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, September 2-12, 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: Dawn Clements, Week 1- Sepetember 2- 6 (Tues > Sat) , 2014

This course explores processes for creating highly personal "first-person" drawings from direct observation from life, with a strong emphasis on point-of-view and creative mark-making through various media. "Drawing from life" won't involve drawing from a live model on a stand in the studio classroom, but instead will involve drawing figure and ground in the context of various environments, both in and out of doors. Based on the premise that an artists'studio iswherever one works, this course will actively and practically explore making art in and outsidethe fixed studio. With an emphasis on intensive observation from life, the limits of the traditional rectangular frame and fixed point of view will be challenged. "Observation" will include usingthe sense of sight, but the senses of sound and touch as well. Field work (small trips to nearbylocations) will be required in developing subjective and mobile means of working. How doeslocation and movement affect form and content? How do we observe and picture? Issues ofcontrol, scale, shelter, portability, public and private will be addressed. Through drawing,students will explore and develop personal, practical and physical visual thinking.It is hoped that each student will develop more subjective and mobile ways of representing life, challenging the limits of the traditional rectangular frame and fixed points of view.  Cost: $890.


Drawing Marathon: Melissa Meyer, Week 2 - September 8 - 12 (Mon > Fri), 2014

"One eye sees, the other feels."  - Paul Klee

Producing work that bridges observation to abstraction in two dimensions will be central to this 5-day intensive drawing marathon. Students will explore the possibilities of the medium(s) - with a look at historical precedents and contemporary issues.  In addition, by researching the influence of other mediums and forms such as film, dance, architecture etc, the course is designed to encourage students to broaden their visual language. Examples from art history ranging from Pontormo, Degas, Bonnard, Picasso, Paul Klee, and Matisse; and to contemporary artists such as Peter Doig and Dana Schutz will be used as source material. This class is designed for all levels of students. Cost: $890.

Sculpture Marathon: Garth Evans, September 2-12, 2014

This Marathon offers physically demanding exercises that provoke exciting dialogues between two and three-dimensional interpretation. In the past, experiencing the full two weeks of this course has resulted in important breakthroughs for painters and sculptors of all levels of development.

The course is an introduction to working in three dimensions for those students who have no experience of doing so. For the student who has some experience, the course will provide additional experience which will be integrated with important aspects of the language of sculpture. For the more advanced sculpture students, it will facilitate a reconsideration of their practice.

Students will acquire or extend practical skills in the manipulation of various materials. They will develop or improve their understanding of structure. They will develop or improve an ability to make constructions from a variety of materials. They will deal with issues of sources, both in terms of subject matter and in terms of their choice of the physical material used. They will experience working from a model with materials that explicitly defeat any attempt at "copying" and require them to abstract and analyze what they see.


Upcoming Marathon dates:

Spring 2015: January 13 - 25, 2015

Summer 2015: June 1 -12, 2015

Fall 2015: September 8 - 18, 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.