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20 Summer Art Programs for High School Students in 2023

What’s Covered:


Summer programs are a great way to enrich your time between academic years, especially if you want to explore subject areas or deepen specific knowledge and skills that you wouldn’t have time for during the regular school year. For students who are interested in visual arts, there are many summer program options for you to pursue your passion while surrounded by other aspiring artists. While many pre-college programs are on the pricey side, many of the ones listed here are free or offer significant tuition assistance. One thing to keep in mind is that while most programs are residential or in-person, some have either transitioned entirely online or offer a virtual option due to COVID-19. 


Summer Art Programs


1. City Art Lab


Dates: February 15- May 10, 2023

Location: New York, NY   

Application deadline: February 5, 2023 (has been reopened, no new deadline given)  

Cost: Free 


City Art Lab is a free arts program for teens, based at City College of New York (CCNY). The program joins CCNY’s Art Education graduate students with local youth to collaborate on community-based art projects. High schoolers can explore new materials and methods with practicing artists, develop their own artwork for a portfolio, and learn about college life on a Manhattan campus, all while meeting other artistically-inclined teens from all over NYC. Each program session concludes with an art exhibition to celebrate each year’s high school artists. 


2. Academy of Art University Pre-College Art Experience 


Dates: June 26- August 5, 2023

Location: San Francisco, CA or virtual   

Application deadline: Rolling  

Cost: Free


Offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters, the Pre-College Art Experience (PCAE) at the Academy of Art University is a free education program for high schoolers. San Francisco’s Academy of Art University is a private art school whose courses cover fashion, animation, game design, fine art, and more. The PCAE is available in-person or online and is an opportunity for high schoolers to begin their post-secondary studies in art. For each course a student passes in the PCAE, they earn $1,000 toward undergraduate tuition at the university, should they choose to pursue their higher education there. 


3. UCLA Acting and Performance Institute


Dates: Session A: June 25 – July 15, 2023; Session B: July 16 – August 5, 2023

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Application deadline: June 1, 2023

Cost: Depends on course load


This UCLA program is designed to immerse students in the world of high-level performing arts. For three weeks, students learn about performance training, movement techniques, and writing, while working on a showcase performance put on at the end of the program. Students get practical experience in the creative process of a theater, including rehearsals, conceptualizing, writing, and performing.


4. Student Gallery Guides at The Getty Museum 


Dates: June 15–July 30, 2023 

Location: Los Angeles, CA   

Application deadline: NA  

Cost: Free


One of several programs for high school students hosted by The Getty Museum, the Student Gallery Guide program is a paid summer internship opportunity for teens interested in learning the fundamentals of museum education. Interns are trained to lead guided experiences with the Getty Center’s collection for visiting K-12 summer groups. This is a great opportunity for high schoolers with an interest in art to also develop public speaking and facilitation skills. Transportation to and from the Getty Center, as well as a stipend of roughly $1,800, is provided to each intern on the final day of the internship, based on successful completion of the program.


5. Cornell’s Art as Experience Summer Program



  • ART 1101 Art as Experience: Drawing, Photography, and Digital Media: June 20–July 7, 2023
  • ART 1102 Transmedia: Image, Sound, Motion: July 10–July 28, 2023
  • ART 1103 Sculpture Art in Three Dimensions: July 10–July 28, 2023
  • ART 1104 Art as Experience: Photography: June 20–July 7, 2023

Location:  Virtual

Application deadline

  • Three-week Session 1 (May 30–June 16, 2023): Apply by May 7, 2023
  • Three-week Session 2 (June 20–July 7, 2023): Apply by May 29, 2023
  • Three-week Session 3 (July 10–28, 2023): Apply by June 18, 2023
  • Six-week Session (June 20–August 1, 2023): Apply by May 29, 2023

Cost: $1,680 per credit


With over 2,300 high school students attending last year, Cornell’s summer programs are very popular. High school students can choose from four different art classes, each with a different focus: Drawing, Photography, and Digital Media; Image, Sound, and Motion; Sculpture Art in Three Dimensions; and Photography. These courses are only offered virtually, and also include a college admissions workshop, college fair, and final exhibit in a Cornell hall. There is financial aid available to help with the cost of the program. 


6. California State Summer School for the Arts 


Dates: July 8- August 4, 2023

Location: Sacramento, CA  

Application deadline: February 28, 2023  

Cost: $2,350


The California State Summer School for the Arts, commonly known as CSSSA, is a rigorous four-week, pre-professional visual and performing arts training program for high school students held each summer at the California Institute of the Arts. The Visual Arts Program is dedicated to helping students meet the challenges of contemporary art-making through assigned lessons. All students are assigned studio classes based on the interests they indicate on their application forms. The department offers studio classes in ceramics, digital media, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. The comprehensive fee covering room, board, and tuition for California State residents for four weeks is $2,350; for out-of-state residents, the fee is $6,850. Scholarships are awarded on a need-based basis, though only to California residents. 


