Program Overview

Summer Academy is an intense college-level art program. This rigorous experience is modeled after PAFA's own world renowned, undergraduate first-year arts curriculum. Like the BFA program in 2020, Summer Academy is going virtual!

Beyond the core curriculum of studio arts, Summer Academy provides professional development through artist visits, college application support, portfolio preparation, scholarship opportunities and information about residencies for young artists.

The final week includes an in-depth portfolio review with PAFA Admissions staff, giving students insight on their work and the college review process. 

Summer Academy Course Schedule

Summer Academy devotes two half-days each week to each discipline: drawing, painting, sculpting and printmaking. Fridays are devoted to visits from leading artists and curators for virtual studio tours, collections visits, and critiques from visiting artists, as well as flexible studio time. Classes take place from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., with a 1-hour lunch break. 

Classes involve a mixture of lecture, demonstrations, studio time and critiques. Live-sessions will take place on the videoconferecing software, Zoom, several times each day and students will have the opportunity to meet as a cohort, in small groups, and in one-on-one sessions with faculty. Students will get/submit assignments, join group discussions, access images and resources and have additional options for communication through the learning management system Canvas. 

Students receive one-on-one guidance from instructors and teaching assistants, who push student to reach the next level of skill and creativity. Students will also learn from each other as they encounter their creative peers.

Courses and Faculty


Instructor: Lisa Sylvester

At PAFA, observational drawing skills are the foundation of all artistic endeavors and essential for a strong portfolio:

  • Master the drawing elements of line, shape, composition, perspective, and value to create the illusion of three-dimensional forms in convincing space.

  • Virtually visit the PAFA vaults to view rarely seen master drawings.


Instructor:  Roger Chavez

Explore the vibrant possibilities of oil painting through PAFA's time-honored methods and contemporary expertise:

  • Learn techniques of color mixing and paint application, progressing from a limited palette to complex, full-color compositions.

  • Learn the safe-handling, preparation, and care of artists' pigments, mediums, brushes, and surfaces.

  • Paint from still life arrangements to develop a convincing sense of form, value, and space.


Instructor:  John Horn

Sculpture is the art form that operates in three dimentions (3-D). The sculpture course of the Summer Academy will involve the three basic components of sculpture: modeling, carving & assembly. Using simple materials & techniques the class will consist of three or four projects utilizing one or more of the components above to make an individual sculpture.

  • Understand conceptual and perceptual skills in order to make an accurate and expressive volumetric sculpture.
  • Understand symmetry & proportion-the balance of parts between themselves and the whole.
  •  Develop basic sculptural visualization skills.


Instructor:  Lisa Hamilton

Learn the fundamentals of printmaking safely and creatively. Use your own drawings and ideas as inspiration to make black and white and color prints using hand-printing methods.

  • Learn about the history and process of relief printing, the oldest form of printmaking.
  • Explore the creative possibilities of Pochoir, a stencil technique that led to the development of screen printing.
  • Create one - of - a kind painterly monotypes exploring both additive and subtractive processes.

No supplies are needed for the Summer Academy—program tuition covers the cost of all supplies for class use. Supplies will be mailed to students or dropped off using contactless delivery. 

Learning from Leaders in the Arts

Every Friday students will spend the morning in free studio time, with optional group critique sessions with visiting artists.

On Friday afternoon, students will get an exclusive peak into a part of the art world that is only available through PAFA's outstanding network of celebrated artists, educators and curators. This will include a studio tour at an art collective, a behind the scenes look at collections in an upcoming exhibit, and discussions of the creative process from leading artists. Students will get the opportunity to engage with these artists and experts to gain critical insights into achieveing success in the arts. 

Earning College Credit

Summer Academy students earn 4 undergraduate credits. One grade/credit is awarded for each discipline, and appears on a PAFA transcript. Credits are eligible for transfer to an art school or college.

PAFA is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).  PAFA is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

Contact Pre-College Programs

Studio art classes and education for high school students to develop their artistic passions and prepare for college.