Marathon Student working on a large Charcoal Drawing from life

The School's internationally-recognized Marathon programs were developed in 1988 by Dean Graham Nickson, initially as a measure for the rest of the semester at the start of the program year. The program has since expanded to become a core component of the School's curriculum. Meanwhile, intense outside interest led to the extension of the Marathons to a wider audience of participants outside of the full-time student body. Renowned artists, art historians, dealers, collectors,  art educators, writers, journalists and students of all levels and affiliations have since experienced the intensity of the program.

The Marathon course hours are 9:00am to 6:00pm, with a lunch break from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. In some Marathons, there may be critiques. The specific critique schedule will be determined once courses have commenced.



Originally designed to address the importance of drawing as the basis of understanding one's experience in the world, the Marathons are based in an exploration of this most direct route to an enriched understanding of the language of the plastic arts. The innovation inherent in the Marathon program reawakens the way that drawing is experienced by artists and appreciators alike.

The Marathons are intensive, all-day programs that run for two weeks at the beginning of each semester and during the Summer Session. Drawing, Painting and Sculpture marathons are offered, both by full-time faculty and distinguished visiting artists, who are present for the entire session. All programs operate along the same basic model of immersing the student in their chosen discipline.

The level of commitment reached by participants during the Marathon is extraordinary. Each individual must confront the problems of drawing, painting and sculpture with vigor and intensity if they are are to show that they are equal to the fierce demands of concentration and stamina necessary for the program. Not only are participants fully engaged in the physical aspects of making art, they are also intellectually challenged and stimulated by extensive group and individual critiques. The strong and surprising works made often work as catalysts for future work.

Marathons are open to beginning and advanced artists, regardless of their affiliation. Admission follows the same requirements and procedures as for the full-time program. Fees for the ten-day course must be paid in full upon registration.




Drawing Marathon - Graham Nickson and Guests

2 weeks: Tuesday, September 6th - Friday, September 16th, 2016


In this Marathon, students learn the importance of drawing as the basis of understanding one's experience of the world. Drawing is seen here as the most direct route to the examination of our perceptions. Unorthodox tools and exercises will be introduced to broaden the student's drawing vocabulary.

The class meets everyday for two consecutive weeks, 9am-6pm, five days per week. Evening critiques will be held during both weeks. Times of the critiques will be announced during the session. Attendance to each session is mandatory.

Drawing Marathon - Clintel Steed

first week: Tuesday, September 6th - Saturday, September 10th, 2016


This class will explore a variety of drawing concepts, focusing specfically on ways in which drawings may be translated into paintings. This class is not about make a large quantity of fast drawings, but rather exploring what happens when one drawing is developed over 8 hours--how does the drawing change and how does it change its maker?

Through the working process we will explore narrative, figuration and abstraction. There are many mysteries that happen when a drawing is worked on for an entire day and elements begin to reveal themselves. We will explore pictorial ideas, plasticity and the relationship of the rectangle to the picture plane.

Looking at movements such as Dada and Pop Art, we will explore ways in which contemporary culture informs art making. Students will be encouraged to bring their own sources material to use as a springboard. This course will explore a range of process and materials to better understand the possibilities that come from using making the same sort of marks with radically different tools.

Underlying all of our work will be the driving question: how can we make our ideas become powerful images, powerful drawings?

Drawing Marathon - Matt Phillips - Masterwork Transcription Workshop

second week: Monday, September 12th - Friday, September 16th

$890, Materials fee $100

This weeklong sessiong is designed to stretch your engagement with traditional drawing practices towards new and potentially unfamiliar methods of production. Over the course of the Marathon you will be asked to transcribe an iconic masterwork through drawings, paintings, and a cardboard relief sculpture. At times you will work independently, while at other times you will work with your peers to collaboratively make a large sculptural installation. Regardless of medium, we will consistently return to drawing as a means to understand how to translate light, form and space into a pictorial image.

Sculpture Marathon - Garth Evans

2 weeks: Tuesday, September 6th - Friday, September 16th

$1,625, $200 materials fee

This Marathon offers physically demanding exercises that provoke exciting dialogues between work in two and three dimensions. In the past students of all levels who have completed the full two weeks of this course have experienced important breakthroughs. The class meets every day for two consecutive weeks from 9am to 6pm. Critiques will be held during the first week and at the conclusion of the second week. Times of critiques will vary and will be announced during the session. Attendance throughout each session is essential. This course is an introduction to working in three dimensions. For experienced students, this course will provide additional experience, which will be integrated with important aspects of the language of sculpture. For more advanced students, this course will facilitate a reconsideration of one's practice. The instructor will be present for all, or part, of each scheduled daytime session. Students will be expected to continue to work independently in the evenings and/or early mornings.


Earlybird deadline: July 29th, 2016 | Reduced application fee of $25

Final deadline: August 26th, 2016 | Regular application fee of $45






Upcoming Marathon dates:

Spring 2017

Week 1: Tuesday, January 17th - Saturday, January 21st

Week 2: Monday, January 23rd - Friday, January 27th


If you are currently enrolled as a full-time student at NYSS, or if you have successfully completed a Marathon or full-time program within the last five years, you are not required to submit an application in order to enroll in upcoming Marathons.

Please e-mail the Student Services Coordinator Tanya Steinberg at and provide: (1) the name of the upcoming course in which you would like to enroll; (2) the name of the program you most recently attended; and (3) the semester and year of the program that you most recently attended.

We will ask you to verify your contact information and update your Emergency Contact information.  We will also ask that you submit a non-refundable $45 processing fee along with a $500 Tuition Deposit (which will be applied to your Tuition payment) in order to secure your place in the upcoming program of your choice. 

We look forward to welcoming you back to the New York Studio School!

The earlybird special deadline for Fall 2016 Enrollment is July 29h, 2016

The final deadline for Fall 2016 Enrollment is August 26th, 2016.

**Applications will be reviewed as they are received; we encourage you to apply early as some courses may reach full capacity before the deadline.**

Please note: Courses are subject to change and cancellation depending upon enrollment.




Marathon Students in the Drawing Room