The Cooper Union School of Art Outreach Program

/ Saturday Program

About the Program

The Outreach Pre-College Program was formed in 1992 to extend the Summer Art Program taught and administered by School of Art faculty. Outreach continues to be a full scholarship, year–round program for New York City area high school students, grades 10-12, and is ideal preparation for students interested in pursuing a degree in art. Studio classes include: introduction to drawing, printmaking, photography, two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design, as well as courses that investigate creative writing and contemporary art issues—we ask what compels artists to make work today? This program serves the needs of students who would most benefit from portfolio development and a fully funded education. The curriculum is designed to harness the talent and promise of New York’s youth.

Students are admitted to the Outreach Program through a portfolio interview conducted on-campus prior to each seasonal course.

All classes are taught by college level faculty who are professional artists and poets, and are assisted by Cooper Union undergraduates. Enrollment is limited to 18 students per class to ensure lots of constructive time spent with the instructors. Classes take place in Cooper’s iconic building (at Astor Place), but also include opportunities to visit museums, galleries, and artist studios throughout the city to further enrich the student’s experience.

Each session ends with a celebration of students’ work in an exhibition at the Cooper Union as well as a reading to showcase the poetry students create in their writing workshops. After the session each student is represented in an anthology featuring their best works.

For more information on the Outreach Program, call 212-353-4202 or email

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Outreach Instructors and Staff

Stephanie Hightower is the director of the Outreach Program (since 1992) and teaches Drawing, Two-Dimensional Design, and Contemporary Art Issues. Ms. Hightower has taught Painting and Visual Thinking at Fordham University, the University of Connecticut, and John Jay College. She has exhibited at numerous venues and is represented by the Cheryl McGinnis Gallery in New York. Ms. Hightower was the recipient of the Barbara White Fellowship at The Vermont Studio Center, the BRIO Excellence in the Arts Grant, and The Millay Colony for the Arts Studio / Research Fellowship.

Education: MFA in Painting (Minor in Art Criticism) Pratt Institute (1987); BFA University of Dallas (1982)

Adriana Farmiga is a Ukrainian-American artist who lives and works in New York. She has worked with the Outreach Program since 2008 as instructor for 3dd and drawing, as well as Faculty Adviso/Recruitment Coordinator. She serves as an adjunct faculty member at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and has also In 2008 she received an Emerging Artist Fellowship at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens; she shows regularly in New York and abroad, and is represented by Newman Popiashvili Gallery (NY) and The Company in Los Angeles. Farmiga is also an programming advisor to the non-profit gallery space run by La Mama Etc., in the East Village.

Education: MFA, Bard College; BFA, Cooper Union School of Art

Pablo Diaz is the Outreach Program Coordinator. He has been involved with Outreach as a high school student, undergraduate teaching assistant, and recruiting representative. Mr. Diaz is a painter and printmaker, as well as a technician at the Cooper Union Typography Shop. Previously, he has worked as an artist assistant at Two Palms Press and as a portfolio-prep teacher at Juan M. Campos High School in Brooklyn. Mr. Diaz has exhibited in group shows at The Crane Street Studios in Long Island City.

Education: BFA, Cooper Union

Cara DiEdwardo teaches Introduction to Printmaking and Two-Dimensional Design Ms. DiEdwardo has been an adjunct printmaking professor at Cooper Union since 1991. She has taught college-level courses in papermaking, calligraphy, and etching. Ms. DiEdwardo also serves on the admissions committee and represents Cooper Union at National Portfolio Reviews across the country.

Education: Post graduate study at Kyoto Seika University; BFA, Cooper Union (1985); Undergraduate studies in Foreign Language, Biology, and Chemistry at Hunter College, NY (1991-1993)

Dave Johnson has taught the Creative Writing Workshop for Outreach since 2000 and is the senior editor (with Stephanie Hightower) for all publications. He is the author of the play, Baptized To The Bone (Dramatists Play Service 2005) and Marble Shoot, a book of poems (Hummingbird Press/Wake Forest University 1996). A production of Baptized To The Bone enjoyed a run of sold-out performances through May 3, 2009 at the New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. The play also received awards of best actor and best new play from the Dallas/Fort Worth Critics Forum for the production at The Water Tower Theatre in Dallas. Dave was critically acclaimed as an actor as well, by The New York Times, for his role in Romulus Linney's play, True Crimes (1996), and by The Village Voice (1997) for his role in Linney's Mock Trial. Dave appeared as a featured poet on CNN International News and was presented as guest artist for The Manhattan Borough President’s inauguration 2006 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His new work includes a CD recording of original poems, Dead Heat (Champion Records 2009). He teaches writing at Yale University and he is currently a visiting Faculty Member of the MFA writing program at The New School.

