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High School Seminar 2.0

Using the rich collections of the National Gallery of Art as a resource, this ten-session program offers upper-level high school art students tools for understanding and interpreting art and an insider’s view of how an art museum works.

As part of a community of like-minded students, participants explore the meaning of works of art through guided close observation, in-gallery group discussions, research on themes of their choice, and visual journaling. Behind-the-scenes visits with museum professionals introduce career possibilities, from curating and education to horticultural management. The program culminates with student-led gallery talks and the creation of a publication inspired by the students’ research that incorporates visual art and creative writing.

Students must be sponsored by their art teachers. Only one student per school will be accepted. Acceptance to the program is based on a selective application process. The High School Seminar is a partnership between schools in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and the National Gallery of Art.

Sessions meet for ten Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Attendance at all ten sessions is mandatory. Lunch will be provided.

The High School Seminar is accessible and everyone is encouraged to apply.

2016–2017 Schedule

October 15, 22, 29
November 19
December 10
January 7, 28
February 4, 11, 25

Thinking About Applying?

Please review the student requirements and Sponsoring Teacher responsibilities before applying.

Sponsoring Teacher Responsibilities
Download Teacher Form (PDF 435KB)

  • Nominate a student who
    • is a highly motivated upper-level art or art history student;
    • has demonstrated a personal commitment to art;
    • is committed to meeting the attendance requirements (see below); and
    • has parental support.
  • Explain the components of and obligations related to the program to the student.
  • Coordinate submission of your student's application together with the Sponsoring Teacher form.
  • Attend orientation at the National Gallery of Art on October 22, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Consult with your student on assignments and studio projects before each seminar session. 
  • Participate in an ongoing dialogue with seminar instructors and staff via e-mail.
  • Secure nomination and sponsorship from an art teacher whose class you will be taking in the fall of 2016.
  • Submit an application along with your teacher’s materials.
  • Attend the first seminar with your parent or guardian.
  • Attend all ten seminar sessions:
    • October 15, 22, 29
    • November 19
    • December 10
    • January 7, 28
    • February 4, 11, 25

In addition, students must be able to make at least one independent, two-hour visit to the National Gallery of Art during the first month of the program in order to study selected works of art.

The student application will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Essays are clearly written, reflecting thoughtful consideration of the content and a high level of understanding.
  • The attendance policy is accepted. 
  • The student is able to attend all seminar dates. 
  • A complete application is submitted on time.

An ideal candidate

  • is fascinated by art history and is interested in learning how to do research;
  • wants to learn about career pathways in museums and the arts;
  • looks at art with an open mind and enjoys creative expression, experimenting with art materials, and thinking about how things are made; and
  • communicates in a mature fashion with adults and asks for help when he or she needs it.

Keep in mind: You don’t have to be the best artist at your school to excel in this program! If you think you would be a good fit, talk to your art or art history teacher about sponsoring you for the 2016–2017 school year.

Student Attendance Policy

After two absences, students will be asked to resign from the seminar. The Sponsoring Teacher, parent/guardian, and student must acknowledge this policy in the completed application.

Slideshow: High School Seminar