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FAQs of RISD Summer Teen Art Institute

2020 - 02 - 11

About RISD

Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design is one of the oldest and best-known colleges of art and design in the U.S. Each year, approximately 2,300 students from around the world pursue a creative, studio-based education at RISD, which offers rigorous bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in 19 architecture, design, fine arts and art education majors. Today, RISD stands out among the world’s preeminent colleges of art and design.

Program Overview

The RISD Continuing Education and HD Shanghai Bilingual School three-week art immersion program provides an opportunity for 9-12 grade students to immerse themselves into a critical art and design experience. Students who are passionate about visual arts can engage in a rigorous studio practice informed by RISD’s renowned approach to art and design education.

The full-immersion format ensures that students of all skill levels can absorb a vital creative sensibility (beyond prescriptive formulas), that will help define strategies for portfolio development and next steps in their visual arts education. Full-day studio classes provide students the opportunity to challenge their thought process, explore meaning in their work and give voice to their personal visual expression.

Courses are taught by professional artists, adept at pushing students to focus on process and experimental-based artmaking to help achieve unexpected results. Instructors provide final assessments and recommendations for student continued artistic and portfolio development, as well as insight into potential education and career opportunities.


Frequently Asked Questions:

·     About the class content

1.   What all will be covered in the program in the course e.g. techniques, mediums?


Overall coursework will be focused on direct observation and representational drawing and painting. Students will develop problem-solving skills, whereby they will learn how to use a formal vocabulary to communicate conceptual explorations. Emphasis is placed on process and iteration to help students learn how to develop a concept-and-skills integrated practice of art-making.


Design Essentials: Students will explore both formal and conceptual design principles, with the former covering color theory, patterning, composition, structure, scale, and the latter calling for visual realizations to abstract concepts such as memory and time. Work will be using acrylic painting techniques with a focus on color mixing and monochrome painting studies from life. 

Drawing Explorations: Students will work with a variety of media which may include graphite, ink, and charcoal emphasizing observation and interpretation (mark-making) of line, volume, shape, negative space, scale, weight, light/shadow, contrast, composition, rhythm, movement, and texture in order to best communicate concepts. Work will expand into experimentation with collage techniques utilizing student’s photos of nature leading to a personal, narrative artwork. 


2.   Apart from the traditional painting and drawing, will installation art and video art be included in the curriculum?

No, there won’t be any kind of these demonstrated in the class. However, students will be challenged to work in different mediums and use a variety of materials. 


3.   During the whole program, does every student have to draw the same thing? Or the teacher will communicate with the student desperately and then they all have to accomplish different artwork? Or do you have the same class curriculum, but each student have the chance to make their own artwork independently? As the information about how the class is conveyed is very general, we would like to know more about exact what will happen during the class.


Emphasis of this summer program is placed on process and iteration to help students learn how to develop a concept-and-skills integrated practice of art-making. The students will take a class as a group, and the instructors will encourage and teach the students to work on their own project. During the class, the instructor will offer feedback to each individual artwork. Students can use the open studio from 4-7pm during the weekdays and during weekend for their own learning purpose.

4.   What’s the difference between the summer program in Shanghai HD and in RISD, US?


The summer program is the first official RISD program for high school students in China, supported by the Shanghai HD. The courses are designed to expose students in China to experimental learning and studio-based learning; assignments are designed to encourage exploration, questioning and risk-taking.


This program was developed as a condensed version of the RISD Pre-College program in Rhode Island which would allow more students access to an immersive art program. In both programs, courses are taught by professional artists, both are RISD faculty members, and supported by two RISD students or graduates. RISD uses the open studio as a unique way of teaching.



5.   Will there be homework?

Yes, absolutely. Students should plan to spend a good portion of their time out of the classroom on homework practicing what they learn in class, refining new skills, and completing assigned projects. Open studio in the evening and the weekend allow for students to continue their work outside of the classroom.


6.   Schedule of Courses?


Students will have two days of Drawing Exploration and two days of Design Essentials. However, faculty may combine courses to create co-teaching opportunities. On Fridays, students can expect crits, special topics such as portfolio development, etc.


