Portfolio Plus Program

  • G Node: Port Plus
  • H Node: Port Plus
  • H Node: Port Plus
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  • Drawing trip to Saint Louis Art Museum. Photo by Danny Reise.
    Drawing trip to Saint Louis Art Museum. Photo by Danny Reise.
  • Visit to dean Carmon Colangelo's studio.
    Visit to dean Carmon Colangelo's studio.

2018 Portfolio Plus Program
July 8-28, 2018

The Portfolio Plus Program invites high school students to take college-level art and design courses. You will spend your mornings learning the fundamentals of drawing and your afternoons pursuing a studio concentration of your choice. With guidance from Sam Fox School faculty, you will work throughout our intensive three-week program to develop strong portfolios for college admission. Studio work is rounded out by organized trips to museums, visits to artists' and designers' studios, and workshops.

This program is recommended for rising juniors and seniors in high school. Upon successful completion, you'll earn 3 college credits.


Each weekday morning, you will take part in a Drawing course, where you will use a variety of dry media to learn the fundamentals of line, composition, form, space, and modeling. Demonstrations and illustrated lectures supplement studio sessions, in addition to a trip to the Study Room for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

During the afternoon session, you will pursue your choice of one of three concentrations, which reflect the degree paths offered through the Sam Fox School's Bachelor of Fine Arts program:

Communication Design: Positioned at the intersection of graphic design, illustration, and interaction design, Communication Design will introduce you to visual problem solving using elements of two-dimensional design, such as visual hierarchy, composition, typography, color, and image making. The course explores both traditional and digital tools, with studio assignments supported by workshops aimed at developing computer skills.

Fashion Design: Fashion Design focuses on the relationship between clothing and contemporary culture. You'll begin by learning to conceptualize and illustrate your designs two-dimensionally. Sketches translate into wearable artworks, with a focus on construction, proportion, and form. Your work culminates in a final garment constructed from alternative materials.

Studio Art: Studio Art explores techniques and strategies for working across disciplines in visual art. With an emphasis on experimentation and thinking through making, the course will expand your base of technical skills and equip you with a greater understanding of how the interrelation of form, content, materials, and process give work its meaning.

In addition, the program includes a series of weekend workshops in the areas of printmaking, photography, and book-making, which provide opportunities to explore additional media and techniques.

Course work is also complemented by additional events and activities, including:

- Guest lectures by artists, designers, and curators.
- Artwork documentation workshop.
- Presentations on topics such as research, portfolio preparation, and the college admission process.
- Field trips to places such as the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Kemper Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Fashion Fund, Tremendousness, and local artists' and designers' studios.
- Design and installation of a final exhibition of work.


John Early
Program Director; Lecturer, Studio Art
John Early is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose work documents the dynamics of permanence and change in the world around us. Two of his current projects include a self-published artist's book of snapshots from Florence, Italy, and a sculptural installation created as part of the Material World of Modern Segregation project headed by WashU's American Culture Studies Program. As an instructor, he strives to make the studio a laboratory for experimentation and risk-taking to help students build confidence as makers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, he has lived in St. Louis for the past thirteen years.

Amy Auman
Lecturer, Communication Design
Amy Auman is a visual designer, writer, and educator. She enjoys integrating images and typography to tell compelling stories in a variety of forms, from the messages a brand sends, to the narrative behind a data set, to a set of images within a book. Her background includes book design and information design, but much of her current work is focused on branding and identity. Auman is passionate about the way design can make the world around us easier to navigate and understand. In class, she encourages design thinking through deep investigation using both traditional and non-traditional media, including the computer as a tool to manifest ideas. Projects range from illustration to design to communicate a desired intent.

Liz Guilmet
Lecturer, Drawing

Liz Guilmet is an artist currently living and working in St. Louis, and has exhibited her work internationally, including in Greece and Italy. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan in 2008 and a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art from WashU in 2014. She will be teaching drawing for the Portfolio Plus Program. Some of her recent work is both a celebration of the forgotten relics of natural history, and a return to wonder by reanimating the curiosities.

Tim Lane
Lecturer, Drawing

Tim Lane is a graphic novelist and freelance illustrator. His graphic novel Abandoned Cars, published by Fantagraphics Books, was nominated for the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Collection of Stories. His comics are widely published in anthologies, including Fantagraphics' Hotwire and MOME, the Kean Review, Smoke Signal, and DC Comic's Bizarro World. Another graphic novel by Lane, The Lonesome Go, was published through Fantagraphics Books in spring 2014. He also produced a biographical graphic novel about the actor Steve McQueen for Quayside Publishing, which was published in winter 2015. As a freelance illustrator, Lane's clients include Penguin Books, Rolling Stone, Wired, and The New York Times, among many others.

Robin VerHage
Associate Professor, Fashion Design
Working regionally, nationally, and internationally, Robin VerHage has designed costumes for more than sixty theatre and opera productions. She collaborated with Jim Henson at Muppets in NYC, as well as with companies such as Laterna Majika (Prague, Czech Republic) and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. As an associate professor of fashion design in the Sam Fox School, one of her favorite assignments is teaching Introduction to Fashion. Two University grants (from the Kauffman Foundation and I-CARES) have generously supported her studies in sustainable fashion design.

Tuition, Room, & Board

The estimated cost of the 2018 Portfolio Plus Program is $4,930. These costs include tuition, room, board (3 meals per day), supplies, and field trips. An additional $100 should be budgeted as extra spending money for purchases such as snacks, entertainment, souvenirs, etc. Upon acceptance to the program, a $250 non-refundable deposit will be required by June 1, 2018, to reserve your space in the program. If you withdraw from the program after classes begin, no portion of tuition will be refunded.

You will live in one of our modern residence houses on the WashU campus. Study rooms, kitchenettes, laundry facilities, floor lounges, and a computer lab are available. Program Assistants are current undergraduates or recent graduates who live in the residence houses, assist in your classes, chaperone field trips, and guide you through the program. With your meal plan, you get to enjoy a variety of food choices available across campus.


The online application for the 2018 WashU Architecture, Art, & Design Pre-College Programs will open December 15, 2017. Students are admitted on a rolling basis beginning in January 2018. Early applications are encouraged.

International & Early Application Deadline: March 15, 2018
Regular Application Deadline: April 15, 2018

The following materials are required:
1. 500-word essay answering about you and what you hope to gain from our program.
2. Your most recent high school transcript.
3. One letter of recommendation from an academic teacher, art teacher, principal, high school counselor, or artist/architect who knows you well.
4. (Optional) Copies of official PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores.
5. (Optional) Portfolio featuring up to 5 images of your work.
6. $45 nonrefundable application fee ($35 if you apply by March 15, 2018).


Scholarship assistance is available, up to the full cost of attendance. Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and academic merit. The program deposit is waived for students requiring scholarship assistance.
Download the scholarship assistance application form>>

Scholarship Application Deadline: March 15, 2018
*To be considered for a scholarship, your program application must also be complete by this date.


For more information about the Architecture Discovery Program or application process, please contact:

Courtney Cushard
Coordinator of Special Programs