Summer Teen Art Institute

Hosted at the HD Shanghai School in Shanghai, China

RISD’s Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai connects high school students with its renowned approach to art and design education. This residential program (taught in English) is an exciting opportunity for students to develop their skills, goals and artistic voice while defining strategies for portfolio development and next steps in their visual arts education.

2024 program dates:

3-Week Foundations Experience: July 7–27
2 Week Major Intensive: July 28–August 10
Application opens: January 22 at 9 am ET

Teenage students hanging artwork.

New students can enroll in the full five-week program, or can choose to only participate in the three-week foundations experience or two-week major intensive. Returning students can continue their experience by enrolling in the two-week major intensive.

3-Week Foundations Experience: The institute will start with a three-week foundational program, which incorporates the fundamentals of drawing explorations, design essentials, process, materials, rigorous inquiry, and conceptual thinking. Students in this program will participate in two courses: Design Essentials and Drawing Explorations. This three-week experience runs from July 7–27, 2024.

2-Week Major Intensive: By popular demand, the institute will offer a two-week in-depth exploration of a specific discipline. Students will have the opportunity to build on their foundational work by selecting a major, which will allow them to focus on a particular field in design or fine art. This intensive program will allow students to explore the methods and approaches of specific industries and the ways in which art and design education can be applied across society. This two-week experience runs from July 28–August 10, 2024. We recommended that students complete the foundations experience prior to participating in the major intensive, but it is not required. Students who have not participated in the foundations experience are welcome to apply for the major intensive. When applying they will be asked to provide additional evidence of their skills and commitment to the program.

5-Week Intensive: Students who are admitted to both programs can bundle these experiences for a discounted rate. Both portions of the program inform and build upon one another to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience. The full five-week program runs from July 7–August 10, 2024.

In studio, coursework is project-based and experiential, and provides students the opportunity to be challenged in new ways of thinking, explore meaning in their work and give voice to their personal visual expression—key assets sought by art college portfolio reviewers. Emphasis in studio work is on exploration and inquiry through demonstrations and assignments, research and material investigations. Students will participate in critiques and receive verbal and written feedback on their work. Critique is crucial to creative process and advancement; it provides students with a visual language that can reinforce, challenge and change ideas. Throughout the program students will develop a series of visual studies—investigation through sketching and prototyping—that will inform their portfolio development.

Both programs will include live Zoom meeting times with RISD faculty (18 hours per course), daily studio work facilitated by on-site RISD alumni instructors, enrichment and developmental opportunities, open work time for assignments and a final exhibition, and small group collaborations or personalized support from on-site tutors. Additional coursework and engagement will occur through Canvas, our learning management system. The program will conclude with a final exhibition and a certificate of completion.

Courses are taught by RISD faculty who are professional artists adept at pushing students to focus on process and experimental-based artmaking to help achieve unexpected results. Instructors provide final assessments and feedback for a student’s continued artistic and portfolio development, as well as insight into potential education and career opportunities.

In addition to a vibrant studio culture and interaction with expert faculty, students will benefit from additional enrichment opportunities that are included as part of this residential experience. These include:

  • Admissions information session: A session led by RISD Admissions (open to students and guardians) that guides them through the ins and outs of the RISD Admissions process.
  • Summer portfolio reviews: The opportunity (after the program) to participate in a live 10-minute portfolio review session facilitated by the RISD Admissions office.
  • Social events: Opportunities to relax, unwind and have fun with your peers.
  • Cultural activities: The HD School offers occasional weekend and off-hour opportunities to hear from guest speakers, learn from RISD alumni tutors and attend excursions such as visits to local museums.

Foundation Experience (3 weeks):
$7,200 Tuition
$1,000 Residential fee
$60 Application fee

Major Intensive (2 weeks):
$5,400 Tuition
$700 Residential fee
$60 Application fee

5-week bundle (saves $600):
$12,000 Tuition
$1,700 Residential fee
$60 Application fee
This is a special discounted bundle rate ($600 off) that is available for students who are admitted to the full 5-week experience in the same summer.

Tuition includes all necessary art supplies.

For inquiries about the residential and logistical aspects of the program, contact

For more information, please email

Application opens: January 22, 2024 at 9 am ET
Applications are reviewed on a rolling, first come-first served basis. If space permits, final applications will be due by May 6 at 12 pm ET.

How to apply:

  • Create an application on the Application Dashboard. At the bottom of the page, First Time Users, click “Create an account” to start a new application.
  • Once you have created an account, click “Start New Application” at the bottom of the page.
  • In the drop-down menu, select application type: “2024 Shanghai Summer Teen Art Institute.”
  • Complete all steps before submitting your application.

Student survey

In a survey of students in the 2023 program:


Agree that the courses were challenging and inspiring


Said the courses exceeded their expectations

“This program was really helpful and gave me the experience of making art all day, every day. And I do feel like going to an art college would be a good idea after attending! I really like to work with people who are also interested in art, it was so nice!”

“I’ve learned and experimented so much [by] completing the assignments. I also enjoyed critiques as I received a lot of practical feedback and learned from my peers. I gradually got used to the process of developing whole projects from sketches to the final pieces. And that’s the most important thing I’ll take away with me because it’ll guide me to create independently as an artist/art student.”

“I liked the high amount of work we had to do and how it really gave me an idea of the workload I would get if I entered art. I also loved the environment and level of my peers, as it pushed and inspired me.”

Parent/guardian survey

In a survey of parents/guardians of students in the 2023 program:


Helped them and their student decide next steps and goals for their education


Saw improvement or moderate improvement in their student’s overall development


Saw improvement or moderate improvement in their student’s artwork

“My child is very interested in visual art and wants to study visual art in college. This program provides a perfect opportunity for her to enrich her learning experience and a platform to communicate with peers who also love art.”

“This program is beyond our expectation. We were concerned about the tight schedule and the high workload for our daughter at the beginning. But with the support and encouragement from teachers, she managed to follow the pace of the program and to make tremendous efforts to pursue excellence. She has made great improvement on working independently, and gained more confidence in expressing herself. We appreciate all the efforts made by teachers, organizers and assistants of this program. Thank you very much!”

RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai
RISD Summer Teen Art Institute Shanghai