7. University of Michigan Stamps Pre-College Program 


Dates: Virtual Portfolio Prep: June 19 – June 30, 2023; Residential Portfolio Prep: July 9 – July 22, 2023, and July 23 – August 5, 2023 

Location: Ann Arbor, MI, or virtual

Application deadline: March 15, 2023   

Cost: $750–$4,750


Stamps Pre-Col­lege Pro­grams at the University of Michigan are offered in the spring and summer to high school stu­dents (grades 9 – 12) inter­ested in build­ing new skills for their cre­ative pur­suits. Stu­dents receive per­son­al­ized train­ing and advice from Stamps fac­ulty and staff on build­ing a com­pet­i­tive art port­fo­lio. Studio classes include 4D animation, drawing, 3D exploration, and portfolio prep. Partial and full scholarships are available on a need-based basis. 


8. UCLA Game Lab Summer Institute


Dates: Virtual- July 10 – July 21, 2023; In-person- July 23 – August 5, 2023

Location: Virtual or Los Angeles, CA

Application deadline: June 15, 2023

Cost: Virtual- $2,390; In-person- $4,535


In this program, UCLA frames game-making as an art form. Students learn techniques to create both digital and physical games in either a residential or virtual program. Throughout the program, students learn the fundamentals of game design, create three-dimensional game characters with a fully-formed story, build game worlds, and program and code their own games. Students leave the program with a portfolio of game assets that can be used for college or job applications. 


9. Oxbow Summer Art Institute 


Dates: June 17 – July 30, 2023

Location: Napa, CA

Application deadline: Rolling

Cost: $16,000


The Oxbow Summer Art Institute, located in Napa, California, is a 6-week immersive summer visual art residency open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well as those taking a gap year after high school. Students receive an entire year’s worth of studio art credit with an official high school transcript from Oxbow. The program is grounded in the philosophy that there is no limit to what adolescents can create when provided with an open-minded environment with high-level instruction, personal and collective accountability, and support. There is a limited number of scholarships available to cover the comprehensive tuition of $16,000. 


10. Parsons Summer Intensive Studies NYC 


Dates: Session 1: June 12–30, 2023; Session 2: July 10–28, 2023

Location: New York, NY

Application deadline: Session 1: May 15, 2023; Session 2: June 8, 2023 

Cost: $4,675 plus fees


The three-credit art and design program at Parsons immerses rising juniors and seniors, as well as recent high school graduates, in the New York college environment of one of the most prominent design schools nationwide. Students dive deep into creative practices such as fine arts, illustration, photography, animation, graphic design, fashion design, product design, architecture, interior design, and design management. Students also have the opportunity to attend art and design field trips and meet industry professionals. All studio courses are geared toward developing and enhancing college application portfolios. 


11. Otis College of Art and Design Summer of Art


Dates: July 5 – 28, 2023

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Application deadline: April 28, 2023 

Cost: $1,750$4,400


The intensive program at Otis College of Art and Design is aimed at students 15 and older who seek to strengthen and enhance their art and design skills. Students are taught by award-winning practicing artists. The program includes drawing studio courses, as well as specialization courses, which deepen skills in a specific area of artistic studies, such as architecture, concept art, digital media, graphic design, and printmaking. The program also includes lectures and final critiques. There are merit-based scholarships as well as need-based scholarships available. 


12. Ringling College of Art and Design PreCollege 


Dates: June 18- July 15, 2023

Location: Sarasota, FL

Application deadline: May 1, 2023

Cost: $6,200 + the $300 refundable housing deposit


Located in Florida, Ringling College offers an intensive program that teaching students the fundamentals of art and design, allowing them to earn college credit, and meet like-minded artists from around the world. The program revolves around core classes for fundamental skill-building, as well as immersions for deeper investigation in areas of interest. Some unique immersions include computer animation, game art, storyboarding, and digital sculpting. 


13. The Putney School Summer Arts 


Dates: July 1 – 28, 2023

Location: Putney, VT

Application deadline: Rolling 

Cost: $9,100


Located in Southern Vermont, The Putney School Summer Arts is a 4-week long technology-free arts program for teens. The Putney School focuses on process over product and stresses its supportive environment. In addition to more conventional mediums like painting and sculpture, students have the opportunity to choose workshops in mediums such as textile arts, fiber arts, metal jewelry, and ceramics. Applications require work samples and teacher references. Partial tuition assistance is available. 


14. California College of Arts Pre-College 


Dates: In-person- July 6-August 2, 2023, Virtual- June 26-July 28, 2023

Location: San Francisco, CA or virtual

Application deadline: Rolling 

Cost: Application Fee: $55 (nonrefundable); Tuition Deposit: $500 (nonrefundable, applied to tuition); Online Tuition: $3,850; In-person Tuition: $4,000 (All art supplies, field trips, and lab fees are included in the tuition cost.) 


Set on CCA’s San Francisco campus, the Pre-College program is offered to students who have completed at least their sophomore year in high school by the summer they attend the program. Students take studio-focused, college-level courses to help push beyond concepts to portfolio-ready pieces while having the option to earn 3 college credits. CCA Pre-College is usually a residential program, and students benefit from San Francisco’s museums during their stay. In addition to more traditional mediums such as painting and drawing, areas of potential study include comics, industrial design, and game design. 


