9 Art and Design Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Diverse group of young people chatting in college library

9 Art and Design Programs for High School Students

Exploring the world of art and design can be an exciting journey for high school students. If you have a passion for creativity and are looking to enhance your skills, consider these 9 Art and Design Programs specifically tailored for high school students. These programs offer a range of opportunities, from honing your artistic talents to exploring various design disciplines.

Whether you’re interested in traditional art forms or cutting-edge digital design, there’s something for everyone. This guide will provide you with essential information about each of the 9 art and design programs, helping any high school student make an informed decision about where to take their artistic journey next. Get ready to dive into a world where your creativity can truly flourish!

1. Cow House Studios: Art On The Farm

  • Location: Cow House Studios, Wexford, Ireland.
  • Cost: €6,700
  • Program Dates: June 27, 2024- July 24, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Early Admission: December 17, 2023; Standard Enrollment: February 25, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students aged 15 to 17 years.

“Art on the Farm” is a summer art program in Ireland for high school students. You learn drawing, painting, and photography from professional artists for 28 days. The program is good for all skill levels, and you’ll make art for your college portfolio. The classes include experimenting with different art styles and materials.

Art student with art professor checking students work

In the program, you’ll do workshops, learn about art, and talk about your work in group and one-on-one sessions. This helps you get better at making and understanding art. For the first two weeks, you’ll do a lot of practicing in your chosen art area and visit cities for ideas. The last two weeks are for your own art project, where you pick what to make and get help from an artist.

2. Parsons School of Design: Summer Intensive Studies

  • Location: Parsons’ NYC Greenwich Village Campus.
  • Cost: $5,145
  • Program Dates: Session 1: June 10–28, 2024; Session 2: July 8–26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Session 1: May 15, 2024; Session 2: June 8, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students aged 16 to 18 years.

Parsons offers a three-week, three-credit intensive art and design program in New York City, designed for high school students preparing for college. You’ll learn from world-class faculty through immersive courses that include project-based learning, field trips, guest speakers, and portfolio reviews. This program helps you gain a deeper understanding of various art and design fields, builds your technical and creative skills, prepares you for college art programs, and lets you earn three college credits.

The program is open to students aged 16-18 and offers a range of courses like Animation Studio, Architectural Design, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, and Photography, among others. Learning involves hands-on projects and guidance from Parsons’ renowned faculty in small class settings, fostering community and skill development. This experience in the heart of New York City is a great opportunity to explore your passion for art and design in a dynamic and inspiring environment.

3. Pratt Institute: Summer Pre-College

  • Location: Pratt’s Brooklyn Campus.
  • Cost: $4,613 ($50 application fee)
  • Program Dates: July 8- August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Priority Application Deadline: March 1, 2024; Application Deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students aged 16 to 18 years.

The Pratt Pre-College Summer Program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, is a four-week intensive course focused on art and design. This program introduces you to various art disciplines through two studio courses taught using Pratt’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. You’ll learn from Pratt faculty, gain an insight into the majors offered at Pratt, and earn elective college credits. The program ends with a Final Exhibition, where you can display your work to family, friends, and the Pratt community.

If you stay on campus, your experience includes extra academic and cultural activities, like studio hours with Pratt students as mentors, museum trips, and portfolio development sessions. Commuter students can join studio hours but may need to work at home, too. This program is a great chance to build your portfolio for college applications in art, design, or architecture.

4. Rhode Island School of Design: Summer Pre-College

  • Location: RISD Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Cost: Residential Program: $11,350; Commuter Program: $8,715 ( $60 application fee)
  • Program Dates: June 29–August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 8, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students aged 16 to 18 years

RISD Pre-College gives high school juniors and seniors a taste of life as a RISD undergraduate. In this five-week program, you’ll engage in a college-level curriculum, including day-long studio classes, critiques, and projects. Living like a RISD student, you’ll have access to top-notch resources and instructors who help you strengthen your portfolio and approach art and design in new ways.

Top view shot of group of creative designers discuss the color palette during meeting. Creative team brainstorming around table.

The program focuses on Experimental and Foundation Studies, a key part of RISD’s undergraduate education. These courses push you to take risks and think beyond your initial ideas. Your week will include two seven-hour days of Foundation Studies, two full days of Major-specific work, and a half-day of Critical Studies in Art. RISD’s approach encourages students to develop their own creative processes, emphasizing questioning to create.

5. Savannah College of Art and Design Summer Seminars

  • Location: Atlanta & Savannah, Georgia.
  • Cost: Residential Program: $1,820; Commuter Program: $1,508 ( $100 application fee)
  • Program Dates: Unspecified
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified; Scholarship deadline: April 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Current high school first-year, sophomore, and junior students.

SCAD Summer Seminars are designed for high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, offering a chance to explore art and design through hands-on projects and creative assignments. As a participant, you’ll attend workshops led by SCAD professors, alumni, or select graduate students, benefitting from small class sizes that ensure individual attention. The seminars also include access to the university’s resources and libraries, with activities like demonstrations, lectures, studio work, and local field trips. Plus, you’ll get to experience student life at SCAD with organized social and cultural activities.

The program is offered in two locations. In Atlanta, you’ll immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant mix of business, art, and culture, combining workshops from different disciplines. This gives you a feel for SCAD’s diverse environment in a major American city. In Savannah, the workshops take place in various SCAD buildings across the historic city, offering a unique experience in one of the U.S.’s most historic urban settings.

