Portfolio Plus Program

  • Studio Art concentration. Photo by Joe Angeles.
    Studio Art concentration. Photo by Joe Angeles.
  • Communication Design concentration. Photo by Joe Angeles.
    Communication Design concentration. Photo by Joe Angeles.
  • Fashion Design concentration. Photo by Joe Angeles.
    Fashion Design concentration. Photo by Joe Angeles.
  • Drawing studio.
    Drawing studio.
  • Closing exhibition, Steinberg Hall Gallery.
    Closing exhibition, Steinberg Hall Gallery.
  • Trip to the Kemper Art Museum. Photo by Whitney Curtis.
    Trip to the Kemper Art Museum. Photo by Whitney Curtis.

2019 Portfolio Plus Program
3 weeks | July 7-27, 2019
3 college credits
*Please note the application deadline for this program has passed.

The Portfolio Plus Program invites high school students to take college-level art and design courses. You will spend your mornings learning the fundamentals of drawing and your afternoons pursuing a studio concentration of your choice: communication design, fashion design, or studio art. With guidance from Sam Fox School faculty, you will work throughout our intensive three-week program to develop strong portfolios for college admission. Studio work is rounded out by organized trips to museums, visits to artists' and designers' studios, and workshops.

This program is recommended for rising juniors and seniors in high school. Upon successful completion, you'll earn 3 college credits.


Each weekday morning, you will take part in a Drawing course, where you will use a variety of dry media to learn the fundamentals of line, composition, form, space, and modeling. Demonstrations and illustrated lectures supplement studio sessions, in addition to a trip to the Study Room for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

During the afternoon session, you will pursue your choice of one of three concentrations, which reflect the degree paths offered through the Sam Fox School's Bachelor of Fine Arts program:

Communication Design: Positioned at the intersection of graphic design, illustration, and interaction design, Communication Design will introduce you to visual problem solving using elements of two-dimensional design, such as visual hierarchy, composition, typography, color, and image making. The course explores both traditional and digital tools, with studio assignments supported by workshops aimed at developing computer skills.

Fashion Design: Fashion Design focuses on the relationship between clothing and contemporary culture. You'll begin by learning to conceptualize and illustrate your designs two-dimensionally. Sketches translate into wearable artworks, with a focus on construction, proportion, and form. Your work culminates in a final garment constructed from alternative materials.

Studio Art: Studio Art explores techniques and strategies for working across disciplines in visual art. With an emphasis on experimentation and thinking through making, the course will expand your base of technical skills and equip you with a greater understanding of how the interrelation of form, content, materials, and process give work its meaning.

In addition, the program includes a series of weekend workshops in the areas of printmaking, photography, and book-making, which provide opportunities to explore additional media and techniques.

Course work is also complemented by additional events and activities, including:

- Guest lectures by artists, designers, and curators.
- Artwork documentation workshop.
- Presentations on topics such as research, portfolio preparation, and the college admission process.
- Field trips to places such as the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Kemper Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Fashion Fund, Tremendousness, and local artists' and designers' studios.
- Design and installation of a final exhibition of work.


John Early
Program Director; Lecturer, Studio Art
John Early is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose work documents the dynamics of permanence and change in the world around us. Two of his current projects include a self-published artist's book of snapshots from Florence, Italy, and a sculptural installation created as part of the Material World of Modern Segregation project headed by WashU's American Culture Studies Program. As an instructor, he strives to make the studio a laboratory for experimentation and risk-taking to help students build confidence as makers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, he has lived in St. Louis for the past fourteen years.

*Additional faculty for summer 2019 are being finalized; please check back for updates.

Tuition, Room, & Board

The estimated cost of the 2019 Portfolio Plus Program is $5,198. These costs include tuition, room, board (3 meals per day), supplies, and field trips. An additional $100 should be budgeted as extra spending money for purchases such as snacks, entertainment, souvenirs, etc. Upon acceptance to the program, a $250 non-refundable deposit will be required by June 1, 2019, to reserve your space in the program. If you withdraw from the program after classes begin, no portion of tuition will be refunded.

You will live in one of our modern residence houses on the WashU campus. Study rooms, kitchenettes, laundry facilities, floor lounges, and a computer lab are available. Program Assistants are current undergraduates or recent graduates who live in the residence houses, assist in your classes, chaperone field trips, and guide you through the program. With your meal plan, you get to enjoy a variety of food choices available across campus.


Please note the application deadline for the summer 2019 program has passed.


Scholarship assistance is available, up to the full cost of attendance. Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and academic merit. The program deposit is waived for students requiring scholarship assistance. The program deposit will be waived for students receiving scholarship assistance. The scholarship application package must be received by March 15, 2019 in order to be considered.


For more information about the Architecture Discovery Program or application process, please contact:

Courtney Cushard
Coordinator of Special Programs

Rachel Youn
Admissions Counselor