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Financial Aid

Scholarship Opportunities

Washington Studio School is deeply committed to promoting an inclusive community. We believe that students from all backgrounds should have access to quality studio-arts education. WSS offers financial aid to eligible students in the form of full or partial scholarships and work-study positions. 


Please see below for details and to submit an application.

Scholarship Opportunities

To ensure that arts education is accessible to talented students regardless of economic background, WSS offers scholarship assistance to adults and teens requiring full or partial financial assistance. The number of scholarships available will vary from year to year according to resources and availability of funding. We are grateful for the generosity of our donors who support all or part of the available scholarship opportunities. Please see below for our different scholarship options. 


Established in honor of longtime WSS student, friend, and supporter, Joan Burgess Shorey, the scholarship is generously funded in large part by the WSS Joan Burgess Shorey Legacy Fund and by our community of donors. The program provides full or partial tuition assistance to adults and high school students with limited economic resources. High school students may apply to attend WSS’s highly regarded Summer Teen Intensive Program, and adults may apply to attend a ten-week class or workshop throughout the year.


About Joan Burgess Shorey

Joan Burgess Shorey was raised in Chicago and lived in Washington, D.C. from 1964 until her death in early 2018. She attended Vassar College and the Harvard School of Design after which she moved back to Chicago to a career in community planning work. In D.C., she co-founded a consumer organization, Concern, Inc., worked for Solar Lobby, helped organize Sun Day, and was an aide to Congressman Richard Ottinger. She embraced volunteer work throughout her life and became, along with her husband, Ev, a stalwart of the citizens association CAG, and was a leading supporter of the Georgetown Public Library. She was an active member of The Folger Library Poetry Board and student body at Washington Studio School, taking numerous classes and supporting the organization throughout her tenure in various capacities.

Learn more about the Joan Burgess Shorey Legacy Fund.


The WSS Alma Thomas Scholarship, inaugurated by The Friends of Alma Thomas, is in honor and memory of abstract expressionist painter and art educator, Alma Thomas. Thomas was the first fine arts graduate of Howard University and an art teacher at Shaw Jr. High School from 1924 to 1960. Thomas was the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Scholarship is available to DC resident teens and adults from historically underrepresented communities who attend the University of District of Columbia, Howard University, DC public high schools or charter schools. The scholarship is also available to art teachers in DC public high schools or charter schools. The winning applicant(s) will receive full or partial tuition to WSS’s Summer Teen Intensive Program or enrollment to attend one ten-week class or a workshop


The WSS Alma Thomas Scholarship honors DCPS art teachers and awards spots to these teachers in our classes and workshops with a simplified application process. Please contact us (admin[at]] for additional information.


Work-Study Spring Term 2023

WSS is looking for a couple of reliable students interested in a work-study position where they can earn half to full tuition for classes the following semester. The students would be responsible for sitting at the front desk to greet night students arriving for classes and directing them to appropriate resources when asked. 


We are looking for students with availability from 5:30pm - 7:30pm (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) at least one day a week, ideally two. Students must have good communication skills, be reliable, and be punctual. 


Class Credit:

If students work one day a week, they can earn up to half tuition for a class next semester. If they work two days, they can earn up to full tuition for a course next semester:

15 Hours = Half Class Tuition ($225)

30 Hours = Full Class Tuition ($455)


Please Note: If you plan on taking a night class, you would regularly miss 30- to 45-minutes of the class by work at the desk. We recommend selecting nights you do not have a class you are already committed to. 


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Those interested in taking a course during a current or upcoming term should submit their applications two weeks prior to the start of the course.  

Email questions to: or call 202-234-3030.

Scholarship FAQs
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