Education: MFA in Writing from Columbia University; BA in Literature and Theater Arts from Wake Forest University

John Kavalos teaches Drawing for the Outreach Program. His work has been exhibited extensively and he has been the recipient of numerous awards including a fellowship from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation (1998), a painting fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (1986), and a painting fellowship from the Yale School of Art at Norfolk (1975).

Education: MFA in Painting, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, PA; BFA in Painting, Syracuse University, NY

Jane Kent teaches Drawing for the Outreach Program. Her work has been seen in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Ms. Kent has taught at a number of universities, including Princeton, Columbia, Brown, and Rhode Island School of Design. She is currently Professor of Printmaking with the University of Vermont. In 2003, she collaborated with author Susan Orlean to produced The Orchid Thief - Reimagined. Ms. Kent’s solo exhibition, “Privacy,” was held at the Mississippi Museum of Art (2000). Ms. Kent has received many awards including a Yaddo Artist’s Fellowship (2008, 2003, 1995) and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1989-1990).

Education: Graduate of London College of Printing; BFA University of the Arts, Philadelphia

Christian Nguyen teaches Three-Dimensional Design and Portfolio Preparation. Mr. Nguyen is an artist based in New York City. He combines different media with historical and architectural references to create and explore the practice of making art. He is interested in the space where spirituality and ritual meet and exist in contemporary urban society. He was a resident at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program where he created a series of large-scale drawings. Recently his work was included in “In Response”, at the Wave Hill Glyndor Gallery, Summer Projects, 2008.

Education: MFA Hunter College (2000); BFA Cooper Union School of Art (1990)

Willie Perdomo is a poet and teacher. He teaches Creative Writing for the Summer 4-week Program. He was the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fiction Grant and has been included in numerous poetry anthologies. He is the author of Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (1995). He often performs his work at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

David Storey teaches Drawing for the Outreach Program. Mr. Storey is a painter and printmaker who is internationally exhibited and published. His work appears in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum. He has received many awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and Residencies with Yaddo and the Tamarind Institute. He has taught at the Cooper Union, Columbia University, the University of Iowa and Fordham University.

Education: MFA University of California at Davis; BA University of California, Berkeley

Carla Edwards is a New York City based artist teaching Three-Dimensional Design in the Outreach Program. She has exhibited nationally and internationally. Edwards works thru the appropriation of pop imagery, and her practice addresses identity politics and how the body is seen thru the rubric of popular culture. Central to her work, questions of how political affiliation, sexuality, and gender affect notions of community. She is an alumnus of Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing (2004), and the Whitney Independent Study Program (2008). She has also taught at Lehman College, and Rhode Island School of Design.

Education: MFA (2004) with honors from Rhode Island School of Design; BFA (1999) from The School Of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Visiting Artists, Critics and Curators

Other recent visiting artists with the Outreach Program have included:

Sol'Sax is a graduate of the Cooper Union. In 2004 he received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives and works in Bushwick.

Zhang Hong-Tu is a Chinese-born New York-based artist whose work has been shown through out the world. His mixed media conceptual paintings challenge notions of high and low art.

Jeffrey Gibson is a painter and sculptor. He has worked with Outreach as both an instructor and Faculty Advisor. His work has been exhibited at the Aldrich Museum, The Museum of the American Indian, and the Kentler International Drawing Space.

Mario Naves is an artist and an art critic for the New York Observer. He has taught at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn College, and the Ringling School of Art. He represented by Elizabeth Harris Gallery.

Roberto Visani is a sculptor who has had numerous exhibitions at venues such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, Sculpture Center, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. In 1997 he was the recipient of a Fullbright Grant to study in Ghana.

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