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Pre-College Summer Studios

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


July 20-August 15, 2020 

Registration and 2020 Brochure will be available December 16, 2019


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 from around the world come together to experience MassArt and the environment of a higher education institution in the visual arts.

The program is ideal for students: 

  • looking to spend the summer immersed in their creative passion
  • developing a portfolio
  • who want to be surrounded by creative artists and striving to develop 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

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

The nature of Summer Studios 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. 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.

Program Information and Cost

2019 Course Rates

  • Tuition: $3,000
  • Residential Option (includes meal plan): $2,700
  • Credit: $540
  • Total non-credit program and residential cost: $5,700
  • Total for-credit program and residential cost: $6,240

2020 course rates will be available in early December. 

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 in your registration form if you would like to request a scholarship. You will be asked to provide family financial information (required) and a letter of support from an art teacher or mentor (recommended, but not required). To be considered for a scholarship, please submit a copy of your most recent tax return with your registration form.

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.

VIEW 2019 Program Brochure

To Apply

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served, and space-available basis.

Applications must include the following:

  • Completed registration and medical form. On the registration form students should list their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices for their elective choice. MassArt cannot guarantee that students will get their first choices.
  • One-page statement of purpose describing why the student wants to attend Summer Studios.
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a faculty or staff member at the student's high school. The other letter may be from any unrelated adult who is willing and able to speak of the applicant's maturity and readiness to participate in Summer Studios.
  • Portfolio if applying for credit
  • A $100 non-refundable deposit must be sent upon confirmation of class placement
  • $200 non-refundable housing deposit (if applicable) 

Email, mail, or fax registration form to: 

Youth Programs
Professional and Continuing Education
Massachusetts College of Art and Design 
621 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
T: 617.879.7174 • F: 617.879.7171

Application for Credit

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

  • Portfolio
    Submit 6-8 pieces of your strongest work, including 2 drawings from observation. (not from a photograph). Portfolio must include one drawing from observation of a box in the medium of the student's choice on 18" x 24" paper. 
  • Portfolio Description List
    All portfolios must be accompanied by a printed description list. Label each image with a number that corresponds to the description list. Each description should include dimensions, media, and date completed.

Portfolio submission information

  • Formats
    Portfolios may be submitted in digital formats. All CD-R, and DVD disks must be clearly labeled with your full name. Do not send original work, or your only copy of reproduced material, as the college cannot be responsible for its safety.
  • Digital Still Images
    Images should be saved in JPEG format, with files named to correspond to the portfolio description list. Test your media before sending it in.
  • Deadline
    The deadline to submit an application for credit-bearing sections is March 20, 2020.

Portfolios can be submitted via email or shared through Google drive with Applications for credit will not be considered until all requirements are submitted.

Residential Option

For those who wish to experience summer in the city, MassArt offers accommodations in one of its comfortable air-conditioned residence halls. Residences feature shared studio space, quiet study areas, and 24-hour security. Students participate in evening and weekend activities with other students living and learning at the college. Resident assistants act as student mentors and supervise studio, evening, and weekend activities.

Residential Regulations

MassArt is committed to ensuring the quality of experience and safety of all students. Students residing at MassArt must follow the student code of conduct and program regulations, which are strictly enforced. There is a 10:00pm curfew Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00pm curfew Friday and Saturday for all resident Summer Studios participants.

Students may sign out during non-program hours to explore all that Boston has to offer, but must sign out with at least one other student enrolled in the program. Students must inform the residential assistants of their intended destination and observe curfew rules.

Please note: students choosing to reside on campus move in on Sunday, July 19.

Contact: • 617.879.7170

Class Descriptions

Required Classes

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. 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 materials, such as clay, wire and cardboard, students consider proportion and scale as well as composition and space. Working from observation with one material, or working abstractly with another, students gain facility in constructing forms.

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.


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.

The Figure
Explore traditional and innovative ways to render the human figure in two and three dimensions. A variety of media and styles are presented. In both two and three dimensions, students will work from the live model to study gesture, proportion and scale, and to develop an eye for seeing the figure in space. Visits to galleries and local museums will expose students to a wide range of figurative work.

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, creation and production. This course is not computer-based.

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.

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

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.