This past summer while my friends wiled away time doing menial labor and earning cash, I shelled out money to travel to Providence, Rhode Island to learn more about architectural design.
The PreCollege Program at Rhode Island School of Design is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school. It runs for six weeks from late June to early August and features areas of study that include Ceramics, Drawing, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Jewelry, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Architectural Design, and Textile Design. Monday and Tuesdays featured six-hour classes within my major. Wednesday was Basic Design and Thursday was Basic Drawing, each also for six hours. Art History on Fridays provided sleep time, since lectures did not begin until ten, while class time was usually 8:30.
Aside from the tough course work and masses of work, the program was focused and educational. For any student with an interest in the arts, the work was realistic, and also endlessly useful in terms of compiling a portfolio. I produced more work in six weeks than I had in any of my previous art classes in school. My teachers knew just how to push us without discouraging us.
When my roommate and I weren't stressing about work, or eating, we were exploring the ESPN Extreme Games, attending free concerts at Providence's Waterplace Park, and shopping in the thrift stores. Providence is a thriving college town full of shops and people, even in summer. And when we got sick of the food at the Metcalf Refectory (that's the cafeteria), there were tons of food establishments only blocks away that were affordable.
The R.I.S.D Summer Program is an excellent experience for any high school student facing another summer in their hometown with no plans. It offers an opportunity to focus on a particular area of art and to see what art school would be like, as well as to meet peers with similar interests in the arts. Not only did I meet some of the nicest people in the Western Hemisphere, but I also learned that architectural design is a tough field. For more information, write to R.I.S.D. Summer Program, Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903 or call 800-364-RISD. @
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.