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RISD Pre-College Celebrates 50 Years

RISD Pre-College Celebrates 50 Years

Pre-College administrators prepare for the first on-campus summer programming since the onset of the pandemic.

illustration by CE student Tina Jiang

Pre-College student Tina Jiang created this digital illustration in a Design Foundations class.

As RISD students return to a frigid Providence campus for Wintersession classes, aspiring young artists and designers from across the country and beyond are sending in their applications for the first in-person summer Pre-College session since the onset of the pandemic. RISD’s Continuing Education division is looking forward to celebrating what will be the 50th Pre-College program since its launch in 1971.

black-and-white illustration by CE student Hua Kexin

colorful illustration by a CE student
Work by Advanced Program students Kexin Hua (top image) and Nancy Dedman.

“Of course, we’re paying close attention to COVID statistics and health and safety regulations from the CDC and the Rhode Island Department of Health,” says CE’s Executive Director Sarah Caggiano, “but we have every reason to believe that campus will be buzzing with the energy and creativity of hundreds of Pre-College students come June 25.”

“We have every reason to believe that campus will be buzzing with the energy and creativity of hundreds of Pre-College students come June 25.”

Sarah Caggiano, Continuing Education

The six-week program began with just a few dozen students in one building. This summer hundreds of students will make their way to RISD to experience a college-level curriculum featuring daylong studio classes, inspiring visits to the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab and the RISD Museum, and critiques and final projects that will help shape the way they approach art and design, whether or not they eventually earn their undergraduate degrees at RISD.

a Continuing Ed student at work in the studio

a soft sculptural piece by a CE student
Above, a Pre-College student builds an architectural model. Below, a soft sculptural piece by Advanced Program participant Qinzhi Wang.

“In addition to the immeasurable benefits of studying with RISD’s dedicated Continuing Education faculty members, just working alongside other talented and highly motivated students makes the Pre-College experience a life-changer,” says Director of Academic Programs Mariah Doren. The program’s 10,000+ alumni from every state in the US as well as 84 other countries can attest to the program’s impact.

“Just working alongside other talented and highly motivated students makes the Pre-College experience a life-changer.”

Mariah Doren, Continuing Education

“I attended the summer before my senior year of high school, and it was really my first introduction to understanding what a career in design could mean,” says fashion designer, RISD Pre-College alum and Creatives Want Change cofounder Matthew Kane. “I didn’t go to design school until after college, but the RISD program gave me the confidence to pursue that later on.”

painting of a cat sitting on a bench

black-and-white self-portrait
Work by by Advanced Program student Feiye Fan and Pre-College student Joseph Grajales.

The Continuing Education division has also done a remarkable job of pivoting to online learning in response to COVID and recently reimagined its pre-collegiate programming to include the intensive Advanced Program Online as a more flexible experience that allows for greater accessibility and a more diverse student population. Visit CE’s website for more information about these programs and its entire suite of art and design classes for kids, teenagers and adults.

Simone Solondz

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