1. Why NYSSSA? (why audition, why did you decide to attend?)
For me, NYSSSA was always the clear option as far as summer art pre-college programs go. The tuition for NYSSSA in comparison to other programs is a fraction of the price because it is state sponsored, and the quality of education you receive is just as high as anywhere else. I had teachers from all different backgrounds, many of them coming from prestigious institutions and some are currently teaching art at the college level.
2. How did you find out about NYSSSA?
I found out about NYSSSA mostly from my high school art teachers as well as through friends that had attended other NYSSSA programs (such as Choral Studies) and had really enjoyed their time there.
3. Typical Day/Schedule at NYSSSA?
A typical day at NYSSSA SVA for me consisted of two 2.5-hour classes. I would eat breakfast at the dining hall, have one class in the morning beginning at 9am, lunch break, and later everyone’s second class begins at 1:30pm. After my second class I tended to grab a bite to eat and then get started on homework. Students have one 2D class and one 3D class. Depending on how you balance your time, there are plenty of opportunities to do fun non-art related activities that are organized by the Res-Life counselors. There are usually several programs organized for each day of the week and if you’re not into those then it’s always nice to relax in the lounge and play some pingpong, pool, or watch TV. For a large amount of time, though, I’d say I stayed in my room doing drawings and covering myself in charcoal. At night time during the week bed check is at 10:45 and weekends 11:45. Throughout the program, we took field trips to places like the beach (Lake Erie) and the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo. There are also visiting artists each week that give presentations and show some of their work. These artists then interact with students in class the next day. Towards the end of the program there are college representatives that come to present to students and then do portfolio reviews. Each week Randy Williams, the artistic director, gives amazing art history lectures. Side note: you will probably find yourself writing down inspiring quotes from Randy and creating an entire book to look back on.
4. Best Moment at NYSSSA?
It’s really, really super difficult to narrow down a best moment at NYSSSA. I don’t know whether the friends I made or the work I did was more valuable, but experiencing the artistic community as a whole at NYSSSA was very transformative. Some people I met at NYSSSA I think I will remain life-long friends with, and the amount of work and the quality of the work I did became so important for the college admissions process later on.
5. Why would you encourage someone to audition for NYSSSA?
For this question I don’t even know where to start. Each year I went to NYSSSA I met so many unique and inspiring individuals. Getting to go to a place that is filled with people that are just like you is such a different experience than high school. Before NYSSSA, I had never been to a place where the common denominator between everyone is his or her interest in visual art. It was so refreshing to arrive at a place where everyone is speaking the same language as you. Even if you went to NYSSSA and happened to lose all of your artwork, the experience that you have in the artistic community will have changed the way you think and create. All in one month. One thing that I really appreciate at this point being a freshman in college is just being away from home for a long period of time at NYSSSA. Those summers away from home have definitely helped me with my transition into college. The people you meet at NYSSSA will undoubtedly change your life. Between so many knowledgeable and inspiring professors and your peers you will discover things about yourself, your work ethic, and how much you can accomplish in a short period of 4 weeks. I am so glad that I was able to study under the teachers that I had at NYSSSA. Much of what I learned from them is still being employed in my work and thought processes today. After two summers at NYSSSA it is a place that has become my home away from home.