VCUarts is ranked #1 among public art schools by US News & World Report


Who may apply? 

Focused, serious art students who demonstrate high levels of initiative and responsibility for their work are accepted to the Intensive. This is a rigorous program with a challenging curriculum. Summer Intensive classes explore art at a level not readily available in high school.

Students who have completed their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior years in high school, and are serious about improving their artistic abilities, developing portfolios, and/or learning how to audition for college admission are encouraged to apply.

Participants will meet students from across the country and around the world. In 2013 students attended the Intensive from 18 states/localities, and 4 foreign countries. Through working on common projects and sharing a living space strong bonds are formed among the participants. Many students have formed long-term friendships through the Intensive.

What is the typical daily schedule?  

We have planned very full days to ensure participants gain maximum value from their Summer Intensive experience.  This is an unparalleled opportunity for students to experience college courses first hand.  On each weekday all students except those enrolled in the Theatre program will be engaged in the following:

8:15 – 9:00 am Breakfast
9:15 am – 12:15 pm Morning Learning Modules
12:15 – 1:15 pm Lunch
1:15 – 4:15 pm Afternoon Learning Modules
6:00 – 6:45 pm Dinner
7:00 – 9:00 pm Evening Modules
9:00 – 11 pm Social Activities in the dorm
12 am Room Check/Lights Out

The weekday Theatre schedule is:
“Acting for the Camera” 9 am – noon
Lunch noon – 1 pm
“Musical Theatre” 1:00 – 3:15 pm
“Stage Combat” 3:30 – 5:15 pm
“Make Up Design” 7 – 9 pm Dates to be announced.

*Adjustments may be made for program specific activities.  The university reserves the right to change course content, schedules, or to make other changes deemed necessary or desirable.

What topics are included in the evening modules?  

The evening activities give students an interdisciplinary opportunity to learn about other School of the Arts offerings. A few of the activities the students will be engaged in include:

-Studio time to prepare work products to exhibit during our final day’s culminating event “Show Your Stuff.”  “Show Your Stuff” will include activities such as art and photography exhibits, a Fashion Show, a performance by our Theatre students, screenings of student films, etc.
-Dance parties and concerts are also arranged for the students, as are field trips to area museums and restaurants.

**Note: All students are expected to attend all programs events unless the Program Director has written permission from the students’ parents or guardian prior to an event.

What are the faculty qualifications? 

We have invited some of most distinguished faculty members from the nationally recognized VCU School of the Arts to work with participants this summer. VCUarts is ranked the #1 public university arts and design program in the country (US News & World Report). Professors are working artists selected for their artistic and professional accomplishments as well as for their well-honed teaching and mentoring skills. Students will also benefit from the expertise and feedback provided by graduate students assisting professors with learning modules.

How large are the classes? 

In 2015 the average class size was 10 students. These smaller classes enable the professors and teaching assistants to provide more one-on-one feedback and support to the students.

What is the residence hall like 

 Each participant will be housed in an air-conditioned double room. Rooms contain a bed, desk, desk chair, dresser, and wardrobe for each student. All rooms have Internet and cable TV connections. Participants can connect with their own computer, Ethernet card and Ethernet cable. Students may also bring cell phones if they like.

Students will share a hall bathroom.  Toilet paper and hand soap are provided.

Highly responsive security guards are on duty 24 hours per day to insure student safety.

Our team of rigorously trained residence hall counselors will live directly with their five assigned students, and will guide students to meals, classes, and all activities.  The Head of Residence Life and three Senior Counselors will also be living on-site to carefully supervise students and be available for emergency response.

Room assignments will be made to place males and females on separate floors. These floors are accessed by separate elevators.

Coin-operated washers and dryers are available on each floor.  Participants do their own laundry.  The cost is $1.00 per load, and the machines only take quarters.  There is a change machine located on the first floor of the residence hall.

The residence hall has a lounge for watching TV and movies, so students are encouraged to bring their favorite films with them.

The residence halls have soda, juice, water, and a variety of Nestle products such as chocolate milk available in vending machines located on the first floor. The cost for all beverages is $1.50.  A variety of snacks are also available.  The price ranges from $1.50 to $1.75.

There are no microwaves, refrigerators or televisions in the dorm rooms. Participants may bring these items if they wish. A cable TV hook up is available in each room. All residence halls are smoke-free. A housekeeping staff keeps all public areas clean, but students must clean their own rooms, i.e., wash their own sheets, towels and clothes, etc.

Who is accepted into the Intensive?  

The Director is frequently asked how admissions decisions are made. We are looking for focused students who will excel in classes six to eight hours per day. Student grade point averages (preference is given to those with a GPA of 3.0/4.0 and above), teacher recommendations, and essays regarding why they want to attend the Intensive are all taken into consideration before an admissions decision is made. Here is a profile of our students, including a breakdown of the GPAs for the 2015 students admitted to the Intensive:

Program and Average GPA
-2D Portfolio Development (Drawing and Painting) 3.63
-2D/3D Portfolio Development (Drawing and Sculpture) 3.71
-Sequential Drawing and Comics 3.45
-Digital Filmmaking 3.34
-Digital Photography 3.63
-Fashion Design and Merchandising 3.52
-Graphic Design 3.67
-Theatre 3.74

OVERALL AVERAGE GPA for the 2015 Intensive Students = 3.58

Who should I have complete my “Teacher Recommendation”? 

