Visual Arts

Attention Staten Island students: Apply for online summer arts program

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Students from across New York State can apply for the 2021 New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) program — a four-week summer program that allows students to experience extensive work and interaction with internationally acclaimed artists and performing arts companies, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) announced.

The program provides more than 400 of New York’s most talented students the opportunity for advanced study in the visual and performing arts fields. It’s comprised of seven component schools: Theater, Ballet, Modern Dance, Orchestral Studies, Choral and Vocal Studies, Visual Arts, and Media Arts. It offers highly competitive pre-professional training to promising artists from a variety of disciplines.

“In its 50-year history, NYSSSA has never missed a summer to support young artists,” said Molly Hennighausen, executive director of NYSSSA. “Yes, this summer will look different than our in-person programming and we look forward to returning to that in the future. That said, we are excited to build upon everything we learned last year to offer an even more robust online program for young artists across the state.”


The program is typically experienced as a four-week residential arts program, but NYSSSA staff adapted the curriculum due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In order to ensure safety, the summer program will be held fully online in 2021. The modified program will continue to give students a unique opportunity to experience the rigors of their chosen arts field.

Since the program is fully online, NYSED stated that tuition will be free for students who qualify for it.

“The New York State Summer School of the Arts is a remarkable program and we are so proud to continue to offer students incredible experiences this year, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,” Board of Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown said. “I am especially gratified that we are able to open NYSSSA to even more students by increasing access through our virtual platform and I urge parents and students to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity to connect with and learn from accomplished artists.”

Students in grades 8-12 throughout the state are encouraged to apply on the NYSSSA website. Auditions and portfolio reviews will take place online in January and February.

Here is a closer look at each of the seven component schools available through the fully remote program next summer.

  • The School of Ballet will be a series of online classes hosted through Zoom. The School of Ballet is led by New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Daniel Ulbricht, features a faculty of dancers from around the country, and provides intensive ballet technique instruction as well as pointe, character, jazz, variations, and pas de deux classes.
  • The School of Theatre will be a series of consecutive online classes hosted through Zoom over four weeks. The program provides students with intensive instruction in acting, movement, improvisation, and voice, working side by side with nationally recognized faculty. Under the artistic direction of Margaret Denithorne, daily classes include monologue review, improvisation, scene study, and movement, along with guest artist workshops in college audition preparation, self-taping, and more.
  • The School of Visual Arts will be a series of live-streamed 60-90 minute sessions that meet once a week for four weeks. Directed by acclaimed artist and Metropolitan Museum of Art educator Yayoi Asoma, NYSSSA educators will give 10 different workshops on mixed media, figure studies, sequential art, printmaking, drawing and painting, sculpture, and more as well as providing feedback to students and holding critiques individually.
  • The School of Choral Studies will host a series of online sessions over the course of several weeks. The sessions will include workshops on music theory and history, vocal health, vocal warmups, college selection and audition preparation, ear training, musical theatre, and more. Each workshop will feature a world-class group of educators and musicians, some of whom have been teaching at NYSSSA for over 20 years.
  • The School of Media Arts will include a four-week-long series of consecutive live-streamed and asynchronous screenings/workshops on the tools, techniques, and critical concepts of multi-disciplinary media arts, including animation, sound art, 16mm handmade films, video, and photography. In contrast to the in-person Media Arts program, the virtual summer program marries these disciplines into one multi-media, multi-disciplinary media arts class. Under the direction of Ghen Zando-Dennis, students will have the opportunity to investigate new mediums and explore the ways that the media arts practices are not fixed.
  • The School of Dance will be a series of consecutive online classes hosted through Zoom over the course of four weeks. Under the direction of Carolyn Adams, former Paul Taylor Principal Dancer, students study with a diverse faculty of nationally acclaimed dancers. Students take daily classes in Limon, Graham, Horton, Cunningham, and Taylor technique, as well as composition, repertory, and performance. Students also will participate in guest artist workshops with well-known companies and choreographers-in-residence such as Robert Battle and Earl Mosley.
  • The School of Orchestral Studies will contain a series of masterclasses with The Philadelphia Orchestra and intensive chamber music ensembles over the course of two weeks. Under the direction of Dr. Bruce Kiesling, the unique partnership maintained between the School of Orchestral Studies and the Philadelphia Orchestra will be expanded this summer to include more opportunities for more student musicians.


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