Pre-College Program

June 28-July 24, 2015

Build Your Portfolio | Earn College Credit | Make Art!

Shape your own artistic direction by exploring a wide range of media during this comprehensive, four-week summer program. Explore drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, video, digital photography, and design in college-level classes. Then, armed with skills in numerous disciplines, work on your ideas in your own studio space. Our interdisciplinary and concept-based aproach to artmaking reflects SMFA’s unique vision.

The core curriculum encompasses foundational skills, historic and contemporary practices, experimentation, and critical thinking skills. The program also includes presentations by visiting artists and one-on-one mentoring to help you develop your art projects, build a portfolio, explore career paths, and prepare for the college application process.

2D: Painting, Drawing, and Design 
This two-dimensional area will emphasize both traditional foundations and contemporary issues in drawing, painting, and design. Experimentation with diverse materials, methods, and techniques will enable you to develop a fundamental understanding of each medium. You will also develop a high level of technical proficiency in your work through structured investigations and challenging training. Students will learn to evaluate art and design work, to apply principles to classwork, develop a visual vocabulary, to think visually, and to analyze critically. Lectures, demonstrations, group discussions, and critiques are complemented by hands-on studio problems designed to stimulate student exploration and experimentation. 

3D: Sculpture and Installation
The three-dimensional curriculum introduces ways to create form and meaning through materials. Based in contemporary methods ranging from found object sculpture to light construction techniques, this area will encourage you to explore new relationships between viewer and object. Your technical skills will be advanced in the use of tools and materials. Installation focuses on the creation of environments. You will learn how to incorporate various media and create work that is site-specific, public, or environmental. Combining these skills with collaboration, students will learn about contemporary artists engaging in site-specific work. Through a series of structured team-building activities, students learn new ways of generating material for any medium. This course presents an opportunity to truly embrace the interdisciplinary methodology of the program.

Digital Studio: Video, Digital Photography, and Image Animation
In Digital Studio, we will explore digital art through moving and still images. We will examine how digital images are a dominant force in our society through presentations from contemporary artists working in the field. You will learn how to use digital still and video cameras and sound recording instruments. You will also learn how images transform and morph using software such as Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, QuickTime Pro and FinalCut Pro. Guidance on how to create simple animated GIF’s will be provided as well. Lessons are presented in a manner that expose the similarities in each program's interface and encourage students to use hardware and software as tools for their own design and creativity.


Studio Space
Unique to SMFA Pre-College - All students are assigned a studio space to pursue independent work and class projects throughout the program.

Professional artists and teachers will instruct you in studio work and lead discussions about the artmaking process. Our unusually low student to faculty ratio ensures that you will get the attention you need as you develop your portfolio. You will also be matched with a graduate student mentor from our Master of Fine Arts program who, during regular meetings, will help you to further cultivate your individual vision. In addition, accomplished visiting artists engage with students through weekly presentations.

Visiting Artists and Contemporary Art Practices: Linking Past with Present
As core to our daily pre-college curriculum, students will explore images, artists, historical and contemporary practices through lecture, research and collaborative projects. Weekly visiting artists present their work and workshop with students. Visiting artists have included Mary Ellen Strom, Leon Johnson, Gerry Bergstein, Andi Sutton, Jim Dow, Chantal Zakari, Ahmed Abdalla, Matthew Nash, Hannah Barrett, and Raul Gonzalez. ​

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
In addition to unlimited access to the MFA's permanent collections, you will also enjoy presentations by Museum professionals working in conservation and exhibitions, as well as behind-the scenes tours of special collections.

Portfolio Development
Whether or not you are looking to apply to art school, you will gain the early professional skills necessary build a body of work and to document that work for presentation for your portfolio. Our admissions staff provides optional one-on-one review sessions. We also provide further resources on the college application process, career paths in the arts and hands-on opportunities to test your skills in putting together the final exhibition.

