Marathon set-ups

The School's internationally-recognized Marathon programs were developed in 1988 by Dean Graham Nickson, initially as a measure for the rest of the semester at the start of the program year. The program has since expanded to become a core component of the School's curriculum. Meanwhile, intense outside interest led to the extension of the Marathons to a wider audience of participants outside of the full-time student body. Renowned artists, art historians, dealers, collectors,  art educators, writers, journalists and students of all levels and affiliations have since experienced the intensity of the program.

The Marathon course hours are 9:00am to 6:00pm, with a lunch break from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. In some Marathons, there may be critiques. The specific critique schedule will be determined once courses have commenced.



Originally designed to address the importance of drawing as the basis of understanding one's experience in the world, the Marathons are based in an exploration of this most direct route to an enriched understanding of the language of the plastic arts. The innovation inherent in the Marathon program reawakens the way that drawing is experienced by artists and appreciators alike.

The Marathons are intensive, all-day programs that run for two weeks at the beginning of each semester and during the Summer Session. Drawing, Painting and Sculpture marathons are offered, both by full-time faculty and distinguished visiting artists, who are present for the entire session. All programs operate along the same basic model of immersing the student in their chosen discipline.

The level of commitment reached by participants during the Marathon is extraordinary. Each individual must confront the problems of drawing, painting and sculpture with vigor and intensity if they are are to show that they are equal to the fierce demands of concentration and stamina necessary for the program. Not only are participants fully engaged in the physical aspects of making art, they are also intellectually challenged and stimulated by extensive group and individual critiques. The strong and surprising works made often work as catalysts for future work.

Marathons are open to beginning and advanced artists, regardless of their affiliation. Admission follows the same requirements and procedures as for the full-time program. Fees for the ten-day course must be paid in full upon registration.



(Please click on each Marathon heading, for a pdf with Full description, including Materials list)

Drawing Marathon: Graham Nickson & Guests, January 13-25, 2014

In this Marathon, students learn the importance of drawing as the basis of understanding one's experience of the world. 

In this Marathon, students learn the importance of drawing as the basis of understanding one's experience of the world. Drawing is seen here as the most direct route to the examination of our perceptions. Unorthodox tools and exercises will be introduced to broaden the student's drawing vocabulary.

This course will investigate many implications of drawing as a physical and cerebral activity as well as drawing as a philosophy.  It will discuss key issues, including those of scale, tiny to huge; the use of different formats; the use of the rectangle; the vertical axis and its significance; the nature of distortions; the compression of space and depth; the search for 'form' and its consequences; space and its meaning, functions and the different kinds of space; and the nature of relational drawing.

The average day usually contains several group critiques and a lengthy final critique at the end of the physical drawing session, and is intensified for the last critique at the end of the course.  The dialogue and discussions within the group are expected to be clear and succinct.  The students are encouraged to participate and understand the visual language of drawing.  Cost: $1625.


Drawing Marathon: Nicole Wittenberg, January 13-25, 2014

This Drawing Marathon will use drawing as a method of description with an emphasis on a variety of marks. The core-focus will be on 'image energy', i.e. the dialogue between one artist and another on how we experience and comprehend the qualities of a work of art. Students will use a variety of different materials; wet and dry. During the course students will work from the model in both moving and static poses for long and short periods, keeping the rhythm of the class up and focused. Students will take full advantage of the luxury of eight-hour sessions, and will be encouraged to explore and expand on individual pursuits. Therefore, while the course will include assignments, weight will be put on individual interpretations within the structure of the classes. Ongoing critiques and dialogue will be an essential aspect of the class.  As Robert Evans said, "stuff that I picked up in 6 or 7 years, we can teach here in 2 (months) weeks!"    Cost: $1625.



Sculpture Marathon: Willard Boepple, January 13 - 25, 2014

For the purposes of this Sculpture Marathon we will take on faith that Cubism was the first (and perhaps still current) true language of modernist abstract sculpture and the postmodernist sculpture that matters. If the sculpture "R. Mutt 1917" marked a fork in Sculpture's road, the course will begin with a hard look at that moment.  With apologies to Hans Hofmann, we will make our way through a series of rigorous exercises that explore the Cubist roots in sculpture and the expressive materiality of collage and assemblage. This will lead us to a look for a vocabulary of form in our built environment and a look at the figure through the lens of the tools, furniture and equipment the human body uses at work, ease and play.

A basic ability to make things stick together, and a willingness to work hard are the only requirements.     Cost: $1625. Additional materials fee: $200.


Upcoming Marathon dates:

Summer 2014: June 2 - 13, 2014

Fall 2014: September 2 - 12, 2014

Spring 2014: January 13 - 25, 2015

Marathon applicants who have successfully been accepted, enrolled and completed a Marathon within the past last three years are not required to resubmit a portfolio, portfolio list or essays with their application. When applying, please indicate in the essay 'Statement of purpose' box, the year and the marathon you successfully completed.

This is inclusive to include previously enrolled students from our MFA, Certificate, and/or Fall and Spring Marathon programs. Additionally this clause applies to previously enrolled students in any of our full-time Summer programs. If you have any questions or are unsure if this applies to you, please contact the Director of Student Services.


NB- All marathons are subject to cancellation.