High School Students in The Saturday Program Show Their Work

POSTED ON: December 12, 2022

Fall 2022 Saturday Program Open Studio

A Saturday Program student viewing work produced in the Senior Design Studio class. Photo by Argenis Apolinario.

Saturday Program Open Studio Fall 2022

Moncho Alvarez and Jayson Smith, writing instructors at The Saturday Program, giving closing remarks at the poetry open mic. Photo by Argenis Apolinario.

Saturday Program Open Studio Fall 2022

Kit Edwards, Senior Design Studio instructor, and two Saturday Program students viewing models created in the Architecture class. Photo by Argenis Apolinario.

Saturday Program Open Studio Fall 2022

Joshua Fuller, Digital Media/Photography instructor, installing work for the open studio. Photo by Argenis Apolinario.

The Saturday Program opened the doors to its classroom studios last weekend, inviting the broader Cooper Union community to view high school students’ artwork and learn about their creative processes at the midpoint of the academic year. Hosted across eight classrooms of the Foundation Building and 41 Cooper Square, the open studio featured in-progress and completed projects by 200 students enrolled in the program’s Fall 2022 courses, spanning architecture, drawing, graphic design, painting, sculpture, and digital media and photography, as well as two portfolio preparation classes—Senior Visual Arts and Senior Design Studio.

View the full photo gallery from this year's open studio.

As part of the mid-year exhibition, the students also participated in an open mic poetry reading. According to Jamerry Kim, director of The Saturday Program, the event is aimed at recognizing students’ creativity and their growing confidence while also serving as a space for supporting newly formed social connections. “Not only are we showcasing artwork, but it's the gathering of friendship and community that we like to celebrate.”

Also on display was the program’s longstanding approach to blurring the line between teaching and learning. Since its founding in 1968, The Saturday Program has given New York City high school students the opportunity to take tuition-free studio art courses taught by undergraduate instructors at The Cooper Union. “The fact that Cooper students serve as the instructors and staff for these classes is what makes The Saturday Program so special,” says Kim. “They bring excellence and care to their mentorship of younger students, and in turn they develop invaluable teaching skills.”

She also notes that The Saturday Program is an important continuation of the legacy of Peter Cooper’s vision of free education for all. With a network spanning more than 120 high schools, the program consistently recruits highly motivated students from historically underserved communities throughout the city, offering them art instruction, museum and gallery trips, visits to artists’ studios, guidance for college admissions, poetry sessions, and the chance to present work in the open studio and a culminating year-end exhibition.

"The Saturday Program becomes a refuge, a place where students can envision their future, take creative risks, and feel accepted,” Kim says. To that end, the annual open studio offers a rare glimpse into the creative growth that a group of determined young artists can inspire in one another.

The Saturday Program is made possible by generous support of the Altman Foundation, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Jeffrey and Paula Gural Foundation, Keith Haring Foundation, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and the Richard and Jean Coyne Family 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.