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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.

Looking for information about classes at New York Studio School during the summer months? Explore Summer Session.

Marathon Tuition

Two-Week Marathon: $1,800
One-Week Intersession Marathon – $1,450

SUMMER 2024 MARATHONS

Session I: June 3 – June 14
Drawing Marathon – IN-PERSON: Portraiture and Presence with Linda Darling
Drawing Marathon – VIRTUAL: Precipice of Drawing: the Avalanche of Color with Graham Nickson & Guests
Sculpture Marathon – IN-PERSON: Life-Sized Figure with Brandt Junceau

Session II: June 20 – July 3
Painting Marathon – IN-PERSON: Painting the Landscape at Old Westbury Gardens with Rachel Rickert & Visiting Critic Graham Nickson
Drawing Marathon – VIRTUAL: Beyond the Image and into Abstraction with Fran O’Neill

Session III: July 8 – July 19
Painting Marathon – IN-PERSON: the Mask, the Wing, and the Mirror with Sam Levy, Kaitlin McDonough & Clintel Steed
Painting Marathon – VIRTUAL: Why Paint the Figure with Elisa Jensen

Please scroll down for course descriptions and to enroll. 

Apply On Slideroom

Please email info@nyss.org with any questions.

Drawing Marathon – VIRTUAL: Precipice of Drawing: the Avalanche of Color with Graham Nickson & Guests

9am - 6pm ET

In this Marathon, participants internalize the importance of drawing as a basis for 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 and methods of working.

Drawing Marathon – IN-PERSON: Portraiture and Presence with Linda Darling

9am - 6pm ET

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 broadly defined, and closely observing the unique features and character of the model. We will pay close attention to spatial qualities both within the forms, and in relationship to the geometry presented by the paper.

Sculpture Marathon – IN-PERSON: Life-Sized Figure with Brandt Junceau

9am - 6pm ET

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 first time, in prehistory.  Done right, it continues to be.

Painting Marathon – IN-PERSON: Painting the Landscape at Old Westbury Gardens with Rachel Rickert & Visiting Critic Graham Nickson

9am - 6pm ET

Plein air landscape painting embodies the elements of working from perception, uniting the truth of the world and one’s personal truth of vision. Capturing the unique qualities of the landscape – the light, the vastness, the changeability – is a thrilling and challenging experience. In this two-week Painting Marathon, students will learn how to translate the entirety of the plein air experience, working directly from nature within the beautiful Old Westbury Gardens.

Drawing Marathon – VIRTUAL: Beyond the Image and into Abstraction with Fran O’Neill

9am - 6pm ET

This Marathon will encourage students to step beyond the image into abstraction. Participants may begin with works that are based in landscape, still life and/or the figure with the idea that they will be stepping beyond the image as they know it; with the idea of pushing students past their threshold of what they might consider to be the final product, into potentially new arenas of the image that maybe more steps towards abstraction &/or steps towards being much more curious and playful with the direction

Painting Marathon – IN-PERSON: the Mask, the Wing, and the Mirror with Sam Levy, Kaitlin McDonough & Clintel Steed

9am - 6pm ET

Archetypes and symbols are access points used to mark transitions, to hold important ideas, and to dream new worlds into being. This Painting Marathon will ask participants to weave archetypal imagery from deep art historical works with symbols of personal relevance.

Painting Marathon – VIRTUAL: Why Paint the Figure with Elisa Jensen

9am - 6pm ET

This figure painting Marathon will explore in depth the development of figurative imagery in art. Focus will be on finding personal imagery and fully developing that imagery by working from life, from drawings, from the imagination and from memory. Sources will be drawings from the virtual model, the study of our own environment and transcription of specific masterworks, western and nonwestern, from ancient times to contemporary art.

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