Town Meeting
Each week the entire Summer Studio community comes together: all students, faculty, teaching and resident assistants, graduate mentors and program staff. These sessions provide a space for students, staff and faculty to step out of their current roles and deepen their sense of an artists' collective. Whether the time is used for showing faculty work, playing dodge-ball or participating in a drawing competition, it is an essential part of the week. 

Final Exhibition
Pre-College Summer Studio culminates in a final exhibition of student work.

Our program gives you an opportunity to completely immerse yourself in an artists' community. Intensive classes culminate in a final few days that are dedicated solely to the installation of a professional final exhibition. Faculty and staff work with you individually as the entire community comes together to produce a show of 200+ works. Skills in curating, marketing and installation are built as you develop your portfolio and deepen your sense of community. This program awards college credits upon successful completion.

Most Pre-College Summer Studio students live on campus, while some local students commute from their homes.

Living on Campus
The strong sense of community that develops between students, faculty and staff is what makes the Summer Studio Program at SMFA unique. That spirit of creativity and collaboration continues in the residence hall at the end of each day and during the weekends. A team of Resident Assistants and a Resident Coordinator live with students. Independent studio time, museum and gallery fieldtrips, thrift store visits, and the occasional venture to the beach or to parks provide an enriching experience for students outside of the classroom.

Residents are encouraged both to participate in additional programming provided outside of class time, and to independently explore Boston in groups of three or more. All students must communicate with a Resident Assistant regarding their comings and goings outside of class time.

The Residence Hall is conveniently located next door to the main building, where all meals, classes and studios are held. Experienced Resident Coordinator and assistants live in the dorm and lead weekend activities and field trips.

Commuter Students
Local participants who choose not to stay ion campus may enroll in the program as commuters. Commuters are required to attend all class sessions, Monday through Friday, as well as gallery, studio, and museum visits and artist talks. Studio space is available for commuters to work in during the evenings and weekends. While on campus, commuters must follow the same rules and guidelines as residential students, including check-in and checkout procedures. Fostering community involvement, we encourage commuters to participate as much as possible in activities outside of class time alongside the residential students.

Food Service
Chef Mechaal Anik of the Museum School's Cafe des Arts creates delicious, nutritionally-balanced meals. His carefully crafted menus include vegetarian, and vegan options. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in residential tuition; lunch is included with commuter tuition.

Boston, the Extended Classroom
Home to more than 60 colleges and universities and 56 museums, Boston is a great place to live, study and play.

As cosmopolitan as it is small and accessible, Boston comes alive in June and July. Its diverse and urban environment provides an exciting atmosphere in which to engage with the local art and culture scene. Whether you're exploring the city's storied neighborhoods, such as the Back Bay or the North End, enjoying a street performance in Harvard Square, eating Brazilian food along the Charles River or listening to a youth poetry slam at a local coffee shop, Boston's true character lies in it's off-beat cultural attractions.

Evening and Weekends
Students will participate in organized outings that complement the program. Sample outings include gallery openings, Jim Dow's off-beat city tour of Boston, performance events, film screenings, thrift store shopping and daytrips to nearby Singing Beach, Old Salem and the Institute for Contemporary Art. You will also have free time to relax and enjoy your studio!

One of SMFA's strongest assets is its faculty of professional artists and educators who bring a wealth of experience to the classroom. Our faculty will encourage you to push your limits and engage with your work on a different level, while helping you develop an ongoing dialogue with materials, content and process that will continue long after you have finished the Pre-College Summer Studio program. Leaving with a life-long relationship to SMFA and the students, faculty and staff that you've engaged with is one of the most valuable attributes to the program.


Garett Yahn (Sculpture) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work examines the territory shared by artist and artisan and the nature of cultural production outside of the city center. Often collaborative, his work provides a platform for sociability as it is concerned with the potential for artwork to explore the principles of relationships. Recently Garett has exhibited and performed at Infr'action 2010 in Sete, France, Mobius and Proof Galleries in Boston, MA and Steven F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. Garett holds an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and bachelor's degrees in Art Education and Studio Art from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. He currently livesand works in Boston and is a Teaching Fellow at SMFA.

