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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.

Originally designed to address the importance of drawing as the basis of understanding one’s experience in the world, the Marathons are based on 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 by both regular faculty and distinguished vis­iting artists who are present for the entire two-week 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 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 creation of strong and surprising works can be the catalyst for future work. In addition to being part of the full-time program, application to the Marathons are open to beginning and advanced artists regardless of their affiliations. Admission follows the same requirements and procedures as the full-time program. Fees for the ten-day course must be paid in full upon registration.

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.

If you are currently enrolled as a full-time student at NYSS, or if you have successfully completed a Marathon or full-time program within the last five years, you are not required to submit an application in order to enroll in upcoming Marathons. Learn more here.

Upcoming Fall 2020 Marathons

September 8th – 18th, 2020
*Classes meet everyday except Sunday.
9am – 6pm

Virtual Drawing Marathon – with Graham Nickson & Guests*
Drawing Marathon – with Clintel Steed
Sculpture Marathon – with Jilaine Jones

*The Drawing Marathon with Graham Nickson & Guests will be taught virtually – all other Marathons will be taught in person.

Apply On Slideroom

Virtual Drawing Marathon – with Graham Nickson & Guests

9am - 6pm

Fall 2020 “You need two lifetimes, one to understand the language and one to use it.” – Pierre Bonnard Course Description In this online Marathon, students will 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 […]

Sculpture Marathon – with Jilaine Jones

9am - 6pm

Fall 2020 Course Description The interconnected field between body and place, considered through both objective and empathetic viewing, will be experiential source of this Sculpture Marathon. Each shared Sculpture studio at the Studio School, with distancing, will have a model and physical structure continuously present throughout the duration of the Marathon. Working with a range of materials, scales, […]

Drawing Marathon: Sacred Geometry – with Clintel Steed

9am - 6pm

Fall 2020 Course Description In this Marathon we will focus on Sacred Geometry. We will focus on the rectangle and how geometry is used to create tension inside of the rectangle. Each drawing will start with a grid. We will hold ourselves to this grid and really start to think about the geometry of the […]

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