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

Free art classes for high school students - NYC

The Outreach Pre-College Art Program was created in 1992 as a full scholarship program to support New York City area high school students interested in pursuing a degree in art. The Outreach Program serves the needs of talented local high school students who would benefit most from a fully funded college level education. It helps students develop a portfolio worthy of art college admissions and scholarships. Professional artists and poets teach all courses, and Cooper Union undergraduates serve as teaching assistants. Instructional materials, field trip transportation, and museum admissions are provided at no cost.

The Outreach program offers art courses in the Fall, Winter, and Spring for New York City area high school students, grades 10-12. Outreach class sizes are limited to 16-18 students per section to ensure optimum learning.

Classes take place on Saturdays from 9am-5pm, in 5 to 8-week courses. All students are required to take drawing classes, with additional workshops in animation, printmakingphotography, 3D design and 2D design. Each Saturday concludes with a seminar on contemporary art issues, which encourages students to discuss, think critically, and write about current issues. This seminar often includes guest speakers as well as museum, gallery and artist studio visits throughout New York City.

The Outreach Winter Program 2017 returns to the Cooper Union Letterpress Studio for a special cross-discipline approach to the art of the book. Visiting artists Pablo Diaz and Amy Buckley will introduce the students to letterpress type techniques, digital photography, and drawing.  

This work will be integrated with a special post-Outreach poetry project in partnership with Ava’s Smile, led by visiting artist Alex Velozo. In line with Ava Hecht's personal legacy of multidisciplinary talents and disposition, this class will honor the space straddling text and art as connective tissue for the students' art practices. 

Each student will receive a limited edition, accordion style artist book.  The books and other works created in the process will be exhibited February 7-10th at the Cooper Union.

To apply for the Outreach Pre-College Art Program, students must register online and attend a portfolio review. The reviews are held on the Cooper Union campus and are conducted by Outreach staff, guest artists and alumni.

The next portfolio review will be on Saturday February 4, 10am-2pm, 41 Cooper Square, room 101.

For more information on the Outreach Pre-College Art Program call 212-353-4202 or email

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  • 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.

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