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10 Art History Summer Programs for High School Students

If you are a high school student interested in applying to art history courses at university, you should consider a summer program to expand your knowledge and attain practical skills in the field! Art history involves studying visual art from various eras worldwide to comprehend humanity and culture. Through a summer program, you can choose which era and country to learn about while gaining essential hands-on experience in curation and collections. 

Participating in an art history program will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the field, its theoretical nature, and the potential career opportunities it offers. Not to mention, they look great on college applications! Admissions committees also view early exposure favorably as it highlights your passion and motivation toward your chosen field. 

To help you get started, here’s our curated list of 10 art history summer programs tailored for high school students!

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: High school students anywhere in the world

Application Deadline: May 12, 2024 (regular admission II for the summer cohort). You can apply here!

Dates: 12 weeks in spring, summer, fall, or winter. The Summer Cohort 2024 begins on June 3.

Cost: $2,800. Financial aid is available, for which you should indicate your need in your application.

The Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a selective program accepting around 500 students from 4,000 applicants. The program pairs students with a Ph.D. or post-doctoral researcher from a leading university to work on an independent research project, at the end of which students must produce a college-level academic paper. If selected, you will also receive guidance and support from a writing coach (2 sessions) and a Lumiere program manager throughout the program.

The history track (that you can then tailor to an art history project) is a suitable option you can opt for, although the program also provides the choice of customizing your research topic if none of the options match your field of interest. The program will conclude with a graduation ceremony and symposium.

Location: New York City, NY

Eligibility: High school students who are at least 15 years old and are in grades 10-12 and graduating seniors

Application Deadline: Applications usually close in early April, although early decision and financial aid deadlines close in February-March.

Dates: July 7 - July 19, 2024 (session 1) | July 21 - August 2, 2024 (session 2)

Cost: $5,935 (day program) | $7,220 (residential program). Financial aid is limited but available.

Sotheby’s Institute of Art provides its Art History program to high school students who wish to explore global art and architectural masterpieces and how they have influenced the history of art. The course includes lectures, tours of New York City’s museums, site visits, behind-the-scenes access, and guest talks from speakers like art historians, museum curators, artists, scholars, and gallerists.

You will learn about art spanning various eras and geographical areas, such as the Egyptians, pre-Columbian societies, Chinese dynasties, Japanese prints, Islamic art, Impressionist and Modernist movements, and more. Site visits include trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Frick Collection, DIA: Beacon, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Location: Brown University campus, Providence, RI

Eligibility: High school students aged 14-18 years are eligible to apply.

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis till the slots are full.

Dates: July 15 - July 26, 2024 (2 weeks)

Cost: $5,256 (Residential) | $4,076 (Commuter)

This art history course acts as an introduction to the cross-disciplinary analysis that will be required of you in a college setting. During this course, you will learn to formulate and strengthen a fundamental understanding of interdisciplinary art and design history and its vocabulary. You will get to plan and carry out design research through journal entries and writing as opportunities to practice art and design journalism writing.

You’ll have an opportunity to identify design movements and projects not widely known through the agenda of the hidden and suppressed narrative revolving around a gender-based analysis of art and its histories. You’ll also get to apply your investigations within the RISD Museum of Art to view the trends visible throughout art history in the objects, paintings, and media. You will visit special collections to observe women’s historical contributions to the arts and explore the creative processes of individual artists and designers.

Location: Rose Hill Campus, Fordham University, Bronx, NY

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible.

Application Deadline: Applications close in May, but if you also want to apply for housing, you should apply by April.

Dates: July 22 - August 1, 2024

Cost: $2,715 (commuter) | $3,665 (residential)

Fordham University’s New York Exploration of Art History Program offers an introduction to the field of art history through the museums and art galleries of New York. The program takes you through art from all over the world, such as Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa, providing an understanding of why people produce, collect, and treasure paintings, buildings, and sculptures.

You will attend classes in The Met as well as other New York museums and develop your visual literacy and understanding of art, artists, and the periods in which they worked. You will also develop vital skills in practicing art history, such as looking and observing, writing, and research. To this end, writing workshops and activities are also included in this program. Only 20 students are accepted into this program.

Location: Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April.

Dates: June 21 - July 19, 2024

Cost: Free. All accepted students receive full scholarships covering tuition, room and board, field trips, books, and other program-related expenses.

The Art History and Curatorial Studies Early College Program at Spelman College is designed for students interested in art and visual culture, museums, curation, and public response to art. The program includes lectures, workshops, discussions, and site visits in and around Atlanta, resulting in a holistic learning experience. If selected, you will further participate in projects you should complete by the end of the program.

