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.

All students master essential drawing skills in the Foundations of Drawing course and then build on this foundation by choosing to explore a range of other skills, including sculpture, printmaking, oil painting, and illustration. 

Students gain additional artistic and professional development experience with critique sessions (affectionately known as ‘crit’) and behind the scenes tours of PAFA and other Philadelphia art spaces. 

Finally, students have the opportunity to exhibit their work at PAFA’s world-class museum and receive an in-depth portfolio review with PAFA Admissions staff, enabling them to reach the next level of their artistic journey. 

Summer Academy does not offer a residential option for students. Students who live beyond the Greater Philadelphia area are welcome to reach out to with questions. 

Summer Academy Course Schedule

Summer Academy runs on Monday-Friday for 4 weeks, usually starting right after the week of July 4th. All students study drawing in Foundations of Drawing and select three additional concentrations to explore. Applicants have the opportunity to indicate their preferred concentrations when they apply. Every attempt will be made to offer students their top choices, balanced with a commitment to developing a rich community of student artists in each class. 

Summer Academy 2024

Dates: July 8th- August 2nd, 2024

Areas of Concentration: drawing, oil painting, printmaking, sculpture, traditional illustration, and digital illustration.

Classes take place from 9 AM- 4 PM, with a 1-hour lunch break. Each Summer Academy course is one full day per week, and schedules vary depending on which track students sign up for. Classes involve a mixture of lecture, demonstrations, studio time and feedback. Students receive one-on-one guidance from world class instructors who push young artists to reach the next level of skill and creativity. Students also learn from encounters with their creative peers.

Fridays are devoted to critique, museum tours, and free studio time.

In addition, students also have access to free studio space for up to 2 hours each day from 4-6 PM,  where they have an option to continue developing their work.

Sample schedule (varies depending on the selection of courses):

 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday                            (varies by week)
9am-12pmDrawingIllustrationPrintmakingAnimationMuseum tour/critique/free studio


1-4pmDrawingIllustrationPrintmakingAnimationMuseum tour/critique/free studio

Optional Free Studio Time

Courses and Faculty

Foundations of Drawing

Observational drawing skills are the foundation of artistic endeavors and essential for a strong portfolio. Master the elements of line, shape, composition, perspective, and value to create the illusion of three-dimensional forms in convincing space. Students will learn to depict still life, interior space, landscape, and the human figure from direct observation. This course will use nude models.

This course is required for all students in Summer Academy.

Oil Painting

Explore the vibrant possibilities of oil painting through PAFA’s time honored methods. Learn  about materials and techniques including painting supports, brushes, historical and contemporary oil mediums, and their preparations. Discussions and demonstrations will include paint chemistry, color mixing, and color systems. Painting from a variety of subjects, including the still-life, the cityscape, and nude model,s will allow for a development of the two-dimensional visual language.

This course is an optional concentration.


Sculpture is the art form that operates in three dimensions (3-D). This course will explore the three basic components of sculpture: modeling, carving & assembly. Using these techniques, students will develop conceptual and perceptual skills to make an accurate and expressive volumetric sculpture. Students will learn to understand symmetry, proportion and sculptural visualization skills.

This course is an optional concentration.


Learn the fundamentals of printmaking in PAFA’s exceptional printshop. Students develop their own drawings and ideas to create prints using a wide range of techniques. Students gain access to specialized equipment rarely available beyond a few professional studios. Students make black-and-white and color prints using additive and subtractive processes, which may include relief printing, stencil, etching (intaglio) and silkscreen. 

This course is an optional concentration.

Traditional Illustration

Students develop skills in storytelling and visual communication using a range of traditional media. Students explore the materials, methods, and language of visual storytelling, which may include book and magazine illustration, graphic novels, posters, and storyboard art. With a strong basis in drawing from Foundations of Drawing, students create art to convey an artistic narrative.

This course is an optional concentration.

Digital Illustration

Students develop skills in storytelling and visual communication using a range of digital media. This course explores advanced image creation and manipulation tools, effects, graphic illustration techniques, and a variety of functions in applying the computer graphics medium to graphic design projects beyond the classroom in various fields including graphic design, animation, motion graphics and commercial illustration.

This course is an optional concentration.

Animation - Not offered in 2024

Animation connects PAFA's world-class training in studio arts with moving imagery and narrative storytelling, emphasizing experimental fine art-based approaches to animation. Students explore handcrafted and digital methods to create images that leap to life from their artistic imaginations. Methods may include stop motion and 2D animation techniques along with training in digital platforms. 

This course is an optional concentration.


Earning College Credit

Summer Academy students earn 4.0 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).


If you have questions, please reach out to or 215-972-7630

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