Alaina Gurdak (Performance) is an artist/educator interested in blurring the line between the two. She is the Executive Director of Open Stories Project, a Boston-based art/literacy project focused on connecting public school students with creative adults to make collaborative books that can be shared with the community. Alaina received her BA/Teacher Certification in Visual Art/Education from Ramapo College of New Jersey (2009) and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2012). Throughout her career, she has taken an interdisciplinary approach to artmaking - exploring drawing, painting, illustration, video, performance, and social practice. Alaina is currently the Director of Steps to Success' Teen Advantage after-school program at the Devotion School in Brookline, MA and a Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow at SMFA. She currently lives and works in Greater Boston.

Andrea Sherrill Evans (Painting) is a visual artist residing in Boston, MA, with a practice based in drawing, painting, performance, and sculpture. Her work uses the human body as a starting point from which to explore the diverse territory ranging between intimacy and isolation, longing and belonging, what is known and unknown. Evans received her BFA in painting from Arizona State University (2004), and MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University (2009). She is a recipient of a 2012 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Drawing, and 2010 Blanche E. Colman Award. In 2009, Evans attended the Homestead AK artist residency in Sunshine, Alaska. Select exhibitions and performances include land/marks at Bentley University's McGladrey Art Gallery (Waltham, MA), Declaring Independence at Phoenix College's Eric Fischl Gallery (Phoenix, AZ), Time, Body, Space, Objects at Proof Gallery (Boston, MA), AKATBA at Wellesley College's Jewett Art Gallery (Wellesley, MA), Intimacy at ARC Gallery (Chicago, IL), Beyond Purview at the New Art Center (Newton, MA), Works in Progress at Mobius (Boston, MA), and There is No Place at the Tufts University Art Gallery (Medford, MA).

Tom Macintyre (Digital Photography) received a BFA from Metropolitan State College of Denver ('00) and a MFA from the Museum School/Tufts University ('03), where he was a graduate teaching fellow. He has exhibited at the Museum School's BAG Gallery and participated in the exhibitions "Le Flaneur," Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, and "Life Was Different Then," at the Tufts University Gallery/Aidekman Arts Center at Tufts University, Medford, MA. MacIntyre served as a project leader at Boston Inspires Public Art and Denver Housing Authority's Art Builds Communities and has taught Photography and the Computer at Tufts for the last three years. He is chair of the New Media department at Littleton High School where he teaches digital photography, Web design, TV studio, and digital video.

Sarah Butler Peck's (Video) work explores notions of attachment, memory, and the complexities of communication. Peck received her BA from Hampshire College ('03), where she studied Biology and Fine Arts. She received her Post Baccalaureate certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts ('07) and went on to receive her MFA from SMFA/ Tufts University ('10). Peck has attended artist residencies at the Homestead AK in Talkeetna, Alaska('09) and Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium ('09). Her work has been exhibited around the U.S. and abroad at spaces including the Institute of International Education in Denver, CO ('07); the ARLIS/ NA conference at theWorld Trade Center in Boston ('10); the University of Antwerp ('09); and Edinburg College of Art ('08 and '09). Her most recent exhibitions include "State of the Art" (Chase Young Gallery, Boston MA '10) and "Bound" (309 Hancock Gallery, Dorchester MA, '11).

Juan Jose Barboza Gubo (Drawing) is a native of Lima, Peru, who grew up playing in his father's architecture studio. He studied with Miguel Angel Cuadros, and at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, widely recognized as the best art school in Peru and one of the best in South America. He received a MFA in Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Gubo has had numerous solo exhibitions, including shows at the Nielsen Gallery ('08), The Art Institute of Boston ('08), the Attleboro Museum ('08), and Arclinea Boston ('08). He has also been featured internationally at galleries and exhibitions in Tokyo, Athens, Peru, and Italy. He was a nominee for the Joan Mitchell MFA Grant ('08), among other grants and awards. Gubo currently teaches Visual Language I, II, and Drawing at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.