You will study and complete the Ways of Seeing: Art History, Curating, and Museums course throughout this program, earning 3 undergraduate credits. Students will focus on the study of African American and Western art as part of this course, examining museums, archives, and libraries. You will also learn about curation, audience engagement, and diversity in art. You will receive a transcript from the college once you complete the program.

Location: Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to apply.

Application Deadline: Applications are closed for summer 2024 and will reopen in winter 2024-25 for summer 2025.

Dates: June 30 - July 19, 2024 (session 1) | July 22 - August 10, 2024 (session 2)

Cost: $7,772 (commuter) | $9,687 (residential). Need-based financial aid is available for domestic students.

The Art, Movement, and Performance track of Barnard College’s Pre-College Program allows students to choose between art history, visual arts, and dance. If you are interested in art history, you should opt for the Global Modernism course taught by Nicole Coffineau, a faculty member of Barnard College. This course takes you through the history of modern art, modernism, and the avant-garde through theoretical questions at the forefront of the modernist movement from 1789 to 1968. The course is divided into 4 themes or lenses:

  • Aesthetic Categories within Social Art Histories

  • Perception and Artistic Production

  • Formalism and Autonomy

  • Role of the Mind, or, the Beholder’s Share

Classes will take place thrice a week, with the rest of the week devoted to workshops, site visits, office hours, project work, and student activities.

Location: Boston University, Boston, MA

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors can apply.

Application Deadline: May 24, 2024 (for domestic students). Applications close in April for international students.

Dates: July 1 - August 9, 2024

Cost: $3,180 (tuition per course) + $3,120/$3,426 (room and board, if applicable) + additional costs. Financial aid is available.

Boston University’s Art History Summer Program is offered as part of its summer honors program. Students can commute to the program or reside in the university’s dorms for a complete college experience. You can opt for the following course options relevant to art history.

  • Pyramids to Cathedrals: An Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art: This course examines art and architecture from antiquity to the Middle Ages in their social, historical, and religious contexts.

  • Understanding Architecture: This course focuses on European and American architecture from 1400 to the present, examining how architects derived and interpreted meaning using art, culture, and nature.

  • Renaissance Art: This course examines the arts in the Renaissance in Italy from the communes of the 15th century to the courts of the 16th century.

Location: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Eligibility: High school students in grades 10 and 11 can apply.

Application Deadline: June 17, 2024

Dates: July 2 - August 10, 2024

Cost: $13,648. Scholarships are available for students who attend a public or charter high school in Philadelphia.

The University of Pennsylvania's Pre-College Program offers courses taught by Penn faculty, staff, and visiting scholars. Students reside in the university’s dorms to participate in social events and campus activities. If you are interested in art history, you can choose from the following course options.

  • Hellenistic and Roman Art and Artifact: This course examines the political, domestic, and religious arts in Rome’s Mediterranean and Constantinople’s Christianized empires. These include the Hellenistic cosmopolitan culture of the Greek kingdoms and Italy and Imperial Roman art.

  • World Film History 1945-Present: This course focuses on familiarizing students with the critical analysis of films made after 1945. Cinematic movements across the world are included, such as Italian Neo-realism, French New Wave, New Hollywood, New German Cinema, and movies from China, Iran, and elsewhere.

Location: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors can apply.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in March.

Dates: One year, starting with an 8-week summer intensive

Cost: Free. Students are paid a monthly stipend (amount not specified).

The High Museum of Art’s Teen Team Program selects 15 creative and qualified high school students to learn about art, history, and culture, explore the profession and its avenues, and develop professional and civic skills. If selected, you will access the museum behind the scenes and learn what goes into its functioning and maintenance. You will assist in events, Teen Nights, and public programming while becoming proficient in the museum’s collections.

Although this program runs throughout the year, its highlight is the 8-week summer intensive in which students will complete a project in art history and receive support and mentorship from museum professionals.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: High school students and independent learners can apply.

Application Deadline: There is no deadline.

Dates: 32-36 weeks (flexible and self-paced). The earliest start date available is June 2024.

Cost: Free

Florida Virtual School’s AP Art History allows high school students to explore the critically analyze the interactions between art, history, and culture using a global lens. You will get to use tools like artistic expression, purpose, and cultural awareness to understand different artworks and relationships between various cultures. If selected, you will further be able to examine art from different periods, ranging from the prehistoric to the contemporary. You will read literature, conduct research, and collaborate with peers on projects.

The course takes you through Global Prehistory, Ancient Mediterranean, Early Europe and Colonial Americas, Later Europe and Americas, Indigenous Americas, Africa, West and Central Asia, South, East and Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Contemporary.

One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to participate in a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: Brown University logo


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