Explore. Imagine. Discover.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Middle School Program (MSP) for children ages 10-13 offers a rigorous investigation into art and design materials, techniques, and ideas. Whether their interests are in drawing, painting, fashion, digital design, animation, architecture, or sculpture, our courses are designed to broaden students' education so they can be successful creative thinkers and makers in high school and beyond.

Registration for Fall 2017 courses is now open. The deadline to register is Monday, September 25th, 2017!

To register, download the Middle School Program registration form and:

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


Designed Inventions (#2588)
Saturdays, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Transform everyday obstacles, frustrations, or opportunities into new objects, products, or ideas. Think of the trampoline, magnetic locker wallpaper, popsicles, T-Pak, and Algae Mobile- all invented by kids! In this exciting course, students use the process of invention (i.e., solving problems) to explore the fundamental principles of design, using both traditional and digital methods. From sketches to paper mock-ups to 3D modeling to package design, students experience the design process in the same way professional designers do. This camp also serves as an introduction to the Adobe Creative Suite software, using programs such as Illustrator and/or Photoshop. Students learn firsthand from contemporary design while visiting the vast collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and observing examples of design in the urban environment of downtown Chicago.

Fashion Studio (#2570)
Sundays, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
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 (#2567)
Sundays, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
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.

Comics/Graphic Novels (#2568)
Saturdays, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
This course guides students through the process of bringing illustrations to the next level by creating unique comics and graphic novels. Emphasis is placed on storytelling, introducing students to character development, plot structure, scripting, and storyboarding. Skills in pencilling, inking, coloring, space, and perspective are introduced through the use of a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional media, which may include colored pencils, oil pastels, watercolors, digitally edited drawings, and/or handmade zines. Artist presentations, trips to the Art Institute of Chicago, and visits to downtown Chicago's vast array of public art provide inspiration and drawing practice as an entry into the basics of comic narrative and stylization. *Basic drawing skills are helpful, but not required.