One Year Program in Art Practice 

Advance your practice through critical engagement with prominent artists and curators, form significant relationships in the arts and culture ecosystem, and introduce your work to new and meaningful spaces.

  • Deepen the criticality of your work through individual in person studio visits with accomplished visiting artists, curators and scholars
  • Explore contemporary topics in art through visiting artist seminars.
  • Strengthen your rhetoric through group critique
  • Hone or expand your skills in workshops demonstrating a wide range of tools and techniques
  • Increase your understanding of related practices or precedents through individual online conversations with leading artists and scholars
  • Cultivate your ability to use writing as a tool through sessions with a writing coach
  • Improve your art-business savvy through entrepreneurial practice workshops
  • Travel to LA, NY and Berlin to visit influential art spaces and meet with thought-provoking artists and curators.
  • Produce and present a body of work or performance – individually or collaboratively – for a venue or setting currently beyond your reach
  • Assess your growth through in depth feedback from a team of visiting artists at the beginning, middle and end of the program

Small School’s Program in Art Practice offers exceptional individual attention, substantial growth-oriented challenges, and enriching connections of the highest quality.

Who is the Program For?

Early-, mid-, or returning-to-career artists who are:

  • Ready for a demanding and supportive experience in a program designed for significant professional and personal growth;
  • Committed to making work, constructive critical dialogue, and public engagement; and
  • Willing to take risks in exploring ideas, methods of making, and deepening/cultivating audience connection.

With an emphasis on individual feedback and direction, the Art Practice Program meets you where you are, providing the opportunity to move your practice towards where you want to go.

Questions? Email with subject heading “Program in Art Practice?”


Relationships are central to the Small School experience. In addition to the formal learning structures of individual and group critiques, workshops and seminars, Small School creates frequent opportunities for informal learning that is highly social and relational. Through adventurous group travel and exploratory conversations over meals with visiting artists, students exchange and develop ideas shaped by relationship.

Artist-led Community Design-Build

Each year Visiting Artists lead students through an intense, week-long collaborative design-build project with a local community that could benefit from our engagement. Project types could include a library in a juvenile detention center, a community garden in a food desert, a bicycle repair hub in a bicycle skills park, etc.


Small School travels to New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin to help students establish connections and opportunities within the larger arts and culture ecosystem by:

  • meeting with artists, curators, and scholars;
  • visiting art centers;
  • attending exhibitions and performances.

Approximate costs for travel and accommodations only are:

  • 3 day/2 night trip to LA ($1,250)
  • 3 day/2 night trip to NY ($1,250)
  • 5 day/5 night trip to Berlin ($2,500)

Travel is not required, but highly recommended.

Final Exhibit

In collaboration with the program director, students identify a forum for presentation of their work in a final exhibit or performance. Emphasis is placed on cultivating an audience, and bringing the highest value and deepest meaning to the work.

Artist Residencies

Small School will help identify and connect students to artist residency opportunities. 

Academic Calendar

End of August – End of June

The Small School calendar attempts to accommodate the schedules of students with work and or family commitments.

Below is a typical month in the Small School Academic Calendar.


Faculty are comprised of Visiting Artists who:

  • Deliver lectures open to the public
  • Conduct one-on-one studio visits;
  • Lead small group seminars;
  • Run making-based and professional development workshops; and
  • Participate in small group critiques;
  • Get to know students informally over shared meals.

The vast majority of interaction is in person, supplemented with occasional virtual sessions.

Additionally, each student meets individually with:

  • The Small School Director, monthly;
  • A Writing Coach, monthly; and
  • A Consultant Team of three accomplished artists / art educators, at the beginning, mid-point, and end of the program. Students receive written feedback from the Consultant Team after each meeting.

Small School values resourcefulness, strong relationships, and cooperative creativity. Our public talks, seminars and workshops are held at various Partner venues:

  • North Carolina Museum of Art
  • Dix Park
  • Artspace
  • VAE (Visual Art Exchange)
  • CAM (Contemporary Art Museum – Raleigh)
  • Lump Gallery
  • Anchorlight
  • City of Raleigh – Raleigh Arts

If students are in search of studio space, Small School helps identify options; students are responsible for their own studio arrangements.


Small School does not provide housing, but will direct students to resources to locate housing if needed.


Small School offers an outstanding learning experience at an affordable price.

  • Tuition and fees are $10K, and include all workshop and seminar materials, but not individual studio space or supplies, or travel costs. Need-based tuition discounts of 10-25% are available, based on an applicant’s financial circumstances and tax return.

It’s easy to apply to Small School. If you’re interested, simply click HERE and follow the instructions.

There is no application fee and you will be contacted to schedule an interview within 6 weeks of filling out the form and sending the required submissions.

In Summary

The Small School Program in Art Practice is designed to help the early-, mid-, or returning-to-career artist to improve their:
  • Skills in making the work;
  • Ability to articulate the ideas and issues their work is about; and
  • Strategies for connecting with an audience and sustaining their practice.
Through in-depth individual and small group engagement with prominent visiting artists, scholars, and curators, Small School provides opportunities for students to develop the strength of their practice – and their plan for how to make a life as an artist.