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NYSS Marathons occur in January, June, July, and September in a two-week format. Five-day Intersession Marathons occur in March and November. Please enjoy descriptions of upcoming Marathons below and apply to join us.

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 9am to 6pm, 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.

Virtual Marathons

Virtual Marathons are an incredible opportunity for artists from around the world to experience the high caliber NYSS Marathons from their respective homes and studios. Taught through a combination of Zoom and Padlet, these courses bring the rigorous exercises, profound insights, and deep connections of in-person Marathons to participants via virtual means. Artists of all levels are welcome to join. Virtual Marathons are offered as two-week sessions (10 days) in September, January, and during the summer months. Virtual Marathons are offered as one-week (5 consecutive days, Thursday through Monday) Intersession Marathons in November and March of each year.

Please email info@nyss.org with any questions.

UPCOMING SUMMER 2022 MARATHONS

Session I: Monday, June 6 – Friday, June 17, 2022

  • Virtual Drawing Marathon – with Graham Nickson & Guests
  • In-Person Hudson River Painting Marathon – with Clintel Steed
  • In-Person Sculpture Marathon – with Brandt Junceau

Session II: Monday, June 20 – Friday, July 1, 2022

  • Virtual Painting Marathon – with Graham Nickson & Guests
  • In-Person Painting Marathon – with Ilse Murdock
  • In-Person Bas Relief Sculpture Marathon – with Jilaine Jones
  • In-Person Drawing Marathon – with Linda Darling

Session III: Wednesday, July 6 – Tuesday, July 19, 2022

  • Virtual Why Paint the Figure Painting Marathon – with Elisa Jensen
  • In-Person Painting Marathon – with Catherine Lepp
  • Virtual “Room with a View” Landscape – with Fran O’Neill

All levels are welcome and partial scholarships are available.

Please scroll down to view course descriptions and syllabi.

Apply On Slideroom

Virtual Drawing Marathon: Fragments and Catalysts: Drawing the Sound of a Hand Clapping – with Graham Nickson & Guests

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description Exceptional, singular moments in great paintings lead to revelations and are markers of incredible journeys. In this Drawing Marathon, we take on the challenge of creating memorable and profound moments within a unified whole. For example, when looking at Piero Della Francesca’s “Resurrection” we find a series of powerful fragments that […]

In-Person Hudson River Painting Marathon – with Clintel Steed

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description This Marathon will include plein air drawing, from the 79th street boat basin, and from our drawings we will construct paintings. We will focus on the space of the Hudson River school and how we can use drawing to create a painting. The course will be divided into two sections and […]

In-Person Sculpture Marathon – with Brandt Junceau

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description The life-size figure is a touchstone of sculpture. To make something one’s own size, standing like oneself, with every surface, every feature– a head, a face, a gaze like our own– that’s a peculiar proposition, unlike everything else mankind makes for itself. It must have been very strange and intimidating the […]

Virtual Painting Marathon: Blatantly Romantic: The Pugilism of Color – with Graham Nickson & Guests

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description  When the exceptional colorist, Pierre Bonnard painted his very touching, late self-portrait, he was painting a certain anger and also making an awkward beauty. He represents himself as a boxer. The importance of color cannot be overstated, often derided as too emotional or romantic, its journey throughout history is helpful to […]

In-Person Painting Marathon – with Ilse Murdock

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description Observable color is most vibrantly seen through natural light, outdoors. In this two-week intensive we will take a deep dive into color painting, which will include regular outdoor painting sessions in local parks and areas accessible to the Studio School on foot and via public transportation. The outdoor situation adds a […]

In-Person Bas Relief Sculpture Marathon – with Jilaine Jones

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description Bas-relief is a territory which joins sculpture, drawing, and painting; material ideas formed across the plane of a wall between the three- and two-dimensional. This Marathon will explore bas-relief through conveying the spatial construct of a perceptual source and by focusing on ideas and feelings offered by materials and approaches of […]

In-Person Drawing Marathon – with Linda Darling

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description In this intensive two-week Marathon, we will engage in the practice of drawing for eight hours per day, a rare opportunity. The focus will be on portraiture, closely observing the unique features and character of the model. We will play close attention to spatial qualities both within the forms, and in […]

Virtual Why Paint the Figure Painting Marathon – with Elisa Jensen

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description This figure painting class will explore in depth the development of figurative imagery in art. Focus will be on finding personal imagery and developing that imagery to the fullest extent by working from drawings, from the imagination and from memory. Sources will be drawings from the virtual model, the study of […]

In-Person Painting Marathon – with Catherine Lepp

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description In this Painting Marathon, students will explore the role of the Figure in the Landscape through drawing and painting from observation in nature and the studio, with the intersection of synthetics, composition, mark making, color theory and abstraction.  During the first week, we will make working paintings in the landscape (in […]

Virtual “Room with a View” Landscape – with Fran O’Neill

9am - 6pm ET

Summer 2022 Course Description “Room with a View” – Participants will look for the possibility of landscape within their own surroundings. Depending on where you are in the world, it may be a view out of your window, or it could be that you are able to access landscapes that may be far reaching and […]

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