15. SCAD Rising Star


Dates: Atlanta sessions run between June 25 and July 21, 2023; Savannah sessions run between June 25 and July 28, 2023

Location: Atlanta, GA or Savannah, GA

Application deadline: May 3, 2023

Cost: ~$1,800


The Savannah College of Art and Design, with campuses in Savannah and Atlanta, offers a Rising Star program in which students take part in two five-quarter credit hour courses taught by faculty at the school. These credits are transferable to other institutions, should a student not attend SCAD for their higher education. Courses can include demonstrations, lectures, studio work, and field trips to various historical sites, museums, parks, and music venues around the area. Students have access to the university’s libraries and studios featuring extensive technology resources. 


16. Summer Art Intensive at the Cooper Union


Dates: July 10–August 3, 2023

Location: Manhattan, New York

Application deadline: Rolling

Cost: ~$3,760


The Cooper Union Summer Art Intensive program offers rising sophomores to seniors an opportunity to experience the art college environment and learn from professional art instructors while meeting peers that share their interests. Students can choose from concentrations in drawing, animation, digital photography, graphic design, and studio practice. Students are included in special focus workshops, social events, field trips, and an exhibition for program-created work. 


17. Summer Arts Camp at Interlochen Center for the Arts



  • One-Week Intensives (Grades 9-12)- June 17 – June 23; 
  • Six-Week Sessions (Grades 3-12)- June 24 – Aug. 6; 
  • Three-Week Sessions (Grades 6-12)- June 24 – July 15, July 16 – Aug. 6

Location: Interlochen, MI

Application deadline: Rolling

Cost: One-week- $1,750; three-week- $6,550; six-week- $9,980


The Interlochen Arts Camp offers many programs, including creative writing, dance, film and new media, interdisciplinary arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. Their classes include students in grades 3-12, offering a diverse experience for participants. Students are included in classes, rehearsals, and performances, with plenty of activities available in their free time like crafts, swimming, basketball, and field trips. Students live on the 1,200-acre campus that includes over 120 cabins, two lakes, three dining halls, and several open-air venues. 


18. Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Art Program


Dates: July 1, 2023 to July 21, 2023 (3 weeks); July 1, 2023 to August 11, 2023 (6 weeks)

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Application deadline: March 15, 2023

Cost: Depends on courses taken


At Carnegie Mellon, high school students are able to develop their artistic skills in a college studio environment. Classes are held mornings and afternoons with a curriculum focusing on the fundamentals of technical skills and the growth of conceptual thinking and how they can be applied to artistic practice. Each student is signed up for four classes per 3-week session with schedules generated upon enrollment. Students receive supplies from the CMU art store, along with the required items they bring with them.


19. MassArt Pre-College Summer Studios


Dates: July 24 – August 18, 2023

Location: Boston, MA

Application deadline: May 31, 2023

Cost: Virtual- $3,927; In-person- $4,262


The Massachusetts College of Art and Design offers a four-week program for students entering grades 11 and 12. The Summer Studios program is an intensive experience in which students develop their skills in art and create the beginnings of a portfolio. Students attend three courses- 2D Fundamentals, 3D Fundaments, and Issues and Images, all of which serve to build their artistic foundations at the college level. They are also able to choose an elective that begins in the third week of the program and extends throughout the rest of the semester.


20. ASU Summer Art Camps


Dates: TBD

Location: Tempe, Arizona

Application deadline: TBD

Cost: TBD


The Summer Art Camps hosted by Arizona State University’s School of Art are aimed at students ages 13-18. They are four-day camps for students at any experience level in which students are exposed to a variety of studio art practices and meet others with similar interests and feedback from specialized instructors. With all materials provided, campers need only bring themselves and their creativity. In 2022, ASU offered a variety of program mediums including photography, woodworking, fashion design, laser engraving, animation, and more. 


How Impressive Are Summer Programs in College Admissions?


Summer programs, as part of your extracurricular activities, show colleges your dedication to and pursuit of your artistic passions. In addition, you will likely come away with a solid portfolio that you can build upon to submit as part of your college application. Different colleges weigh extracurriculars like summer art programs differently. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can tell you how colleges value your extracurricular activities. It uses factors like grades and test scores (and extracurriculars!) to estimate your odds of acceptance at hundreds of schools across the country. It can also provide insight into how to improve your profile. 


Other Ways to Spend Your Summer


Though summer break provides you with the most time to explore your passions, it is not the only time, and participating in summer programs is not the only way to pursue your interest in art. You can spend the summer touching up your foundational art skills on your own, like drawing and painting. Entering art competitions is a great way to have your college application stand out, as well as show your merit as a young artist. 


While we listed some paying programs in this list that operate like internships, there are many more official summer art internship programs. Internships demonstrate initiative and combine your passion for art with a clear career direction. Take a look at our list of art summer internships for high school students. Looking for more summer programs? Take a look at this list of virtual volunteer opportunities for high school students.


Short Bio
Kimberly graduated from Smith College with a degree in English Literature. This year, she has been based in Beijing, China, where she works in the education field and rescues dogs in her free time. She will be starting her masters at Columbia University in the fall.