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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.

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 NOVEMBER INTERSESSION MARATHONS

Thursday, November 11 – Monday, November 15, 2021

Virtual Painting Marathon with Graham Nickson & Guests
Virtual/In-Person Painting Marathon with Graham Nickson & Sam Levy  in Telluride, CO
Virtual Drawing Marathon with Torild Stray
Virtual Painting Marathon with Elisa Jensen
Virtual Sculpture Marathon with Jilaine Jones

All levels welcome.

Apply On Slideroom

Please scroll down to view full course descriptions and syllabi.

 

Virtual Painting Marathon with Graham Nickson & Guests

9am - 6pm

Who is Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue? Live Painting: Alive Color Course Description “A colorist is essentially an epic poet” – Baudelaire This Painting Marathon takes on Baudelaire’s challenge that a colorist is essentially an epic poet. Barnett Newman painted his giant minimal piece “Red, Yellow, Blue” at a time when painting was challenged […]

Virtual/In-Person Painting Marathon with Graham Nickson & Sam Levy in Telluride, CO

7am – 4pm MST / 9am – 6pm ET

Who is Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue? Live Painting: Alive Color Course Description “A colorist is essentially an epic poet” – Baudelaire This Painting Marathon takes on Baudelaire’s challenge that a colorist is essentially an epic poet. Barnett Newman painted his giant minimal piece “Red, Yellow, Blue” at a time when painting was challenged […]

Virtual Drawing Marathon with Torild Stray

9am - 6pm

From Figure to Story Course Description This intensive Drawing Marathon will introduce new approaches to drawing and image-making, with the focus of merging the observed figure and personal story-telling. Participants will expand their pictorial language and develop a greater visual vocabulary through the creation of drawings from observation and through an investigation of the virtual […]

Virtual Painting Marathon with Elisa Jensen

9am - 6pm

From Genre to Allegory: Figure Painting Today Course Description This 5-day rigorous Painting Marathon will explore figurative imagery – in particular, looking at ideas of allegory and archetype in painting – to consider how these ideas are, and can be, used in contemporary painting. Focus will be on finding and developing personal imagery to the […]

Virtual Sculpture Marathon with Jilaine Jones

9am - 6pm

Bas-Relief: Touching Space Course Description Bas-relief is a territory joining sculpture, drawing, and painting: material ideas formed across the plane of a wall, between the 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional. This Sculpture Marathon will explore bas-relief initially through conveying the spatial construct of a perceptual source, and carry that work forward by focusing on ideas and feelings […]

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