6. Tufts University: SMFA Studio Art Intensive

  • Location: Tufts University Medford / Somerville Campus; Boston Fine Arts Campus
  • Cost: Residential Program: $6,750; Commuter Program: $5,000
  • Program Dates: July 7 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Entering grades 10-12 or a Spring 2024 high school graduate.

Tufts University hosts a summer art program that combines academic rigor with practical experience, focusing on a well-rounded approach to art education. This program is distinguished by its interdisciplinary curriculum and direct ties to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The program emphasizes SMFA at Tufts’ unique approach to art, pushing you to develop conceptually rich artwork while exploring different materials and deepening your understanding of the art-making process.

Throughout the program, you’ll engage in foundation classes that cross traditional discipline boundaries. These classes are led by skilled artists and educators, focusing on improving technical abilities in drawing, painting, sculpture, and animation. This helps you create a diverse and thoughtful art portfolio. The program includes group critiques, field trips to local museums and galleries, and a critical studies class. These activities enhance your ability to analyze and contextualize art, encouraging thoughtful consideration of the role and meaning of art-making in the real world.

7. Interlochen Center for the Arts: Summer Arts Camp

  • Location: Interlochen, Michigan.
  • Cost: 1 week (Intensive): $1,830; 3-week session: $6,765; 6-week session: $10,080 ($65 application fee)
  • Program Dates: 1 week (Intensive): June 15 – June 21, 2024; 3-week session: June 23 – July 13, 2024 & July 14 – Aug. 4, 2024; 6-week session: June 23 – Aug. 4, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Priority deadline: January 15, 2024, Rolling Admissions
  • Eligibility: 1 week (Intensive): Grades 9-12; 3-week session: Grades 6-12; 6-week session: Grades 3-12.

Interlochen Summer Arts Camp is a renowned destination for young artists from around the world, offering programs in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film, and creative writing. The camp’s exceptional facilities and natural surroundings provide an ideal environment for students of all ages and skill levels to develop their artistic talents. More than just training, Interlochen fosters a close-knit community where students step out of their comfort zones, form lasting friendships, and grow personally and artistically.

At Interlochen, students receive not just skill development but holistic growth. The camp’s supportive atmosphere encourages creative expression and interdisciplinary learning. Students work with world-class faculty who are both accomplished artists and passionate educators. Interlochen’s diverse programs cater to a range of artistic interests, from music and theatre to visual arts and writing, making it a comprehensive hub for artistic development and expression.

8. UCLA Summer Art Institute

  • Location:  UCLA Department of Art/ Virtual
  • Cost: $4,624
  • Program Dates: Session A (Virtual):  June 24, 2024 – July 6, 2024; Session B (In-person/Mandatory Housing): July 7, 2024 – July 20, 2024; Session C (In-person/Commuter): July 22, 2024 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: June 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: 9th-12th grade students.

The UCLA Summer Art Institute, housed within UCLA’s Department of Art, offers high school students a unique opportunity to develop their artistic talents. The program includes three sessions, two in-person and one online, each featuring various specializations like Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Video Art, Experimental Animation, and Writing for Artists. Designed for dedicated and driven students, the institute focuses on intensive studio work, artist lectures, group critiques, and personalized faculty guidance.

The institute’s mission is to immerse talented high school students in a world-class educational environment, emphasizing skill enhancement and creative exploration. It aims to create an experimental space where students can draw from multiple disciplines, expanding their artistic perspectives and unlocking their creative potential. Along with diverse courses and professional art training, students benefit from interactions with distinguished faculty and a holistic educational approach. This includes hands-on projects, performances, field visits, and guest lectures, providing a comprehensive and enriching artistic experience.

9. Walnut Hill School for the Arts: Intensive Arts Program

  • Location: Natick, Massachusetts.
  • Cost: Tuition: $2,700 (voice, string quartet, and fashion); $4,000 (chamber music for global young musicians); $8,000 (theater)
  • Program Dates: June 24–28, 2024 (voice, and string quartet); June 22–JULY 21, 2024 (theater); July 14–27, 2024 (chamber music for global young musicians); July 15–19, 2024 (fashion)
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024 (voice); February 2, 2024 (string quartet and chamber music for global young musicians); March 15, 2024 (theater);  April 1, 2024 (fashion)
  • Eligibility: Students aged 11 to 18 years.

Walnut Hill School for the Arts is a high school in Massachusetts that specializes in art. It offers programs in dance, music, theater, visual arts, writing, and film for students in grades 9-12. Along with their art classes, students also take regular academic courses. The school focuses on helping students become better artists by teaching them to observe, analyze, and understand deeply.

a student playing violin

During the summer, Walnut Hill has special programs for students interested in arts. These include a voice program for young singers, a string quartet program for advanced musicians, and a theater program where students act in plays and musicals. There’s also a fashion program where students design and make their own clothes, and a music program for non-English speaking students to learn English and practice music. Students in these programs can stay at the school and visit places in Boston on the weekends.

Final Thoughts

These 9 Art and Design Programs for high school students offer a range of opportunities to explore and develop artistic skills. Each program provides unique experiences, from immersive studio work and expert mentorship at schools like Pratt and RISD, to the diverse and interdisciplinary approaches at SCAD and UCLA. These programs cater to various interests, whether it’s fashion, theater, music, visual arts, or design.

Participating in any of the 9 Art and Design Programs not only enhances technical abilities but also nurtures creativity and personal growth for any high school student. They’re great for students looking to expand their artistic horizons, build impressive portfolios, and experience life as an art student. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, these programs offer valuable experiences to help shape your artistic journey.


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