“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” - Edward Hopper
Art and design has evolved and found wider relevance in today’s world. If you are passionate about art, then you’re in luck! We have curated a list of great art programs open to high school students.
Whether it is art in its conventional sense, or an intersection with other visual arts and product design, you’ll find a wide range of opportunities. These programs can be great for building a portfolio, sharpening your skills and even testing out the college fit right before you apply for a degree program of your choice.
Pro tip: Most of the programs that we’ve included in this list offer credit - so make sure you keep that in mind while considering your applications for the following programs.
NYU Summer Art Intensive Program invites 54 students to experience life as an art major at the NYU Campus. You are assigned to one of the 3 cohorts, and are expected to attend studio sessions, interact with a wide variety of materials and technology (like textiles and laser cutting), build on your portfolio, as well as interact with practicing professionals! The program includes digital art, painting, and sculpture. This immersive program, along with exposure to art at a university level, also allows students to network, build connections, and explore New York City on the weekends!
Dates: July 10 - August 4, 2023
Application Deadline: March 1, 2023
Location: In-person, New York University Campus
Cost: $7,660, financial aid available
Eligibility: High school students between the age of 15-18, including international students
If you like museums, then read programs 2 and 3 carefully!
The Met invites applications for a cohort of high school students passionate about art, design, architecture, and creative expression for their fully funded internships each year. The Met offers two kinds of internships - one that goes on alongside your school year, and the other that runs exclusively in the summer.
The internship program that runs all year-round invites a cohort of students to connect with art, museums, and creative professionals as they develop professional skills, network, and gain work experience.
As a MET intern, you regularly interact with museum professionals, as well as experts in marketing, scientific research, social media, law, and educational programming.
You also participate in Career Labs - sessions where you interact and learn from professionals about their work, and experiences, and receive advice!
This is a highly valuable opportunity for students passionate not just about art, but related fields as well!
School-year Internship: January 14 - June 9, 2024
Summer Internship: June 25 - August 12, 2024
School-year Internship: October 28, 2023
Summer Internship: March 31, 2023
Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, NY
Cost: Fully funded, stipend provided
Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors based in and around New York City
This doubles up as an internship and a learning program! You will discover the art and cultural traditions of Asia and learn about special exhibitions as well as the museum collection. You will also create hands-on art activities and other materials for learning about art and culture, and do social media marketing for the museum. There is plenty of networking with local artists!
Pro Tip: Make sure to check with your local museum for such opportunities around the school year and summer!
Dates: August - May
Application deadline: Tentative dates for 2023 are not yet available. Please join the mailing list to remain updated on applications.
Location: Asia Art Museum (San Francisco, CA) and also partly virtual.
Cost: Fully funded, stipend and school credit provided
Eligibility: Bay Area public high school students in good standing in grades 10, 11, and 12
UCLA's Art Summer Institute is a 3 UCLA-unit immersive course that exposes you to multiple tracks in the field of art and work on your portfolio along the way. As part of the course, you are required to choose one (or two) of the following tracks -
Drawing – Sessions A & B
Painting – Sessions A & B
Photography – Sessions A & B
Sculpture – Session A only (in-person)
Video Art & Experimental Animation – Session B only (virtual)
The program also lets you work on daily, focused studio work, artist lectures, group critiques, and one-on-one meetings with faculty. You are exposed to a range of media and contemporary art practices, which helps you develop a skill set that can help set you apart from other applicants at your dream art school.
Note: The program is offered both virtually and in in-person formats, so make sure to choose the one that works best for you!
Session A: July 9 - 22, 2023
Session B: July 24 - August 6, 2023
Application Deadline: June 1, 2023
Location: UCLA Campus/Virtual
In-person Session: $3,859 + $350 application fee + $61 (IEI fee) + $50 (Document Fee)
Virtual Session: $2,290
Eligibility: 8th-12th grade students can apply
The Parsons School of Design is a highly coveted design institute located in New York, some of its notable alumni being Marc Jacobs, Robert Wong, Tom Ford, Paul Rand, and Mara Hoffman. As a high school student, you can participate in the Parson’s Summer Immersion Program that is held on-campus. This program is a three-week, three-credit program that includes skill-building project-based learning, art and design field trips, guest speakers from industry, and portfolio reviews.
You are expected to attend sessions and classes five days a week, from 9:00 a.m.–3:50 p.m.
Session 1: June 12–30, 2023
Session 2: July 10–28, 2023
Session 1: May 15, 2023
Session 2: June 8, 2023
Location: Parsons' NYC Greenwich Village campus
Cost: $4,675 plus fees. Scholarships are available.
Eligibility: All high schools are eligible to apply
Note: You can check out more offerings from Parsons for high school students here.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, again a very prestigious institute, hosts three major pre-college summer programs for high school students that are highly immersive and exploratory, as well as offer college credit.
Here's a list of three of their programs offered across fall, winter, spring, and summer.
EARLY COLLEGE PROGRAM (ECP): As part of this program, you can take up courses on investigative painting, drawing, animation, comics/graphic novels, fashion, DIY printmaking, design, and more. However, this course only offers college credit for students who have completed their sophomore year at school.
