Program Overview

The Blue Ridge Summer Institute for Young Artists (BLUR) provides inspired, motivated rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors the opportunity to study a single artistic medium for three intensive weeks, and to extend their understanding and passion into new media.

While in residence, students will spend most of their time working with master teachers in their declared medium of emphasis--either creative writing, drawing/painting/sculpting, or sound design/ music composition. Students will spend the rest of their time in other media, extending their creative processes into new aesthetic possibilities and challenges. The program greatly encourages collaboration between students as they build their way to final projects.

The specific curriculum depends upon the expertise, experience, and intuition of the instructor, and thus the program changes from year to year, sometimes significantly. In the past, studio art students have studied charcoal, ink, encaustics, pencil, pastels, photography, ceramics, wax, found objects, metals, and/or oil paints. Creative writing students have explored the intricacies of the lyric poem, the narrative poem, dramatic poetry, short stories, playwriting, and/or nonfiction prose. Regardless of who is teaching the course, however, and whatever their focus is this year, the goal is to expose students to a wide variety of media, genres, and techniques, and provide deep training in skill sets that extend across such boundaries.

Sound design/ music composition is new for 2017, and will be chaired by Professor Joshua Harris. Students will complete a variety of projects using the Sound Art Production and Analysis (SArPA) Studio, a new creative space for composers and sound artists. This studio features professional audio equipment and software, including a variety of microphones, speakers, and the latest tools in digital audio production.