The Outreach Pre-college Program

Still Life by Ava Hecht for the Pre-college art class for high school students Still Life by Alma Moos Nunez Photo by Chris Chow Sculpture by Jasmine Ali


With guest partner, AVA’S SMILE

The Outreach Winter Program 2017 returned to the School of Art Letterpress Studio for a special cross-discipline approach to the art of the book.   For five intense Saturdays, visiting artists Pablo Diaz and Amy Buckley introduced letterpress type techniques, digital photography, and drawing to 33 full scholarship high school students.  The class began with a trip to the Brooklyn Museum to capture images and ideas from the collection as source material for bookmaking and poetry.

With the support of Ava’s Smile, an additional writing and sculpture workshop was taught by visiting artist Alex Velozo.  Translating visual art first captured by camera, and re-built in texture and type, eight student teams produced remarkable results within the framework of limited edition artist books.

This project celebrates the memory of Ava Hecht, Outreach alumna from 2009, whose personal legacy of multidisciplinary achievements in music, theatre, creative writing and visual art, continues to inspire.  

The Cooper Union Outreach Program was established in 1991, to advance a mature understanding of art, support portfolio development, and ensure college readiness for local high school students with a desire to become artists.  With our committed donors, 100 full scholarships are available for pre-college classes during the academic year. 

Stephanie Hightower, Director

The Outreach Pre-College Art Program

Karen Gang and Elena Hecht Co-founders of Ava’s Smile.

The Saturday Outreach Pre-College Program is profoundly grateful to the Jacques & Natasha Gelman Foundation for its major support.

We gratefully acknowledge our other generous donors:  The Altman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Bay & Paul Foundations, and The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation.


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.