Jane D. Marsching is an interdisciplinary artist who explores our past, present and future human effect on the environment through collaborative research-based practices. Projects have been cited in museums and galleries as well as weather observatories, public parks, city streets, radio waves and the internet. She has worked with scientists, educators, kite builders, meteorologists, architects, and musicians among others. She is also an author (Far Field: Digital Culture, Climate Change, and the Poles, with Andrea Polli, 2012; and with Mark Alice Durant in 2005, The Blur of the Otherworldly: Contemporary Art, Technology, and the Paranormal), educator (associate professor and sustainability fellow at Massachusetts College of Art and Design), activist, mother, gardener and cofounder of Plotform with Andi Sutton, a collective that seeks to create visionary spectacles of resilient responses to climate crises. / /

Megan and Murray McMillan are video, photography and installation artists who have been collaborating since 2002. They have exhibited at the Casa Masaccio Center for Contemporary Art in San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy; the Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense, Denmark; the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece; the National Museum of Art in La Paz, Bolivia and the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. They are currently working on a large scale commissioned project for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. They are represented by Qbox Gallery in Athens, Greece. The McMillans have been artists in residence in Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tzia and Athens, Greece and Turku and Kokar, Finland. Their work has been featured in film festivals in New York, London, Los Angeles, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Greece and Romania. Their work has been included in the 2012 DeCordova Biennial at the deCordova Museum, Wild Things at the Kunsthallen Brandts in Denmark (2010), the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009) and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007). Their work has been reviewed in Art in America and ArtLies Quarterly, among others.

Megan McMillan (born 1975, Dallas, TX) has a MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Murray McMillan (born 1973, Dallas, TX) has a MFA from The University of Texas at Austin and a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute. The McMillans have been married since 1997.

Pedro Reyes' work addresses the interplay between physical and social space. Operating between architecture, design, language and video, his works take on a variety of forms, from penetrable vinyl sculptures inspired by organic or mineral formations that are both artworks and usable structures for reclining or socializing (Capulas, 2002-10), to a TV and short-film production based on the 19th century debate between socialism and capitalism, featuring Karl Marx and Adam Smith as the main characters in a puppet show (Baby Marx, 2009-present), to Palas por Pistolas (2008), a project in which, together with local authorities, Reyes campaigned to get guns off the streets of Culiacán, Mexico; 1527 guns were collected, crushed by a steamroller and melted to produce 1527 shovels, with the aim of planting 1527 trees. In 2012, this project expanded into Imagine (2012), where more weapons that were donated by the Mexican military have been turned into instruments by musicians and artisans, funded by Alumnos47 Foundation. Imagine was exhibited at the Gwangju Biennial and the Istanbul Design Biennial in 2012. A new set of mechanised instruments called Disarm was shown for the first time at Lisson Gallery, London in 2013, and will also be exhibited at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, 2013. In addition to his current projects, Reyes' Sanatorium (2011-present), a utopian "temporary clinic" designed to offer topical treatments for urban illnesses – stress, loneliness or hyper-stimulation – was exhibited as an off-site project for the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and in dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel. The third iteration of Sanatorium will be at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2013.

Marlon Forrester (painting) received a BFA from the School of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston/Tufts University ('08) and Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Art ('10). His work has been included in exhibitions in the United States and in Boston at Violence Transformed ('12), National Center For African American Artist ('12); Hallspace Gallery ('12); Bunker Hill Community College ('13), Samson Projects ('11). Forrester's work explores the corporate use of the black male body in sports (basketball), his paintings, mixed media works, sculptures, installations and video are mediations on exploitation and fear of the black male figure in America. He teaches in Boston Public Schools, and has led workshops at various colleges, universities and high schools. His works are in corporate and private collections.