School's (Not) Out for Summer!

Guest Correspondence

BY DR. LARRY THOMPSON SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY MAY 26, 2018

Prior to becoming president of Ringling College of Art and Design, I served for several years as the founding executive director and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. So, I can’t help but think of the old Alice Cooper song “School’s Out” when the month of June rolls around. But while Alice sings about “no more pencils,” “no more books,” here at Ringling College we’re rocking to a different tune: “School’s in!” We’re offering lots of wonderful classes and activities for lively and curious minds of all ages and abilities.

We always do. As in the past, this summer we’re offering an extensive PreCollege program for students thinking about attending an art and design school and who want to know if that’s the right career path for them. More than 200 students from thirty-one states and Puerto Rico and eight countries outside the U.S have already signed up for the program.

The majority of PreCollege students absolutely love it; yet a few may decide it’s not the path for them and set out in new directions. The benefits are huge either way. Because they’ve attended PreCollege at Ringling they’ll know themselves better; they’ll have had the opportunity to study with faculty and professionals at the top of their field; they’ll cultivate useful skills and knowledge and increase their eligibility for college admissions and scholarships; and they’ll see firsthand how hard artists, designers, creative writers and arts entrepreneurs work every day in order to excel in their profession. At the end of the PreCollege program, 10 students will be awarded scholarships for outstanding academic achievement and two for student life leadership. The amount of each scholarship is $5,000 and goes toward the first year costs of attending Ringling College. Whether students decide to attend Ringling or not, they’ll still have made lasting friendships with others who share their passion for the arts and gained deep insight into the expanding world of creative careers.

We also have a comprehensive Summer Studios program that offers tweens, teens and adults the opportunity to investigate both established and new art and design techniques and to develop their own unique style and critical thinking skills. Students age 11 and up will be inspired, challenged and encouraged by the all the fun and informative classes offered by our outstanding instructors in drawing, printmaking, Photoshop, Illustrator, filmmaking, photography, illustration, animation, game art, portfolio, sculpture, painting and watercolor. Students in the Summer Studios program can learn traditional and digital art techniques, create stories in creative writing or in film, photo or video classes and are given lots of time to work in the studio. They can take just one class or focus on a series to earn a certificate.

Summer Studios are integral to the College’s continuing studies mission to provide educational and professional development opportunities for multigenerational audiences and to support the academic mission of the College through innovative programming serving current and future students, the public and professionals from multiple fields.

Last but not least, we’re offering an exciting new workshop in glass this summer in our recently opened (and spectacular) Basch Visual Arts Center. The first workshop in early July filled up quickly, so we’ve added another starting mid-July. In these beginner-level workshops students learn a variety of techniques for working with molten glass and making both blown vessels and solid sculptures in our hot shoppe.

The spirit of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” might be taking hold in other places, but at Ringling College we’re looking forward to welcoming a new wave of students to campus this summer as we keep up the quickening pace on our path to preeminence among art and design schools worldwide. By all means, take some time this summer just to play or even do nothing! But don’t forget you can find the word “create” at the heart of recreation, and the best creative classes and workshops in the region can be found right here in Ringling College’s summer programs. Don’t miss out on that special magic that happens on campus from June through August.

Dr. Larry R. Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art and Design

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