Art Summer Programs and Camps for High School Students

Introductory Information about Art Summer Programs

An art summer program for high school studentsThere are a variety of summer programs for students who have an interest in visual art and design. Summer art programs can enable students to enhance their artistic skills, work with art instructors, demonstrate their creativity, explore different types of art, meet peers with a similar interest, and share their art pieces.
Some art programs provide students with a chance to work with multiple areas within art such as drawing, sculpture, painting, photography, graphics, and more. Other summer art programs may have a focus on one area within art and this can enable students to explore that area at an in-depth level.
This page of the directory includes relevant information about summer art programs and this is followed by descriptions and listings of specific pre-college art programs that are available for high school students.
In addition to the information on this page, students may also be interested in the following pages of the directory:

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.

Art student at a pre-college summer art program for high school studentsSome 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.

Some art pre-college programs have a residential component, which enables students to stay on the campus and get a preview of living in a college setting. In addition, art pre-college summer programs can help students make an informed decision about the type of college experience that would be the most beneficial for them.


Developing Art Pieces and Portfolios During the Summer

Summer art program for high school students on a college campusMany 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.

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.

Featured Art Summer Programs for High School Students


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


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 for high school students

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

UCLA art summer program for high school students

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

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