CORVALLIS - Ten years ago, the Oregon State University Department of Art launched a new program called Jumpstart to help fill a void for talented teen artists who were no longer receiving advanced instruction at the high school level because budget cuts had reduced the ranks of visual arts teachers.
Today Jumpstart has become one of the most successful precollege workshops of its kind, drawing students from all over the West Coast who come to OSU in the summer for three weeks of accelerated art and theater instruction.
Applications for the 2005 program, which runs from June 20 through July 8, are now being accepted. For more information, call the Department of Art at OSU, 541-737-4745, or visit the Jumpstart website, at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/arts/jumpstart.
Jumpstart is targeted toward students, ages 15 to 18, who have demonstrated a heightened interest and ability in the visual arts, theater or music. The OSU program offers many areas of study not commonly found in high school curricula including: drawing and modeling the human figure, drawing creatively, musical innovations, graphic design, printmaking, painting, advanced painting, photography, sculpture, theater and video.
While prior experience in these areas is not required, all students must be recommended by their high school art teachers or counselors. Students must also present a portfolio at the time of application, a letter of intent, and a letter of recommendation.
Jumpstart courses are taught by university faculty and guest artists. In addition to spending six hours in studio classes each day, students attend workshops and lectures by visiting professional artists and designers.
Two new courses are being offered at Jumpstart this year. John Wilson, a composer and musician who has toured nationally with Supreme Love Gods and Meat Beat Manifesto, has created a course called "Musical Innovations" which will explore sound and the invention, design and construction of musical instruments from raw materials and unlikely objects. Students will then use these instruments to compose and record music.
Elizabeth Miller, who started as a Jumpstart student in 1995, has continued on to complete graduate work in photography and video. She will offer a course called "Video as Art," which will focus on the use of mini digital video cameras and computers to create work exploring sequencing and story-telling, documentaries, and video installations incorporating multi-media and other art-making practices.
"We've tried to bring something new to this program every year, whether it's a web design class, a theater class or a musical instrument making class," said John Maul, an associate professor of art who founded and directs Jumpstart. "Some of the recurring courses are extremely popular, too. Marion Rossi's theater class continues a really strong relationship that art and theater have enjoyed for several years. Marion's pretty brilliant when it comes to getting students - often with no acting experience - to expand their creative ideas to the stage."
Maul said Jumpstart continues to provide many of the staples that appeal to other students as well, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photo and printmaking. "These are things that have to be taught and have to be taught really well," he said.
Basic tuition for the program is $1,695 for the residential plan, and $995 for students who can arrange their own meals and housing. Some scholarships are available, Maul said, and OSU hopes to expand scholarship opportunities in the future.
"We have a new award, the Patricia Alexander scholarship, which will support several students this coming year, and we hope to find additional revenues so we can eventually support 20-25 students each year through various scholarships," Maul said. "We want to attract the most motivated, talented students to the program, regardless of their economic situation."
This summer, two Jumpstart students will receive scholarships to OSU from the university's Department of Art. In the past, Maul said, some of the recipients of these Helen E. Plinkiewisch Scholarships are students who never would have gone to college without an initial exposure to Jumpstart, or without scholarship support.
"That's a fundamental goal of the program," Maul said, "and one reason I think we've been so successful. We're trying to expose students to a new level of art instruction and trigger in them an interest in developing their portfolios and continuing their education."