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Visionary Studios: Saturday Art Workshop

Art + Education

Visionary Studio: Saturday Art Workshop classes connect current social justice issues with dynamic art-making practices and media. Designed for high school students in the New York City area, participating students explore timely issues facing society such as climate change, racism and white supremacy, gender identity and bias, medical apartheid, economics, and politics by learning about the work of contemporary visual artists and drawing upon a rich array of innovative, multidisciplinary artistic approaches through which they can visually express their ideas.

Classes are taught by teams of graduate students in the Initial Certification in Art+Education program. Together, students and teachers consider ways in which artists can and do influence society, and experiment with techniques that include drawing, painting, printmaking, video, photography, 3-dimensional media, and installation. Workshop sessions challenge students to think outside of traditional artistic media and explore how artistic boundaries and influence can be stretched to include what has historically been excluded. As part of the program, students participate in a final exhibition inviting a wide audience of parents, friends, teachers, and NYU faculty, to see their work.

Classes are free and open to students with all levels of art experience!

Sessions run from 10 am–12 pm on Saturday mornings only in the Spring semester (March-May). High School students do not need a portfolio or any previous experience to apply.

Students at gallery show.


2021 THEMES:

Defund the Police!: Why divest from the current system of law enforcement?

Beginning with the slave police and continuing today, police brutality against Black and brown people in the US has led to senseless deaths that reached a tipping point with the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Citizens across the US are demanding that police department budgets be reduced or eliminated and that money be used to reinvest in communities of color that have been historically over-policed in order to support social services, housing, education, youth programs, and other community programs. Artists have joined the ‘defund the police’ movement calling on art institutions to break their connection to police departments and by creating artworks that address police brutality. Students will use a wide range of media and materials to explore how police violence affects all communities and reimagine humanity and safety for the 21st century. 

Contagious Times: How has the pandemic forced us to reimagine public health?

Although the coronavirus is affecting populations worldwide it has become abundantly clear that Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people are disproportionately affected in the United States. This pandemic has clearly exposed the racial fault lines of a healthcare system that for a long time has systematically neglected the wellbeing of people of color. Through a variety of media and community-based interventions, artists have explored the ways that racism is a public health issue, from envisioning alternative methods of healing and health to creating community-based health and wellness initiatives. This class will look to the work of artists past and present in order to envision new ways of supporting wellbeing and community-based health using different creative forms beyond traditional media.

There is no place like home: How can art help in the fight against housing insecurity and homelessness?

Housing insecurity, which is the inability to pay rent due to job loss and rising costs of rent is a reality for many in the United States - one of the richest countries in the world.  During the current pandemic, economically disenfranchised people - both white and people of color - have been hit particularly hard. Community organizers have been working to put a moratorium on evictions and cancel rent debt while artists and architects have addressed the housing crisis and homelessness by making this issue visible and envisioning alternative ways to create housing stability. Students will examine the history of housing insecurity in our country, as well as advocacy and activism efforts. Inspired by artistic activist practices and using a range of media, this class will envision new ways to address and eliminate housing insecurity and homelessness.

Women Lead: How have women and female-identifying folx paved the way to a more just and equitable world?

Women and female-identifying folx have always played crucial leadership roles in activism and social change -- from leading liberation movements during enslavement, to the suffragettes, indigenous activism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. In this class, students will investigate the important roles of women in major social movements and how their leadership was the foundation for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today as well as possible victories of tomorrow. The students will use a range of media to explore the work and strategies of contemporary artists who have inspired and honored the role of women in social organizing and activism. Students will develop ideas for paying tribute to, and continuing to build on their activist efforts across activist causes.    

Silent No More: How can art re-center the strength and joy of marginalized voices?

Stories are powerful tools through which we transmit culture, social and political values, and beliefs about what it means to be “American.” Dominant stories about the United States are perpetuated through the media, visual and popular culture that systematically excludes the histories and voices of BIPOC communities and individuals. Artists have played an important role in creating counter-stories and using their art as a space to elevate untold, hidden, and silenced narratives. Students will work in a wide variety of media to explore and critique current narratives in the media and popular culture, as well as create counter stories that reorient the ways people of color are represented, seen, and heard.

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The NYU Art+Education Visionary Studios Saturday Workshop is a theme-based studio art program that addresses significant social issues and the ways in which art and artists influence society. Participating high school students choose from different themes and draw upon a rich array of innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to visually express their ideas.

Learn More

Students looking at art.

Each year Visionary Studios: Saturday Workshop classes explore current issues and timely social themes. Find out more about past themes and see examples of student artwork and final exhibitions on our program blog.

View Our Program Blog

Student Testimonials

From High School Students:

“I was so happy to meet people who share my ideas and want to make a change in our society.” 

I didn’t realize how we as humans are affecting our selves and our planet.  I was surprised that so many artists use climate change as a subject in their art.” 

I learned how important it is to be an activist.”

From Grad Students:

“What I appreciated most about Visionary Studios is that both the teachers and students sustainably embraced the unknown in their respective creative work. I was working with students and we trusted each other every step of the way. That was a gift.”