Certificate Program

Kiwi, Carol RubinWashington Studio School (WSS), founded in 1985, is a community of artists and students dedicated to the standards of a perceptual fine arts tradition and its relevance to the present. WSS provides a disciplined studio environment aimed at encouraging communication among teachers and students. Small classes are designed for individual instruction, opportunities for mentoring, and shared learning between students as well as between teacher and students.

Our goal is to provide understanding of a visual heritage. Only after mastering the enduring and fundamental skills of a discipline can one apply oneself to contemporary theories. Art is not realized in the facility of representation but is found in the process of discovery. The ideological thread that runs throughout the school provides a consistent framework for learning in the studio, landscape, and museum, and ultimately provides the foundation that encourages artistic individuality and independence. We teach the fundamental skills in seeing and mastery of the best fine art values which aim to inform today’s artistic expression.

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The Certificate Program provides students with a structured course of study designed to advance a student’s ability and comprehension and equip graduates with an applicable mastery of the visual language. Intensive studio classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, and related subjects are supported by seminars in history, theory, and critique. Our Certificate Program is directed to those whose primary goal is the making of art.

In addition to a personalized course of study, students in the Certificate Program enroll from the same core of classes and faculty as non-certificate students, thereby enhancing the dynamics of learning between the many professions and skills of their fellow students.

The Certificate Program does more than enhance technical skills; it leads students through a maturation of visual expression and intellect. Students may meet regularly with faculty, cultivating a close rapport while stressing the studio independence necessary for the progression of the student.

WSS curriculum grows from the modernist aesthetic but does not advocate any particular style. Our program focuses on the successful completion of visual comprehension and mastery which are determined by ongoing portfolio reviews rather than the linear progression of classes and receipt of grades.

Equivalent in the concentration of time and effort to a university graduate program, a full-time student may expect to graduate within two years. A typical term is composed of twelve hours of class time and/or tutorial weekly, in addition to independent studio time. The student is required to complete a thesis project, which, along with a written journal, is reviewed and approved by the Evaluating Committee.

A Certificate Student is expected to attend regular critiques and to become immersed in the serious pursuit of his/her education. Exhibition possibilities, individual attention from an Advisor, and support from a community are benefits of the program.


General Requirements

Applicants to the program must submit a portfolio of at least five paintings and ten drawings for review. If the student intends to focus on sculpture, the portfolio must contain slides of completed works with multiple views and ten drawings.

Application and Fee

A completed application for admission must be accompanied by a non-refundable $100 application fee. An application form will be supplied upon request.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation from instructors or practicing professional artists must be delivered directly to Washington Studio School within a reasonable time from the date of application.

Statement of Purpose

Applicants must submit a written statement (250-500 words) of the applicant’s intent and reason for study, along with a resume including professional experience and/or related activities such as awards and exhibitions.


Personal interviews for applicants may be scheduled by WSS Head of Faculty upon receipt and review of required application material.

Application Deadline

All required application materials must be received together in one package. Applicants will be notified of the receipt of application materials. All materials should be sent to:

Washington Studio School
2129 S Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Applicants will receive an admissions decision in writing.


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