We suggest that you have an art, theatre, sewing, writing, or computer arts teacher complete the recommendation for you.  These teachers can work at your school or give you private lessons.  Also, if you are trying out a new field and have not taken this particular subject at school, any teacher who can speak to your creativity will be fine. You might select your English teacher or anyone who can speak about your creativity and passion for the arts.

What should I bring? 

  • Comfortable walking shoes – We will be doing a good deal of walking around campus to and from meals, classes, etc.
  • Linens for a regular sized single bed (80” long)
  • A pillow and pillow case
  • Blanket and/or bedspread
  • Umbrella and/or raincoat
  • Toiletries
  • Towels and a wash cloth
  • Shower shoes
  • Tissues
  • Alarm clock
  • Iron
  • Hairdryer
  • Bedside lamp (halogen lamps are not allowed)
  • Hangers for your clothes
  • Flashlight
  • iPod
  • Floor fans (although all rooms are air conditioned)
  • Personal medications
  • Laundry detergent and change for the machines
  • Hand laundry soap in case you would like to wash something and hang it to dry while you are in class.
  • Change for vending machines
  • Cell phone or a phone card
  • Snacks
  • Band-Aids in case you get a blister.  Students will be doing a good deal of walking around the campus.
  • A deck of playing cards, video and board games and movies you enjoy.
  • A small amount of cash in case you want to stop by the coffee shop, VCU’s Bookstore, buy snacks, order a pizza, buy souvenirs, etc.

Program specific lists of what to bring will be sent out to all accepted students in May.

Special Note: VCU will not assume responsibility for any lost or damaged items, therefore recommends that no valuable items such as jewelry be brought to campus.  Students are encouraged to bring a debit card and a small amount of cash for personal expenses, art supplies and snacks while on campus.

Prohibited items include:

  • Firearms, weapons of any kind and “look alike” weapons
  • Open flames such as candles or incense
  • Pets
  • Hot plates for cooking in your room
  • Window fans
  • Alcohol or illegal drugs – We have a zero tolerance policy regarding the use of illicit substances, and students who violate this rule will be immediately dismissed from the program.

A breach in any of the rules listed on this site may result in student expulsion without a refund.

Where will participants eat? 

All meals will be served in the Shafer Court Dining Center. This state-of-the-art dining facility not only features home-style meals, stir-fry, burgers, pizza, an extensive salad bar, and a build your own sandwich section, but also vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free selections. This dining center offers a wide range of delicious, high quality options for participants with special needs, e.g., diabetic, vegetarian, vegan, and foods for those with food allergies.

Will my son/daughter be safe? 

Student safety and security are top priorities at VCU. The campus is patrolled on foot, on bicycles, by motorcycle, and via automobiles by highly-responsive VCU Campus Police 24-hours a day and provides a safe, well-lighted environment. Highly trained counselors will escort residential students to and from all meals, classes and activities. Unless accompanied by program staff, it is expected that students stay within the confines of the VCU campus at all times.

Participants were asked on their program evaluations to rate how safe they felt while on campus. The rating scale ranged from 1 which meant “Totally Safe” to 4 which meant “Completely Unsafe.” The students’ average rating was 1.1 which was very close to “Totally Safe”.

Entrance to the residence hall requires an electronic key card and passage by a security desk that is staffed by security guards around the clock. The front door is the only way to enter and exit the building. The VCU Police monitor dorm access and exit according to student card key swipes. Students found entering or exiting the building after curfew will be dismissed from the program immediately.

How will roommates be assigned? 

After students are admitted to the Intensive they will receive a Roommate Selection form. On this form they can inform us of their roommate’s name if they have a friend who is attending the program.

All other residential students will complete and return a roommate preference form. These preferences will be used to match roommates. Students will be placed in rooms with members of the same sex who are taking the same course of study, and have similar preferences.

When should I plan to arrive? 

Residential students may check in on Sunday, July 10th between noon and 3 pm. If you are arriving by bus, train or plane please schedule your travel to arrive between noon and 3 pm, if possible. We will meet students at the station or airport and transport them to the residence hall.

Those arriving via automobile, please park your car briefly (just long enough to unload) in front of the residence hall. Then move your car to make way for others.  Parents may stay long enough to get students settled in their rooms, and then they are free to leave. The picnic and orientation session are strictly for the participants.

Your counselor will greet you and later escort you on a campus tour and then to dinner. Sunday evening all students will have a mandatory orientation session at 6 pm.

