Art Summer Programs and Camps for High School Students
Introductory Information about Art Summer Programs
Pre-College Summer Art Programs
There are colleges and universities that offer pre-college art summer programs for high school students. These programs enable students to enhance their art skills, learn about cutting-edge techniques, utilize art resources on the campus, and interact with professors and professionals in the field of art. In addition, pre-college summer art programs provide students with the opportunity to learn about college life and explore majors and programs of study in a higher education setting.
Some pre-college experiences are hosted and sponsored by colleges of art and design. These programs provide an opportunity for students to learn about the type of education that is offered at a college that specializes in the field of art. The pre-college programs also typically enable high school students to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be an art student in a college environment and they get a feel for the types of opportunities that are offered at a college of art and design.
Students can also typically utilize the art resources at the college and work with faculty members and/or professional artists to improve their skills. The knowledge, skills, resources, and feedback that may come from a summer art program can serve to help a student generate creative pieces for a portfolio. The portfolio can often be utilized as a part of a college application to an art college or program.
Developing Art Pieces and Portfolios During the Summer
Many summer art programs provide high school students with the chance to develop their own pieces for an art portfolio. Summer programs often provide opportunities for students to work on their own art pieces, apply their learning from the program, and receive valuable guidance and feedback from instructors.
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Students can also typically utilize the art resources at the college and work with faculty members and / or professional artists to improve their skills. The knowledge, skills, resources and feedback that may come from a summer art program can serve to help a student generate creative pieces for a portfolio. The portfolio can often be utilized as a part of a college application to an art college or program.
Using the Directory of Summer Programs
Featured Art Summer Programs for High School Students
Cleveland Institute of Art
Cleveland Institute of Art Pre-College Summer Program – Cleveland, Ohio
CIA offers an engaging summer art program designed for students who have an interest in art, design, and creativity. The pre-college experience enables high school students to immerse themselves in creative ideas and feel what it is like to be at a higher education institution that specializes in the arts.
The summer program has a wide variety of pre-college art courses and students can select one to focus on for a two-week session. Students also have the option of staying for both sessions of the pre-college experience and concentrating on one area during each session. The high-interest art courses include topics such as sculpture, graphic design, painting, ceramics, and many more (including digital art courses).
The pre-college experience features studio-based courses that are interactive and involve experiential learning that give students the opportunity to enhance their art skills. Through the program, students learn new techniques, explore an area of interest, receive feedback from experienced instructors, and have the opportunity to work on their own artistic pieces. Students can also work on their own portfolio of work while they participate in the program.
The unique pre-college program provides the opportunity for students to stay in Cleveland in a college-run residence hall during the program. There is also a flexible option to commute from home during the sessions. There is an application for the program and students can apply for a limited amount of scholarship aid by submitting the required material by the priority date.
Participants: High school students who will be entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade after the summer.
Learn more: CIA Pre-College Summer Art Program
Carnegie Mellon University Pre-College Summer Art Program – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
CMU offers an intensive and exciting art pre-college program for high school students. The program covers many aspects of the fine arts and provides a chance for students to enhance their artistic skills. Through the program, participants get a feel for what it is like to study art in a higher education setting, gain experience on a college campus, and learn to utilize advanced-level art skills.
The program has a three-week session as well as a six-week session. High school students have the opportunity to learn from experienced art instructors and explore topics such as photography, animation, drawing, sculpture, and more. Participants take courses that focus on building skills in significant areas of art. They also have ample time to work in a studio setting in order to quickly apply new techniques. Additionally, students take part in engaging weekly workshops that cover interesting, timely, and beneficial topics in the fine arts.
During the program, students work with instructors and collaborate with their peers. The classes are kept relatively small, which enables instructors to provide whole class, small group, and individual instruction. Participants can also benefit from receiving valuable feedback from instructors as well as other pre-college students. Additionally, students have the opportunity to meet with a faculty member at the university to go over their art portfolio and discuss the college admission process.
The pre-college program enables high school students to get a preview of what it is like to be an undergraduate art major. Students also have the opportunity to reside in undergraduate dormitories during the program and experience life on a campus. There is an application process for the program and there are some need-based financial scholarships.
Participants: The pre-college program is designed for high school students in tenth and eleventh grade who are least sixteen years of age.
Learn more: CMU Summer Pre-College Art Program
Maine College of Art Summer Pre-College Program – Portland, Maine
MECA offers a summer art pre-college program that enables high school students to develop skills, explore topics of interest, and gain experience learning at a college of art. This program allows students to interact with and learn from instructors and professional artists during the summer.
The summer art program provides high school students with the opportunity to choose two different high-interest topics to learn about an in-depth level. These options include graphic novel drawing, photography, ceramics, fashion, and more. Students also enhance their skills through a figure drawing class. Participants can gain valuable information through the classes and work on their own art pieces to apply the techniques that they are learning.
