skip to Main Content

SI/Parks Winter/Spring Drawing Academies
In 2002, the Society of Illustrators (SI) began an enduring partnership with the NYC Parks & Recreation Afterschool Program following their request to create a structured visual arts program for underserved youth ages 9-13. Thus, the first SI/Parks Drawing Academy was offered at the Museum of Illustration to a small group of disadvantaged students in Grades 5-8 during their five-day winter break from school. Each free-admission daylong workshop with lunch included was led by a different artist who taught participants various drawing techniques utilizing supplies provided to them to eliminate barriers to learning. The Winter Academy was such a resounding success that Parks urged SI to repeat it during spring break. For more than two decades, this program has enabled hundreds of underserved youth to increase their knowledge about illustration and gain vital drawing and problem-solving skills that have positively impacted their lives.

Registration for these ongoing grant-funded Academies is coordinated with Parks via their outreach recruitment efforts that are offered by invitation only.

Interested to learn more about our Art Education Programs?

We welcome new program partners and funders to call our
SI Director of Programs/Partnerships Lindsay Compton anytime at
212-838-2560 or email her at

SI/Parks Summer Illustration Art Academy
Building upon the success of the Winter/Spring Drawing Academies, SI and Parks co-developed and implemented a Summer Illustration Art Academy for underserved youth ages 9-13 in 2010, which was supported by two National Endowment for the Arts Grants. The initial free monthlong curriculum-based program was aligned with the NYS Learning Standards in the Visual Arts and led by experienced teaching artists who created themed-based projects that integrated visits to NYC cultural sites for inspiration and underscoring skills learned. All students were given free transportation, backpacks filled with supplies, and nutritious meals to ensure optimal learning in a caring classroom environment. Over the years, the program has been thoroughly evaluated and revised in terms of its structure/content. It is now being offered annually as a free one-week Summer Academy for 20 underserved Grades 5-8 students. We have much documented evidence that this program has made a significant difference in the lives of hundreds of underrepresented students it has served.

Registration for this ongoing grant-funded Summer Academy is coordinated with Parks via their outreach recruitment efforts that are offered by invitation only.

High School Career Exploration & Portfolio Building Workshops
In 2014, SI began a longstanding partnership with the NYC High School of Art & Design, School Art League, and Exploring the Arts, Inc. to create and conduct a free series of High School Career Exploration & Portfolio Building Workshops for juniors and seniors interested in pursuing higher education in the visual arts. Originally held as a daylong program for 25 art majors per fall/spring session and funded by a start-up grant from The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, it now serves 50 Grades 9-12 students per two-hour workshop across four sessions yearly. Students receive free art supplies and interactive presentations by leading illustrators and comic/cartoon artists. They are given various drawing assignments to complete, followed by invaluable critiques that help them build competitive portfolios for college applications. SI strives to continually employ a diverse roster of artists who are reflective of the multicultural students served.

Registration for this ongoing grant-funded program is coordinated with our partners via their vast outreach efforts to NYC high school art teachers.

Genre-specific High School Workshops are offered periodically and funded by such corporate sponsors as Rockstar Games for students interested in the game design field. To learn more, please contact us.

Saturday Stories Workshops
Responding to our community’s needs during the pandemic in 2020, SI began offering a free illustrator-led monthly Zoom series on Saturdays for Grades K-4 students/families that was focused on the art of children’s book illustration. A diverse slate of rotating artists were employed to conduct 90-minute workshops where they read from their award-winning books and instructed participants in creating their own picture books, emphasizing character development and storytelling techniques. This online program was extremely popular with thousands of underserved families and earned federal, state, city, and foundation grant funds to support it.

Currently, this series is offered online for free and onsite for a nominal fee to 1,225 participants yearly. Registration for the free grant-funded Saturday Stories Zoom Workshops and onsite fees-based Saturday Picture Book Spotlight program are made public via our SI website events page. For more information, please contact us.

Afterschool Illustration Art Workshops
This onsite fees-based weekly program for Grades K-4 students/families led by SI Education Consultant and award-winning children’s book illustrator Clare Pernice teaches participants various character drawing skills through Scavenger Hunt & Draw prompts. Each week across the four-week workshop series, students gain a better understanding of character development and the importance of research used by artists to enrich their visual stories. Upon program conclusion, participants will have created a portfolio of drawings that reflect their unique visual style and sense of storytelling. They will also have fun sharing their work with other classmates throughout the series.

Registration for this fees-based program is made public via our SI website events page. For more details, please contact us.

SI is thankful to the many grant funders, corporate sponsors, and generous donors who have supported our Art Education Grades K-12 Programs over the years. Presently, our free workshops are funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Richard & Jean Coyne Family Foundation, Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, and Rockstar Games.

Back To Top