Corcoran College of Art and Design
NOW at the Corcoran—Mark Tribe: Plein Air
Through September 28
Now at the CorcoranAmerican Metal: The Art of Albert Paley
Through September 28

Summer Portfolio Development


The Pre-College Portfolio Development curriculum includes a half-day drawing course and a half-day elective, allowing students to immerse themselves in studying art from multiple perspectives. Group and individual critiques take place throughout the program. The experience within the studio is supplemented by all the resources available at the Corcoran, including lectures, open studio hours, portfolio reviews, gallery tours, presentations, and evening workshops.

For details about the program download our Summer 2014 Pre-College Brochure and read the information below.


Two-week Day Program--dates, tuition, fees and register online.

Four-week Day Program--dates, tuition, fees and register online.

Two-week Residential Program--dates, tuition, fees and register online.


Designed to meet the needs and interests of a wide range of students, Portfolio Development programs are offered both as day and residential.

Day Programs: Day programs are ideal for local students and those who do not require housing. Lunch costs are included in the program fees.

Residential Programs: Designed for students who reside beyond the Washington metropolitan area and for local students who would like to sample a college environment. Learn more...


As the fundamental language of visual communication, drawing is the main emphasis of the Portfolio Development program. Students develop observational drawing skills through exercises in still life, landscape, perspective, and the figure. Life drawing exercises utilize the academic tradition of the nude model. Students also draw in the Corcoran Gallery of Art or nearby museums, working directly from pieces in the collections.

Mid-day Activities and Open Studio
Students participate in mid-day activities that include open studio time, museum tours, gallery talks, and other activities that draw upon the unique resources of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design. During open studio, students have an opportunity to work on their projects outside of class.


Two-week electives allow students to strengthen their skills in another medium while focusing intensely to create portfolio-ready pieces. Group and individual critiques will take place throughout each elective course. Students in the four week programs will register for two electives.

Elective options include:
  • Ceramics. The ceramics elective will introduce hand-building techniques as well as working on the wheel. Students with prior experience in ceramics will focus on expressive development while building technical skills in construction and firing. Lectures and demonstrations cover ceramic sculpture and pottery, kiln use, and firing methods. Critiques address craftsmanship and personal expression. Ceramics is offered in sessions B and C only.
  • Digital Design. This elective challenges students to learn to solve basic two-dimensional design problems and introduces a variety of software, including Photoshop and Illustrator. Students will explore the fundamental principles of design while developing or improving their digital technical skills.
  • Interior Design. This elective focuses on the basic elements of interior design. Students will explore the principles of interior Design in the context of a small space—either residential or commercial. Interior Design is offered in session B and C only.
  • Painting. The painting elective course is designed for students planning to study fine arts at the college level, as well as for those who simply have an interest in painting. Working from observation and experimenting with abstraction, students will learn painting fundamentals and the basics of color theory and composition. Subject matter will include nude models. Students will be introduced to various materials, mediums, and techniques. Painting is one of our most popular electives; students are advised to register before April 15 in order to secure a place in this elective.
  • Sculpture. The sculpture elective is designed for students at all skill levels who have an interest in working three-dimensionally. Students will use wire, clay, cardboard, wood, and plaster to create three-dimensional works of art. Drawing inspiration from work on view at the Corcoran, students will sketch on paper before translating their ideas into the third dimension. Projects are designed to give students an understanding of basic sculptural concepts while encouraging them to creatively solve problems. Sculpture is offered in sessions B and C only.
  • Darkroom Photography. For the beginning photographer, this course covers all primary skills required for the production of black-and-white photographs, including camera operation, principles of exposure, film developing, and printing. Aesthetic issues relating to framing, composition, and vantage point will be examined and discussed in relation to technical skills. Students must bring a single lens reflex (SLR) or range finder camera with manual settings. Darkroom Photography is offered in Session B only.


Two-Week Day Program: choose from session A, B or C.
Four-Week Day Program: meets during session B and C.
Two-Week Residential Program: meets during session C only.
For specific dates see our Academic Calendar.


Introductory workshops in ceramics, jewelry, screen printing, and more are scheduled on several mid-week evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Students pay no additional fees for these workshops. Dinner is included for all workshop participants. Evening workshops are mandatory for Portfolio Development residential students and optional for day students.


Regardless of the program option you choose, all students have their work showcased in the Pre-College Exhibition, which is held at the Corcoran’s Downtown campus on the final day of each two-week session. Parents, family members, and friends are invited and encouraged to attend both the exhibition and reception.