Middle School Programs: Fall and Spring

MS Fall and Spring

Registration for Fall 2018 Classes is open!

NEW: Register online or download the Middle School Program Registration Form‌ [PDF] and do one of the following:

  • Email it to cs@saic.edu
  • Fax it to 312.629.6171
  • Drop it off at 36 Sout Wabash Avenue, Suite 1201, Chicago, IL 60603

Develop a Strong Foundation

Research conducted in recent years shows that arts education stimulates the essential innovation, creativity, and critical thinking skills our children need in today's world. For more than 130 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has offered public programs that strengthen the creative potential of generations of young people. Known previously as the Junior School, the Studios Program, and the Young Artists' Studios, today Continuing Studies' Children's Workshops in Art and Creativity and Middle School Program offer courses designed to give students the skills and confidence they need to successfully meet the unique challenges of the 21st century and beyond.

As students grow, gain confidence in their abilities, and progress to our Middle School Program, they begin to focus on media-specific and interdisciplinary approaches to art and design with an increased emphasis on expanding critical thinking skills. Our connection to the Art Institute of Chicago, access to SAIC's extensive facilities, resources, and outstanding instructors provide students unparalleled educational opportunities.


Featured Fall Classes

Painting Studio
Saturdays, 9:00a.m.-12:00 p.m.
September 29-December 8

In this course, students explore a variety of traditional painting techniques and contemporary approaches to cultivate their imaginative capacities as young artists. Projects include painting from observation and the imagination, using current artist practices and art historical examples. In addition, sculptural projects that stretch the boundaries of 'painting' may also be introduced. Each class begins with drawing exercises for students to organize their ideas; while this course focuses on painting, it relies on drawing as the foundation for a painting practice that combines shapes, forms, and colors to create illusions of depth on two-dimensional surfaces. Students learn the elements and principles of design while experimenting with scale by creating work that is larger-than-life, shrunken in scale, and many sizes in between. Students also explore a wide range of materials, such as pastels, acrylic and watercolor paint, charcoal, graphite, gouache, and colored pencils while developing skills in rendering with linear perspective, composition, various mark-making techniques, use of gradation shading, color blending, and layering processes. Weekly visits to the Art Institute of Chicago to observe and sketch from paintings and sculptures inspire studio work. This course is designed for beginning students with little painting/drawing experience, as well as for those students who want to continue developing their skills and confidence in painting.

Fashion Studio
Sundays, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
September 30-December 9

This course introduces young designers to fashion with an emphasis on discovering their own style while learning the technical skills that allow them to take their designs from concept to reality. Activities guide students through the process of developing original ideas, finding inspiration for fashion in the world around them, and responding to the work of other artists and designers. Students also explore sculptural draping by using paper to create exciting experimental garments on the dress form. As their designs develop, technical skills are introduced, including printing, embroidery, draping, and machine sewing. Visits to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Flaxman Library provide inspiration and supplement the studio experience. Working with hand-dyed fabric and deconstructed thrift store garments, each student creates a complete outfit for a runway fashion show at the end of the course. Lessons/projects change each semester so students may enroll in this course multiple times.

Animation studio
Sundays, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
September 30-December 9

This course is designed for students who wish to use both digital and traditional/analog media to create moving images. Students learn animation principles while discovering many different techniques, including stop-motion animation, frame-by-frame animation, digitally modified video, and 2D computer-aided animation. Digital tools including laptops, still cameras, video cameras, sound recorders, and drawing tablets may be used in conjunction with sketchbook work and traditional processes to reflect contemporary artistic hybrid methods. This course can be repeated for continued skill building in animation and digital art.