Will someone pick up my son or daughter from the airport, train or bus station? We will be happy to transport arriving students from the Richmond airport, train or bus stations. Once students are admitted to the program they will receive a travel form so they can alert the VCUarts Summer Intensive staff of their arrival times, and we will schedule pick up times accordingly. This service is provided free of charge to make student arrival stress-free.

When is check-out time? Students will check out of the residence hall on Friday, July 29th between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm. Counselors will transport students who request this service to the airport, train or bus station for their journeys home.

Is there a fee if I lose my room key? 

There is a $65 fee for lost keys.

Are there any scholarships available for the VCUarts Summer Intensive? 

Unfortunately, we do not offer any scholarships for the Summer Intensive.

Some students take on part-time jobs to help out with tuition. Others ask their grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. to give them money for birthdays and holidays so they can use the money to attend the program. Some students inquire with local community organizations such as the Rotary, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council, etc. to see if they have scholarship money available.

When should students apply? 

Students are encouraged to apply early since space in each major is limited. Applications are dated and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Incomplete applications are not processed until all missing documents are supplied, so be certain to include all attachments and signatures. If a student is ineligible for the program they will be notified soon after the application is received.


 Students who bring a vehicle will be required to pay for parking in advance. Cost for parking will be $72 for the three weeks.

Returned Check Fee: 

There is a $50 fee for all returned checks. This applies to returned credit card charges as well.

ID Cards: 

Students will carry their VCU ID card with them at all times. This will allow entry into the residence hall. If the card is lost or stolen a replacement fee of $25 will be charged.

What do participants do on the weekends? 

Participants will have a choice of going home for the weekends (or one weekend) or participating in the Art Adventure Weekends. Students who decide to engage in the Art Adventure Weekends will select from five course offerings each weekend. These students will receive eight additional hours of instruction each weekend for a fee of $50 per weekend. Past course offerings have included an Introduction to Jewelry Making, Introduction to Typography, Screenplay Writing, Enameling, and Bookmaking to name a few.

Are there art supply stores close to campus? 

If students are unable to find the necessary art supplies before they arrive there are a number of art supply store within walking distance of the residence hall, and the VCU Bookstore carries a wide range of art supplies in case students run out of something during the Intensive.

What is the weather like in Richmond during July? 

A typical summer day consists of average low temperatures in the mid to upper 60s and average high temperature in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Richmond tends to be very humid.  Students should come prepared for possible thunderstorms.

Dress Code: 

Bring light, casual clothing. Clothing should be neat, comfortable and modest. No bare mid-driffs or backs are permitted. No undergarments may be visible. Shirts and shoes must be worn at all times. Students who do not follow these guidelines will be asked to change clothes before going to class.

The academic spaces and residence halls are air conditioned so warmer attire, such as a sweater or jacket, is recommended.

Who are the counselors? Counselors are upper-level undergraduates, graduate students or teachers who have completed a rigorous application procedure, provide references, and pass a background check.  The Counselors complete an extensive training program prior to the Summer Intensive.

Refund policy: 

Please review the following refund policy carefully. Full refunds (minus the non-refundable $50 application fee and the $300 deposit) will be made for those canceling prior to July 1, 2016. No refunds will be available after July 1st.
Once the student is on site, refunds will not be made if the student chooses to leave early, becomes homesick, or is expelled for disciplinary reasons.

What are the deadlines for applying to the programs? 

April 1, 2016: For priority admissions, please submit your application along with a non-refundable $50 application fee, and all supporting materials. Applications must be postmarked by April 1st. You will be notified of program acceptance by May 1st. You may make payments by check or credit card. Please make checks payable to Virginia Commonwealth University – School of the Arts. Later applicants who apply by May 1st will be notified of status by May 9th.

May 13, 2016: Your $300 deposit to hold your place in the Intensive is due. Students are not guaranteed a space in the program until this deposit has been received.

June 3, 2016: The tuition balance is due. Any tuition or fees not paid by June 4th will result in a loss of enrollment.

What is Richmond, Virginia like? 

Richmond has been the capital of the Commonwealth since 1779, and offers a wealth of opportunities for cultural, educational and recreational experiences.  Richmond is a mid-sized city. The population of the Richmond metropolitan area, including Richmond City, and Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover counties exceeded 1.2 million people.

Richmond offers easy access to the ocean, mountains, Washington, DC, and Williamsburg, VA.   It also offers trendy boutiques and restaurants, outdoor pursuits among one of the nation’s largest river park systems, and a treasure trove of historic landmarks provide fun times galore.

VCU contributes greatly to the culture and entertainment of the city with collegiate athletics as well as dance, music and theatre performances by VCU School of the Arts students.  Richmond life is also enhanced by a number of professional sports teams, professional theatre companies, the Richmond Ballet, Richmond Symphony, Virginia Opera, and a rich selection of museums and historical sites.

How large is VCU? 

VCU is an urban, public institution enrolling nearly 32,000 undergraduates and graduate students on two campuses. More than 2,020 full-time faculty members and 897 adjunct faculty members comprise the university’s teaching force.  The total workforce of the university – faculty, physicians, nurses and administrative and support staff – is more than 15,000.