The Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art is an amazing educational resource for students hoping to study art or pursue art-related programs and majors at the postsecondary level.
Open 365 days per year, the National Gallery not only houses an incomparable art collection but also sponsors educational outreach programs—all FREE of charge to the public.
Here are a few programs specifically targeted to teens interested in building portfolios or learning more about art in general:
Teen Volunteer Program
The National Gallery of Art recruits local high school student volunteers for the summer, fall and spring terms. Student volunteers help with administrative tasks supporting educational programs including preparing materials for art projects and assisting during teacher programs.
Students applying for the Teen Volunteer program must be rising juniors or seniors. The schedule will vary each week, based on the number of projects to be completed, and the time commitment can range from four to eight hours per week with occasional weekend work.
Applications for next summer may be found on line and must be postmarked by May 4, 2012.
High School Summer Institute
Each June, a select group of high school student spends two weeks exploring the National Gallery of Art and is introduced to a variety of art careers through behind-the-scenes tours and job shadows. The program is designed to foster discussions about art in the Gallery’s collection and includes work on a student exhibition that will be open to the public.
Participants are chosen through a competitive application process that typically closes in mid-April. Students in grades nine through twelve with a genuine interest in art and museums are encouraged to apply.
This year’s program will take place on June 18-29. More information may be found on the SummerInstitute webpage.
High School Seminar
This program introduces upper-level high school students to the study of art history, art-making techniques, and museum careers. Participants discuss original works in the galleries, research themes of their choice, and experience behind-the-scenes visits with museum professionals.
Sessions meet for ten Saturdays, and individual students must be sponsored by their art teachers. Only one student per school will be accepted.
High School Studio Saturdays
Students are invited to spend a day at the National Gallery of Art looking at works of art, experimenting with studio materials and techniques, and meeting other teens interested in art. Led by artists and museum directors, each 5-hour workshop includes gallery visits, group discussions, art instruction, and open studio time to experiment with materials and crate a work of art.
Teens in grades 9 through 12 may participate. The program is free, but preregistration is required. Online registration dates are cited in individual program descriptions which will periodically appear.
The Gallery’s Film Program for Children and Teens offers a variety of films including animation, live action, and classics. The goal is to foster an understanding of film as an art form.
All films are shown in the East Building Auditorium and no registration is required. Programs are free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-seated basis. A list of upcoming films is provided on the Programs & Events webpage.