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Pre-College Summer Studios

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

All MassArt Youth Programs will be offered virtually through Spring 2022.


summer 2022
To be announced Fall 2021


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 & 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 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.


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.

Program Information and Cost

summer 2022 program fee to be announced fall 2021

Summer 2021 Program Fee:

  • Program Fee (Non-Credit): $3,150
  • Program Fee (For-Credit, if accepted): $3,690 (includes an additional $540 credit fee)

For Summer 2021, a $100 non-refundable deposit is included in the program fee. 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 submit a copy of your most recent tax return (SSNs crossed or blanked out) with your registration form.

Cancellation Policy (Fall 2021)

Students may cancel their registration up to 21 days (three weeks) prior to the start of the program. Notification of cancellation must be received in writing to MassArt Youth Programs requires notification during this time period in order to allow students to enroll from the waiting list. MassArt reserves the right to cancel courses in the event of an insufficient number of registrations. Students will receive a full refund in the event that a course is cancelled for this reason.

Refund Policy (Fall 2021)

Full program fee will be refunded if the request to cancel registration is received in writing to prior to the start of the program. Students who fail to notify MassArt Youth Programs of their registration cancellation prior to the start of the program will not be eligible for a refund.



Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served, and space-available basis. All 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 elective 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
  • A completed online registration form
  • A one-page statement of purpose describing why you want to attend the Pre-College Summer Studios program
  • A $100 non-refundable deposit, included in program fee
Additional For-Credit Application Materials
  • Portfolio
  • Portfolio Description List
  • One letter of recommendation


Students applying for-credit will be enrolled in their elective prior to the application deadline. If accepted, students will then be enrolled in the for-credit section of 2D Fundamentals, 3D Fundamentals, and Issues & Images. Students who are not accepted into the for-credit section will be enrolled in the non credit-bearing section of 2D Fundamentals, 3D Fundamentals, and Issues & Images (unless stated otherwise on the registration form).

Students seeking the for-credit option must also submit the following application materials:

Submit 6-8 photographs of your strongest work, including two drawings from observation (not from a photograph):
  • One observational drawing must be of a box in the medium of your choice on 18" x 24" paper
  • The second observational drawing may be of your choosing
Portfolio Description List

All portfolios must be accompanied by a description list. Label each image with a number that corresponds to the description list. Each description must include dimensions, media, and date completed.

Letter of Recommendation

Students applying for-credit are required to submit one letter of recommendation in order to participate in the program. The letter must be from either a faculty or staff member at the student's high school, or an unrelated adult who is willing and able to speak of the applicant's maturity and readiness to participate in the Pre-College Summer Studios program. 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to upload the recommendation letter to their registration form. However, if doing so will significantly hold up the student's application, the recommendation letter may be submitted via email after the form has been completed. The deadline to submit recommendation letters will be announced Fall 2021.


The deadline to submit an application for the credit-bearing section will be announced 2021. Applications for credit will not be considered until all requirements are submitted.


Portfolio images must be saved as a JPEG or PNG file. Label each file with the student's last name, first initial, and the image number that corresponds to the description list (Example: Pollock_J_Image1).

Portfolio images must be uploaded directly to the registration form as a condensed (.zip) file.

The statement of purpose and portfolio description list must be uploaded directly to the registration form. Students are strongly encouraged to submit the recommendation letter along with the registration form. Please save each document as a Word or PDF document with the student's last name, first initial, and document name included in the file name (Example: Pollock_J_Statement; Pollock_J_DescriptionList; Pollock_J_RecLetter).

Test your media before sending it in.


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.

SUMMER 2021 SESSION (summer 2022 course offerings to be announced fall 2021)

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.

Painting: Color and Form
This course is an introduction to the use of paint as an expressive medium, with a focus on color and form to create imagery on a two-dimensional surface. Students' ideas of observation will be pushed as their role as artists is challenged. In addition to developing painting skills, students will cultivate a personal voice, sense of expression, and visual art vocabulary. Students will meet for studio time as a group each class. Color and form will be investigated while classical and contemporary paintings are studied and analyzed. Students receive feedback from each other and the instructor, and are introduced to historical and contemporary painting styles through presentations and exercises. Acrylic paints will be used for this class to accommodate safety and ventilation issues that most participants will experience working virtually.


Express yourself through animation by telling a story. Students will explore numerous animation techniques, including drawn animation, flip books, paper cutout, clay animation, stop-motion, and more. Students will gain an understanding of film language, editing tools, and sound effects.

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. 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.

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.