EARLY COLLEGE PROGRAM SUMMER INSTITUTE (ECPSI): As part of this program, you create portfolio-quality work, make connections with faculty, experience SAIC’s art facilities, and earn college credit.
EARLY COLLEGE PROGRAM ONLINE SUMMER INSTITUTE (ECPOSI): A virtual edition of the above program, this is a more accessible version of SAIC's high school summer program if you wish to work on your portfolio and deepen your understanding of contemporary art, all while networking with your peers and mentors.
Dates: Varies from program to program
Early College Program - January 25th, 2023
ECPSI - TBA
ECPOSI - TBA
Location: SAIC campus/Virtual
Cost: Varies from program to program
Eligibility: All high schools are eligible to apply
The Maryland Institute College of Art invites bright young students to its annual Pre-College Art and Design Residency Program. This program is extremely competitive, challenging, and rewarding for all young artists! As part of the program, you will attend live instruction, independent studio time, and a variety of community events, workshops, and artist talks. You also receive feedback and guidance from MICA faculty and undergraduate students, which is an extremely important experience if you wish to pursue art at the college level. Along with these sessions, interacting with your peers is an enriching opportunity, something that can help you gain creative inspiration for your portfolio and overall application.
If you're a junior or senior in high school, you can receive up to 3 credits for this program!
The program is open for 2-week, and 4-week sessions, details of which follow.
You can check out the portfolios of some of the program's past participants here!
Note: If you choose the 2-week session, you are only awarded 1.5 credits as opposed to the 3-credit sessions that span for 4 weeks.
2-Week Session 1: July 2 - July 15
2-Week Session 2: July 16 - July 29
4-Week Combined Sessions: July 2 - July 29
Application Deadline: April 30, 2023 ($50 application fee)
Location: MICA Campus, Maryland
2-week session - $3,310
4-week session - $6,620
Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors
Curious about taking up design and/or architecture at college? The Design Immersion Days program hosted by the Southern California Institute of Architecture exposes you to examples of design and modes of production at all scales, from analog physical building and traditional drawing to multiple forms of digital output—augmented reality, 3D modeling, 3D printing, and more. This program lets you explore design and architecture school right before college, and lets you interact with multiple lenses through which one can view the city of Los Angeles.
The program runs for a total of 4 weeks, with 5 days of sessions each week.
Dates: June 21 - July 15, 2023 (based on last year's timetable)
Application Deadline: June 7, 2023
Location: SCI-Arc campus, Los Angeles
Cost: $3,350, full financial aid offered on a need-based criteria
Eligibility: All high school students can apply
SCAD's Summer Seminars include a host of activities and sessions aimed at providing students with a solid educational experience in art as an academic and professional career. SCAD stands for Savannah College of Art and Design is a great fashion school, as well as other art and design courses.
You can expect to attend demonstrations, lectures, studio work, and local field trips. Along with using SCAD's studios, resources, and libraries, you are also encouraged to work on art projects and assignments of your own.
There are two main types of workshops you can join -
Sessions for the Atlanta workshops are spread across these 4 sections -
July 16 - 21, 2023
July 23 - 28, 2023
July 9 - 14, 2023
June 25 - 30, 2023
Sessions for the Savannah workshops take place on these dates -
July 16 - July 21, 2023
July 9 - July 14, 2023
June 25 - June 30, 2023
Application Deadline: Applications close and open on a rolling basis, make sure to check the website from time to time for a seat at a course of your choice!
Atlanta workshops - SCAD campus + locations across Atlanta
Savannah workshops - SCAD campus
$1,400 for commuting students
$1,700 for on-campus participants
You are also required to pay $100 for registration while applying for a program.
Eligibility: All high school students can apply
Rhode Island School of Design hosts a residential program for students interested in pursuing art as a degree and career and exposes them to a 5-week, college-level course. As a program participant, you are expected to put in the amount of work you'd put in as an undergraduate student at RISD, with day-long studio classes, critiques, and projects. This program is geared towards students who wish to improve/create their portfolio and has expert faculty that you can gain advice and feedback from.
The program is fairly inviting, with about 550 students coming from around the country for an immersive summer program.
Dates: June 24–July 29, 2023
Application Deadline: Applications open on November 8, 2022, and while a deadline hasn't been mentioned, you can expect the deadline to be around mid-December.
Location: RISD Campus, Providence, Rhode Island.
Residential program: $10,700
Commuter program: $8,100
+ Application Fee (non-refundable): $60
Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors can apply
If you’re looking for something a little more self-paced, and completely virtual, you could check out these free courses offered by the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. If you are feeling up for a little competition, check out our list of great art and design competitions.
Alongside building upon your creative portfolio and engaging in college-level art courses, you can also choose to work on a research program during the summer. You might even want this to be a project which combines art/design with another subject! This is a great way to show depth in your area of interest and build a project you can showcase in your college application.
Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. In the program, you work 1-1 with a researcher to develop your own research project. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
You can 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.