On a Wednesday afternoon at the start of August, the studio is quiet with 4 students intently working on their art. The lead teacher, Adrien Lanfranchi is sitting next to one as she wields her paintbrush. A graduate of the coveted Rhode Island School of Design, Adrien's a transplant of Oogie in Boston, moving to Shanghai just three months ago to help build up the new campus.
This is the summer program (8-10 weeks), students can opt into the Intensive Program, Mon-Sat.
An "honest portfolio" means the work is created by the students. According to Jeff Yin, Director of Oogie's Shanghai Campus, the companies which currently exist in China typically sell 80 hours to complete portfolios, but in reality he says a good portfolio requires 5 times that. The result: pressure is put on teachers, who are then tempted to complete their student's portfolios.
Oogie Art was founded by art educator Wook Choi whose vision was to teach students the technical and creative thinking skills they need to go on to create interesting projects for their portfolios. They say they'll continue that model in Shanghai, as well as manage expectations; each student has an online portfolio to help them keep track of progress with critiques from Adrien, Jeff, and Wook.
Maya Dixon's 'Train" from YoungArts 2018 portfolio
Though they can tailor programs to fit students, Jeff says in an ideal world, students would come early. He gave the example of Maya Dixon who started at Oogie in Grade 7 and would go on to be a YoungArts Finalist this year as well as a Scholastic Art Award champion.
There are programs all year to help with portfolio prep—fall semester, spring semester, and summer semester. Fall & Spring semesters are after school programs, the number of hours put in each week depend on students needs (and how much time they have to put together their portfolio). *Classes are taught in English.*
Currently taking applicants for the fall semester, check out all the programs here once you pick one you can schedule an interview.