School on Saturday? Art education programs offers weekend studio program to public high school students

On Saturday mornings this past spring, Steinhardt’s art education program offered a studio art course for 45 high school students from New York City’s public schools.   The students were paired with master’s students and were offered theme-based contemporary art classes focused on artistic forms of civic engagement. Students studied war, propaganda, pop culture, and the environment, and learned ways to integrate them into their work.  The class culminated with an exhibit at the Barney Building.

“The high school students enrolled in the Saturday classes seem very keen to be participating in the program and are clearly learning a great deal from the experience,” said Phoebe Zinman, who recruited the students from 17 New York City public schools.

The program benefits the high school students by “exposing them to innovative practices and rich languages of artistic expression and communication that contemporary artists regularly employ and helps them to understand the important social roles artists can play in contemporary culture,” Zinman said.

The Saturday workshop is a part of a course requirement for School Arts II, a required class for those enrolled in the arts education masters program.

“Our MA students are making a special effort each week to research and introduce their students to contemporary artists and artworks connected to the course themes,” said David Darts, an assistant professor who has supervised masters candidates in the program.

For master’s students who will one day teach, the Saturday seminar is their first formal experience working with young people in a classroom.  It also serves as an opportunity to experience the power of teaching through and with contemporary art..

Darts added, “The seminar has proven to be an excellent way to connect theory to practice and has definitely served to enrich our Monday night seminar discussions around issues of curriculum and pedagogy.

The NYU Steinhardt Saturday Studio Art Program for High School Students offered scholarships to students through the support of the Steinhardt Office of the Dean, the Department of Art and Art Professions, and the NYU Office of Civic Engagement.  The program  also received assistance from the Office for Planning and Communications, and the Office of Academic Initiatives and Global Programs.

The Art Education program is designed for students who wish to pursue graduate-level professional training as artist-teachers in public and private schools, museums, community-based programs, and other alternative educational sites. It also prepares students to be innovative researchers and strong advocates of the arts in schools.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact Phoebe Zinman, Program Coordinator at (212) 998.9022 or

(Photo Caption:  Integrating social activism into art was one of the topics that high school students studied at an intensive Saturday workshop offered by Steinhardt’s Department of Art and Arts Professions.  Denisa Kolenovic poses below her stencil poster.)