulary necessary to discuss visual art. Students will meet as a group each class to view and discuss student work, receive one-on-one feedback from the instructor, and be introduced to historical and contemporary painting styles through presentations and daily exercises. Students will use acrylic paints for this class to accommodate safety and ventilation issues that most participants will experience working virtually.