7.   What’s the daily time arrangement?


Daily class hours are: 9: 00-16: 00 Monday to Friday, and open studio will be available after class from Monday to Thursday, from 16: 00-19: 00.  Open studio opening time during the weekends, from 9:00-16:00. The actual schedule of each day is based on the schedule published before the summer program starts.


·     About Interaction with Instructors

1.   Will they get (the parents) an opportunity to interact with the instructors?

Instructors will attend the final showcase, and at that time, parents are able to interact. Due to the short and intensive nature of the program instructors will not be directly available to parents throughout the program, however, an email may be sent to all parents providing updates on the program and happenings.  

2.   Is there portfolio or one-on-one help by the instructors?


Throughout the program, instructors will be available to provide feedback on individual work and help students understand the process of creating a portfolio—this is conveyed throughout the curriculum. After class, upon request and at the instructor’s discretion (given time constraints), portfolio advisement may be available. It is important to note that the program does not guarantee there will be a final portfolio, but rather the Summer Teen Art Institute will help students of all skill levels absorb a vital creative sensibility that will help define strategies for portfolio development and next steps in their visual arts education.


3.   My child is now a Grade 10 student. We have planned to apply for RISD and now is preparing the art portfolio. We would like to ask if the instructors of this summer program will be available to take a look at the art portfolio we prepared and make some suggestion.

While the faculty will not give direct feedback to work produced outside of the program and prepared for portfolio applications, portfolio development is integrated within the curriculum; Instructors provide final assessments and recommendations for student continued artistic and portfolio development, as well as insight into potential education and career opportunities.


·     About Program result

1.   What will students receive at the end of program?

At the conclusion of the program, students will receive a certificate of completion at the final showcase on Saturday August, 1.

2.   Will the students receive a letter of recommendation?

As a short program, students will not receive a letter of recommendation from faculty.

3.   Will this program help students get into RISD?

No, participation in Teen Summer Institute does not guarantee admission to RISD’s degree program. For more information on how to apply for an undergraduate degree at RISD, visit the Admissions page or contact the team with any questions.


·     About Application

1.   Do the student who doesn’t attend the international school have to take the language test? And can we upload the language certificate after the application deadline, as the process to get the certificate from TOFEL or IELTS is quite long. 

For students, who’s mother tongue is not English, they have to submit the English language test result before March 27th. The proficiency in English is a must to join the program. If it’s too late for students to sign up for the IELTS or TOFEL test, parents can consider the online Duolingo test. Please click the following link for more information: 

2.   My child is currently a Grade 7 student and in September this year, she will move to Grade 8. She has learned painting for year and speaks fluent English. I have read the poster of the RISD summer program and realized that only students of Grade 9 to Grade 12 can sign up. Does that mean I can apply for joining for my child? Or if my child is really talented at painting and equipped with excellent skill, is there any chance that my child could receive the offer?

The summer program is suitable for students currently in Grade 8-12. We fully understand the passionate of students towards this program and this is a good opportunity for them to learn but considering that students below the Grade 8 are not mature enough in independent thinking, which will affect their degree of understanding and experience of the course. We highly recommend your child apply for the program in 2021.

3.   Will you have the RISD program next year? Maybe during the winter holiday?

At this time, we do not have a planned schedule for additional programs. You can follow the "Shanghai HD" official wechat account or official website for more information. You can also fill in a questionnaire on the needs of the art summer program through the link: Please leave your contact information at the end of the questionnaire to get the latest information about the RISD summer program.


·     About Accommodation

1.   Is there any price and student friendly hotel that is in 15mins distance from the HD campus? And will there be a teacher who stayed with the students during the 3-week stay in hotel?

We recommend our students to stay in Minimax or Ramada Hotel. Both are in 10 mins driving distance from the Shanghai HD campus and offered reasonable price (Breakfast included). As this is not a boarding school program, we will not guarantee an assistance coordinator arranged by school in hotel.

For more information or to learn how to apply, please scan following QR code: