Arts Academy Boarding High School: Visual Arts Major

The Visual Arts program at Interlochen Arts Academy boarding high school develops a young artist's technical abilities and personal vision through the study of a variety of traditional and contemporary media. Creative problem solving, critical thinking and a broad range of experiences build the foundation for deeper understanding, advanced learning, and innovation within the various media.

How to Apply

  1. Prepare the materials listed here: portfolio requirements
  2. Complete the online application
  3. Submit your portfolio to http://academy.interlochen.org/submit

Though not required, a campus visit is recommended. You can tour the campus, visit classes, and possibly take in a performance or exhibition. You can meet and talk with students who are living the Academy experience. You may also arrange for a portfolio review.

Our enrollment officers are here to help you in any way they can. If you wish to talk with someone about Academy programs, the application process, a campus visit, portfolio presentations, or other topics, they will be happy to work with you. Simply call 800.681.5912 or 231.276.7472 or email admission@interlochen.org.

Facilities and Resources

The Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts contains eight separate studios that provide all the tools needed for students to fully explore their own creative potential.

Digital Arts Studio: features 24-inch iMac computers with the Adobe Creative Suite. The lab is also equipped with scanners and printers including a large-format 44-inch printer.

Photography Studio: includes a fully-equipped darkroom with enlargers that can handle standard 35mm film up to 4x5 film. This space also includes a lighting studio and a variety of cameras from pinhole to medium and large format.

Printmaking Studio:
 provides all the tools and equipment needed for a variety of different printmaking techniques such as etching, stone lithography, screen printing, wood-cut printing, linocut printing and collographic printing.

Fiber arts Studio:
 set up for a variety of soft construction techniques such as weaving, felting, crocheting, piecing and stitching. The facilities also accommodate a variety of surface design techniques such as dying, batik, embroidery and papermaking.

Metals Studio: provides all the tools and equipment needed for a variety of different approaches to metal-smithing including cold connections, texturing, raising, soldering, casting and enameling.  
 
Sculpture Studio: accommodates work in a variety of three-dimensional methods including casting, welding, plaster and wood. This space is equipped with a Torchmate 2x4 CNC Router. Students also have access to the sculpture patio for large-scale work.

Ceramics Studio: a studio where students learn to mix their own clay, work with glaze chemistry and assist with firings. The studio features throwing wheels, a large spray booth, three electric kilns, two large gas kilns and two raku kilns.

Painting and Drawing Studio: 
spacious studios with large windows offering ample natural light and great views. Students have their own spaces in each of these studios with an easel and taboret or drawing table.

Exhibition Opportunities

Visual arts students have many opportunities to show their work throughout the year. Student work is displayed in prominent locations throughout the visual arts building and around the campus. The new visual arts building includes a 1,600 square-foot gallery that houses regular exhibitions including:

  • Annual Juried Student Exhibition – Each year, a noted artist or curator selects the exhibition from student submissions.
  • Senior Thesis Exhibitions – Graduating seniors work throughout the year to develop an idea into a formal visual presentation.
  • Festival Exhibition – Open to all visual arts majors, the Festival Exhibition showcases a variety of student work. 
  • Visual Arts Student Showcases – Student work is presented in the visual arts building and studios several times throughout the year.
  • Visiting Artist Exhibitions – The visual arts program regularly welcomes guest artists who exhibit their work in the gallery.

Visual arts gallery live webcam

Student Awards and Honors

The visual arts faculty help students identify contests and prepare entries. Through the process, students build strong portfolios and records of accomplishment, which can provide an important advantage during the college application process. In the past two years, visual arts students have received numerous awards including:

The YoungArts Awards are the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. It is the exclusive nominating agency for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts program. The following students have recently received recognition:

  • Mary Wirtes, Honorable Mention (2012)
  • Richard Siegel, Merit (2012)
  • Spencer Hinson, Finalist and Presidential Scholar candidate (2011)
  • Rebecca Cornwall, Finalist and Presidential Scholar candidate (2011)
  • Benjamin Corwin, Merit (2011)
  • Jordan Pemberton, Finalist and Presidential Scholar candidate (2009)
  • Thomas Sho Rust, Finalist and Presidential Scholar candidate (2009)

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program is one of the largest, longest-running and most prestigious competitions for young artists in the United States. The following students received national recognition in 2012:     

Other notable awards:

  • Philippa Adam - Gold Medal in Sculpture
  • Min Jeong Cho - Silver Medal: Art Portfolio
  • Yeon Su Oh - Silver Medal: Art Portfolio
  • Mihyun Ryu - Silver Medal: Art Portfolio

College Matriculation

After graduation, Academy visual arts students attend leading programs, including:

  • California College of the Arts
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • College for Creative Studies
  • Cooper Union
  • Kendall College of Art & Design
  • Maine College of Art
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • The University of Michigan
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art
  • Parsons School of Design
  • Pratt Institute
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • School of Visual Arts
  • University of the Arts, London
  • Washington University, St. Louis

College Recruitment

Top art colleges and universities across the country and abroad actively recruit visual arts majors and regularly send representatives to Interlochen. These one-on-one portfolio reviews help students make connections and informed decisions during the college selection process. Representatives from the following schools have recently visited Interlochen:

  • Art Center College of Design
  • California College of the Arts
  • Cleveland Institute of Art and Design
  • College of Creative Studies
  • Corcoran College of Art & Design
  • Ecole Parsons à Paris
  • Kendall College of Art & Design
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Maine College of Art
  • Minneapolis College of Art and Design
  • The University of Michigan
  • Parsons School of Design
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  • Pratt Institute
  • Ringling School of Art & Design
  • San Francisco Art Institute
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • School of Visual Arts
  • Studio Art Centers International, Florence
  • University of the Arts, London
  • Watkins College of Art, Design and Film

Recent Guest Artists

Alessandra Torres* has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including: the Jacob K. Javits Memorial Fellowship, a full scholarship to attend The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and a travel grant to participate in an international sculpture collaboration and exhibition with the Akademie Kunst Industre in Enschede, Holland. Alessandra is currently a sculpture professor for the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. 

Cornel Rubino* is a winner of various awards including the Communication Arts Award, the Abby Award for Artist of the Year in Atlanta, and recognition from the Society of Publication Designers. Rubino is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic and countless other national magazines. He has created numerous posters for clients including nationally recognized arts organizations and non-profits. He has also lectured at numerous museums and colleges.
 
Arthur Ganson* is widely recognized for his kinetic sculptures and has held residencies in science museums and served as an artist-in-residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work has been featured in one-man shows at the MIT Museum, Harvard's Carpenter Center, the DeCordova Museum, and the Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York. His work can also be seen in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Ganson has given presentations about his work at the TED conference and at the Long Now Foundation.

Didier William was a 2009 recipient of the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship in painting as well as the 2006 recipient of the Morris Lewis Award for painting. He has exhibited paintings in group shows in New York City, Long Island and Berlin, as well as traveling exhibitions in Baltimore, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Greece. He currently teaches at Vassar College.

Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison* make works that mix photography, painting and sculptural props with darkroom techniques. Their work can be found in more than 20 collections, including the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian and the George Eastman House.

(*held guest artist exhibition)

Image Galleries

Ceramics

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Drawing

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Fibers

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Metals

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New Genres

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Painting

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Photography

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Printmaking

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Sculpture

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Faculty

Melinda Zacher Ronayne

Director of Visual Arts, Interlochen Center for the Arts

M.Ed., Arts Education, Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore (MICA)

John McKaig

Instructor of Visual Arts, Interlochen Arts Academy

M.F.A., Printmaking, Syracuse University; B.F.A., Printmaking, Miami University

Patricia A. Smith

Instructor of Visual Arts, Interlochen Arts Academy and Interlochen Arts Camp
Metalsmithing Faculty, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

M.F.A., Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Arizona State University; B.F.A., Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Northern Michigan University

Catherine Creighton

Admission Counselor: Visual Arts, General Arts, Brass, Woodwinds, Percussion, Motion Picture Arts

B.S., Art and English (Creative Writing emphasis), Certificate in Celtic Studies, University of Wisconsin - Madison

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