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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 Marathons SPRING 2020: Tuesday, January 21 – Friday, January 31, 2020

-Drawing Marathon with Graham Nickson and Guests
-Drawing Marathon with Ophrah Shemesh
-Sculpture Marathon with Avner Levinson

Cost: $1,725

SUMMER SESSION 2020: Monday, June 1 – Tuesday, July 17
(Classes meet daily, excluding weekends)

Session I
June 1 – 12
-Drawing Marathon with Graham Nickson and Guests
-Sculpture Marathon with Bruce Gagnier
-Painting Marathon with TBA

Session II
June 17 – 30
-Arbor Vitae Landscape Painting Marathon with Fran O’Neill
-Caves, Friezes & Mysteries Painting Marathon with Graham Nickson and Guests
-Sculpture Marathon with Jilaine Jones

Session III
July 6 – 17
-Why Paint the Figure with Elisa Jensen
-Color Marathon with Kaitlin McDonough
-Sculpture Marathon with John Erianne

Please email info@nyss.org with any further questions.

Apply On Slideroom

Drawing Marathon – with Graham Nickson and Guests

9am - 6pm

Summer 2020 Course Description 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. The class meets every […]

Sculpture Marathon – with Bruce Gagnier

9am - 6pm

Summer 2020 Course Description Modeling in clay is practiced from the live model to form a life size figure. Abstractions of the plastic idea, knowledge of how to describe the human figure, clay modeling techniques and cultural reference are practiced in relation to this goal. The elements of the life size figure as seen in […]

Arbor Vitae Landscape Painting Marathon – with Fran O’Neill

9am - 6pm

Summer 2020 Course Description The environment of Old Westbury Gardens provides a diverse, grand and stunning setting for participants to immerse themselves in landscape painting. During this two week intensive course, students will work from direct observation. With changing light conditions and the weather, students will be challenged to explore image making, composition, form, value […]

Sculpture Marathon: Idea through Process – with Jilaine Jones

9am - 6pm

Summer 2020 Course Description In this Sculpture Marathon, participants will make sculptures and develop ideas through experimentation with materials and processes.  The physical and visual nature of material manipulation corresponds with directions fundamental to sculptural experience; this will be explicit in the overall project. Building with materials such as clay, wood, wire, plaster, concrete, cloth, […]

Why Paint the Figure – with Elisa Jensen

9am - 6pm

Summer 2020 Course Description This figure painting class will explore in depth the development of figurative imagery in art. Focus will be on finding a personal imagery and developing that imagery to the fullest extent by working from life, from the imagination and from memory. Frequent visits to the museum and to contemporary gallery shows […]

Color Marathon – with Kaitlin McDonough

9am - 6pm

Summer 2020 Course Description This Marathon will elevate and expand our sensitivity to all aspects of color. Placing practice before theory, we will explore the wild richness of color functionality and mutability. Exercises will deepen our understanding of hue, tone, saturation, deception, intervals, boundaries and color relatedness. We will prioritize conclusions drawn from what we […]

Sculpture Marathon: Connection to Form – with John Erianne

9am - 6pm

Summer 2020 Course Description This course will focus on the construction of sculpture and the nature of materials; not just HOW elements are put together but also WHY. We will investigate the relationships in the joinery of each piece and how these connections relate the form. We are not looking to “fabricate”, but rather to […]

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