As a participant in the pre-college art program, high school students get a feel for being a student at a college that specializes in artistic training. The program is set up to give participants a full pre-college experience so that the can preview life as a college undergraduate. In addition, to the learning that takes place during the classes, students can reside on the campus and become familiar with utilizing the resources at the college. The summer art and pre-college experience can help to prepare high school students for post-secondary education after high school has concluded.
There is an application for this program. There is some aid that is based on financial need. Students attending the pre-college are also eligible to develop and display a portfolio that can be evaluated for a merit-based scholarship that can be used to attend MECA as a college student.
Participants: The pre-college program is intended for high school students who will have completed 10th, 11th, or 12th grade by the summer.
Learn more: MECA Summer Art Program
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Summer Pre-College Programs – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
MIAD offers two summer pre-college art opportunities for high school students. The program is designed for students who are interested in enhancing their art skills, learning about life at a college that focuses on the arts, meeting peers with a similar interest, and exploring potential post-secondary educational options.
One of the pre-college summer programs, Core Studio Concepts, is two-weeks in length and is intended support the art of beginning and intermediate artists. This program enables students to explore two areas of interest from a choice of a variety of high-interest art topics. The topics include areas such as photography, drawing, graphic design, and more. Through this program, students learn techniques to enhance their artistic skills and they have the opportunity to apply their learning while they are working on their own art pieces. Feedback is provided by experienced instructors and students have the chance to exhibit the artwork that they create during the program.
Another pre-college summer art program, Advanced Studio Concepts, is three-weeks in length. This program is designed for experienced artists, who are interested in an intensive summer experience that provides a preview of a college-level art program. Students focus on a particular area of interest and go in-depth to learn advanced-level skills and create their own artwork. Students choose from a range of art areas such as fashion, product design, illustration, and more. In this program, students have the chance to work on the development of their portfolio and prepare to apply to art colleges for further study. Additionally, the artwork of the participants is shown in an exhibition towards the end of program.
The pre-college summer programs enable participants to reside in university housing. This can be a useful experience with regard to getting a feel for living in a college environment. The residential model is optional and students who decide to commute do not have a cost associated with residency. There is an application to participate in the pre-college programs and there are some scholarship opportunities available.
Participants: High school students. The Advanced Art Concepts program is intended to be for high school students in the 11th and 12th grades as well as for those who will have just graduated.
Learn more: MIAD Pre-College Art Program
Minneapolis College of Art and Design Summer Pre-College Art Program – Minneapolis, Minnesota
MCAD offers an exciting summer art program that enables high school students to get a feel for what it is like to study a post-secondary college that specializes in art and design. The program provides the opportunity for students to build upon their art skills and learn new techniques to utilize when creating art pieces.
The two-week pre-college art program is designed to foster creativity and growth among young artists. High school students have a chance to work with experienced instructors and gain insight into techniques that can be implemented to enhance their artwork.
During the program, students work on further developing their foundational are abilities and they choose one specialty to focus on. The specialty areas include painting, comic art, graphic design, and animation. The structure of the program allows participants to continue their overall development as artists while also going in-depth in a particular area of interest.
Participating high school students have the opportunity to actively apply their learning by utilizing the resources at the college in studio settings. Students have opportunity work on art pieces throughout the program, collaborate with other young artists, and receive valuable feedback to continue to hone their skills. Participants also have the chance to visit sites in the Minneapolis areas. Additionally, towards the end of the program students have the chance to share their artwork with others in a show-like environment.
The pre-college summer experience provides enables high school students to preview life at a college of art. The program also provides program housing near the campus. Through the program, participants can learn about the college, meet peers from many different locations, and explore post-secondary art education. There is an application for the program and there are potential need-based scholarships.
Participants: High school students who have finished the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.
Learn more: MCAD Art Pre-College Summer Program
Montserrat College of Art Summer Pre-College Program – Beverly, Massachusetts
The summer art program at Monserrat is designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to enhance their art skills and get a preview of what it is like to be a student at an art college. The program runs for three weeks during the summer and students receive intensive art instruction throughout the experience.
The pre-college program at Montessat enables students get a sense of life in a post-secondary at school. During the program, students take classes to develop and build upon their skills in different areas of art. Participants have a choice of two foundation-based classes and they select two electives in areas such as graphic design, painting, photography, and more. The classes are intended to help students develop techniques, apply their learning to their own art pieces, and receive valuable feedback from instructors. Students also have the chance to get know and collaborate with other participants from different locations.
Through the program, students can also prepare to apply to art colleges/programs. Students have a chance to utilize the resource at the college, work on pieces to add a portfolio, and learn about the steps in the admission process for an art college.
This pre-college programs gives students the chance to stay in college-operated houses. This allows students to experience living and learning on a college campus.
