Summer art programs offer intense training

Rosa Stern Pait, Co-Editor in Chief

“I refound my creativity and my imagination,” junior Logan Roche said.

“I would do it again if I had another year,” senior Molly Howarth said.

Howarth and Roche both attended art programs at colleges this summer and hope to pursue art careers one day. Despite the intensity and workload of these programs, they can help young artists seriously considering a professional career in art, according to students who have attended them.

Howarth attended the pre-college program at the Rhode Island School of Design this summer, where she lived on campus and focused on drawing over the course of six weeks. The RISD program included seven hours of studio art class per day, as well as up to nine hours of homework. According to Howarth, the homework could sometimes be extremely stressful.

“It doesn’t sound that bad because it’s like ‘you’re just drawing and having fun,’ but it’s really stressful because it takes up a lot of your mind,” Howarth said. “Sometimes you forget to eat dinner, but sometimes you have to spend hours down there [in the cafeteria] to clear your mind.”

Donna Sartanowicz, a visual arts teacher at the high school, has had many students attend the RISD summer art program over the years.

“Most all of them come back with a better sense of design and more commitment to their work,” she said.

The MassArt summer studios program also has seven hours of class a day. Roche had three hours of two dimensional art class, followed by a one hour discussion and lecture class and an hour off for lunch, and then three hours of three dimensional art class in the afternoon.

“It was a long day. You definitely had to get your good night’s sleep,” Roche said.

However, Roche said the hard work has its benefits.

“The program helped me connect to myself as an artist,” Roche said. “You definitely learn what you’re scared of and how to cope with that and put your fear into your art.”

Art programs can also offer opportunities to try forms of art that students may be completely new to. Junior Helen Murray also attended MassArt summer studios where she studied graphic art for the first time. She said she discovered she was good at it and had a lot of fun doing it.

Like the RISD program, MassArt summer studios give students projects as homework every night.

“Projects that if they gave it to you here at school people would give you three days to do, we get one night,” Roche said. “It was definitely super intense, very eye opening.”

Sartanowicz highly recommends summer art programs for serious art students. Programs “help students to up their game and become more serious about their work,” she said.

Photo by Hannah Lowenstein. Junior Logan Roche with her self-representation from the MassArt program.
Photo by Hannah Lowenstein.
Junior Logan Roche with her self-representation from the MassArt program.

Roche said she gained self-confidence from the community in the program.

“I felt comfortable collaborating with other people, getting critiqued by other people,” Roche said.

Roche, Murray, and Howarth all said that they are interested in pursuing some kind of a career in art. Howarth said she may someday become an illustrator or an art therapist, someone who helps individuals release and express their emotions through art. Roche said she was unsure whether she would want to work with technology, for example graphic art, or traditional gallery art. Murray said she might want to do something more commercial with her art, for example become a photographer.

Howarth said that one of the things she has learned through art classes is that she has the power to motivate others to do art with her own work.

“This is my work,” she said. “This is inspiring people to do similar things.”

Rosa Stern Pait can be contacted at [email protected]