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Portfolio Development

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all MassArt Youth Programs will be offered virtually through Summer 2021.


March 5-May 14, 2021
No class April 2nd and April 19th-23rd

Registration for the Spring 2021 session is now closed.



For students in Grades 9-12, the Portfolio Development program offers insight into building a portfolio and the art school admissions process. These studios are meant to help students increase both the inventive and expressive portions of their artistic portfolio while focusing on observational skills and elements of design. A variety of courses are offered ranging from observational drawing to visual thinking. Students may participate in more than one course.


This two-day course in mid-January offers high school students (Grades 9-12) a unique opportunity to dive deeply into their creative process in the MassArt community of makers. Strengthen both observational drawing skills and cultivate a personal point of view. This studio gives students the platform to explore artistic ideas while developing strong fundamental elements essential for their portfolio. Composition, line, balance, pattern, space and movement are all elements that will be explored through both exercises and personal imagery. Students attend both days of the workshop.


MassArt Youth Programs will be offered virtually through Summer 2021. To participate, students will need access to a computer, laptop, or smartphone with video/camera capabilities, and a reliable internet connection. 

Online studio offerings include:

  • Live presentations from faculty and check-ins each class

  • 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 Zoom and Google Classroom. Zoom will be used for virtual meetings, and Google Classroom will be used to organize assignments and other class content. More information will be provided in your Orientation Packet.


Spring 2021 Program Fee: $580 per class (A $100 non-refundable deposit is included in the program fee)

Winter Portfolio Prep Workshop Fee: $180

Materials and supplies not included in the program fee and are purchased by the participant.


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. Please indicate on your registration form if you would like to request a scholarship. To be considered, you will be asked to provide family financial information on the registration form (required).

Cancellation Policy

Full program cost, less the deposit, will be refunded if the request to drop is received in writing to the email one week 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.




Participants may sign up for more than one class.

Visual Thinking | Mondays, 4:30-7:30 PM
This studio gives students the platform to explore their artistic ideas while developing strong fundamental elements essential for one’s portfolio. Composition, line, balance, pattern, space and movement are all elements that will be explored through both exercises and personal imagery.  

Comic Book Art | Mondays, 4:30-7:30 PM

This studio class focuses on the art of sequential artmaking. Learn to translate sketches into clear, dynamic narratives and comics. Focus on story structure and style, and find your own voice in the ever-changing world of narrative art. Composition and the dynamic energy of words with lines will all be considered as artists communicate their stories.

Drawing From the Figure | Mondays, 4:30-7:30 PM

This class will be an introduction to drawing the human figure using a variety of art materials, techniques, and artistic approaches. The purpose of this course is to help students obtain the basic skill of drawing the human figure, including anatomy.  Observe the human form through exercises in gesture, contour, outline, and tonal modeling. (If live models are being used they will be clothed.)

Artist Books | Tuesdays, 4:30-7:30 PM

This course will explore artist books as a means to communicate ideas. Students will make accordion fold books: Pop-Up constructions, Origami books, Star books, Flag books, and Tunnel books. They will create several personal projects for their portfolios using these techniques. Artists build a narrative sequence, integrate text and image, develop a collapsible diorama, and unify opposing ideas. The students are challenged to make art in two- and three-dimensions as they experiment with new techniques and expand storytelling abilities.

Observational Drawing | Wednesdays, 4:30-7:30 PM
This course offers high school students a unique opportunity to strengthen observational drawing skills and cultivate a personal point of view. Students explore traditional and innovative ways of rendering the observed world through a variety of styles and media.

Painting Fundamentals | Wednesdays, 4:30-7:30 PM
This class seeks to prioritize artistic perspective within a technical and contextual lens of observational painting. Basic painting fundamental skills will be developed as well as personal voice and expression. Value, hue, temperature, form, space and mark will be investigated while classical and contemporary paintings are studied and analyzed. Students' idea of observation will be pushed as their role as artists is challenged. Students will leave class with portfolio pieces on color theory as well as experimentation and narrative.

Color Dynamics + Experimentation | Wednesdays, 4:30-7:30 PM
Through practice, experimentation, and discussion, students think more critically about how their color choices affect the visual impact of their work. Mostly within the context of 2-dimensional problem solving, students use a variety of mediums (gouache, collage, pastels, or color pencils) to explore color relationships using both abstract and observational approaches. This course introduces students to basic color theory using elements and principles of design that are fundamental to all fields of visual art.

Architecture + Design | Thursdays, 4:30-7:30 PM

This course is an introduction to creating and perceiving spaces. Students will learn the fundamentals of architectural design through drafting, sketching, and model making exercises. Students will develop critical skills through observation and discussions of architectural examples. Basic relationships between space and form in architecture will encourage students to analyze how building design decisions can alter the built environment. Students will learn to verbally and visually communicate architectural ideas through drawing as note taking, an important practice for visual learners.

Fashion Design  | Fridays, 4:30-7:30
Explore the possibilities of fashion design and build your portfolio in this fun, virtual classroom environment. Meet other creatives as you design and illustrate a mini collection and create at least one of your designs. We will discuss fashion terminology, types of fabrics and contemporary fashion history.  Learn technical skills including sewing, pattern making and textile manipulation techniques to create shape and style. Students will have the option to reconstruct found garments or start from scratch to make a new garment. Receive feedback about your work during critiques to develop your critical thinking process and concept development.