There is an application process for this program. Students can also apply for partial scholarships.
Participants: Students who are sixteen years and older.
Learn more: Montserrat Summer Art Program
Otis College of Art and Design Summer Art Program – Los Angeles, California
The summer art program at Otis provides the opportunity for high school students to work on enhancing their art skills in a college environment during the summer. The program is open to experienced artists as well as those who are just beginning to develop their artistic abilities. During the summer program, participating students have a chance to meet others with an interest in the arts and to learn from professional artists and instructors at the college.
Through the summer art program, high school students take part in a foundational drawing course, where they gain experience and practice with significant fundamental techniques. Students also have the opportunity to choose a specialization course from a wide range of areas. These include, but are not limited to, photography, fashion design, printmaking, digital design, animation and more. Through the classes in the program, students can create their own art pieces, which may be used in a portfolio. The program culminates with display of various pieces of artwork that have been produced by participating students.
The program also includes extracurricular activities and the chance to go to different sites in the greater Los Angeles area. There is a residential option as well as well as commuter option for this program.
Participants: Students who are at least fifteen years old.
Learn more: Otis Summer Art Program
Pratt Institute Art Summer Pre-College Program – Brooklyn, New York
The Pratt Institute hosts a summer pre-college program for high school students with strong interest in the arts (including writing). The program is held in Brooklyn and serves to preview the undergraduate experience at the institute. The program provides a variety of opportunities for high school students, which include gaining exposure to a college-level art curriculum, receiving feedback from instructors with strong backgrounds in art fields, and developing pieces for a portfolio.
Through this program, high school students engage in a curriculum that involves foundational courses and focus areas or concentrations. The concentrations for the summer pre-college program include cultural studies, art and design, architecture, and creative writing. Participating students have the opportunity to learn new techniques, work together with peers, enhance their skills, and get a feel for college life.
The program also includes visits to art-related sites in New York as well as social and co-curricular activities. As a result, the program can provide students with a feel for the college environment in the New York city area.
The pre-college program at Pratt is residential. This gives students a chance to gain first-hand experience living and learning on a campus. This can be particularly helpful when students are preparing to apply to colleges. Financial aid and scholarships may be available and students can contact a program representative to inquire about potential options.
Participants: High school students who are ages sixteen through eighteen.
Learn more: Pratt Pre-College Program
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Summer Pre-College Art Program – Providence, Rhode Island
The pre-college summer program at RISD provides upper grade-level high school students with a unique opportunity to get a feel for what it is like to be a student at the college. The summer program enables students to engage in college-level coursework, learn from experienced instructors, and collaborate with motivated peers.
Through the summer art program, high school students have the opportunity to develop their artistic skills, learn new techniques, and work on their own pieces in a studio setting. The program gives aspiring artists the chance to live and learn in a college setting.
During the program, students gain core skills while also being able to enhance their development in specific disciplines of interest. Participants have access to the college’s resources, receive important feedback from instructors, and add pieces to their own art portfolio. Students are encouraged to try to new artistic styles, experiment with new techniques, and reflect on the application of their learning.
Participants: High students who will be going into the 11th or 12th grade.
Learn more: RISD Pre-College Art Summer Program
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Summer Art Institute Program – Los Angeles, California
The Department of Art at UCLA hosts and runs a summer art institute for high school and upper-grade junior high students. The program enables students to come to UCLA’s campus, learn from artists, engage in art activities, and enhance artistic skills.
There are a variety of activities in the program that are designed to provide new artistic experiences, cultivate creativity, and build enthusiasm for the arts. Students have a chance to engage in interesting discussions, hear from professional artists, visit art exhibits, and learn new techniques. Participants have the chance to apply their learning in studio settings, where they can utilize the resources at the university.
The art institute is two weeks in length and there are two sessions held during the summer. The focus areas within the program include photography, sculpture, drawing, painting, and video/performance. Not all of the focus areas are offered during both sessions of the program.
This pre-college summer art program is residential in nature. Participating students can reside in university-run housing during their experience in the program. This can serve to help high school students become more familiar with living on a university campus and meeting the expectations of a college art student.
There is an application process for the program. There are possible scholarships available for California students through UCLA’s Summer Session Office (known as Summer Scholars Support). There is also a sculpture scholarship through the UCLA Department of Art.
Participants: Students who are age fourteen through seventeen during the program and who are in grades eight through twelve.
Learn more: UCLA Summer Art Program
Additional Examples of Summer Art Programs and Pre-College Opportunities
- California College of Art Pre-College Program (learn more on the California summer programs Page page)
- Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Pre-College Art & Design Residency Program (learn more on the Maryland programs page)
- Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) Pre-College Programs (learn more on the Oregon summer programs page)
- Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Pre-College Experience (learn more on the Rhode Island summer programs page)
- Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Pre-College Summer Program (Learn more on the Georgia summer programs page)