Registration for Fall 2018 is now open!

NEW: Register Online or download the Middle School Program Registration Form and:

  • Email it to
  • Fax it to 312.629.6171
  • Drop it off at 36 South Wabash Avenue, Suite 1201, Chicago, IL 60603

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 they're interested 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.

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.

Comics and Graphic Novels
Saturdays, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
September 29-December 8
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.