How is this school different than a regular school? 

ARA Boston teaches students at their own pace with individualized instruction. We realize that different people have different time constraints. The way the school is set up, it allows for any student, at any skill level, and any schedule to learn to draw and paint at a high technical skill level. The Bargue, Cast and Still Life Track of the program is simply project by project. The Figure Drawing Track of the program focuses each trimester on 2 weeks of short poses with the remainder comprised of one long pose, in combination with anatomy instruction. 

Do I have to start with copying Bargues from the flat or can I start on a cast?

While we absolutely believe that working from life is the best way to learn, we feel it's better reserved for the students who at least have a mastery of the basics. Beginning with the bargue and working from the flat, where certain decisions are already made for the student, it allows us to ensure a mastery of certain aspects of drawing including accurate technical drawing, approaching a drawing in stages of complexity, training observation, value, turning form, anatomy, transitions and rendering. As you can see from our student work (link here), our students who begin with bargues have a mastery of these concepts and as a result we can address more advanced topics with their cast work (link here).

We have allowed students who have other atelier training (with evidence of past drawings that meet certain expectations) to begin on a more advanced drawing from the flat for their first assignment, and therefore starting more deeper in the program. Please contact us if you think you qualify, but please make sure you look at our student work to see if your current work is comparable.

Can I start painting right away in the program?

No. However, you can take the evening non-program classes or workshops which offer options for painting. Otherwise you need to progress through the program just like everyone else. We are also happy to discuss projects you can do independently to start painting on your own to prep for when you begin painting in the program.

Can you explain the classes to me?

A "class" is considered a 3-hour block of time. There is a morning session (9:30-12:30), an Afternoon session (1:30-4:30) and on Wednesdays there is an evening session (5:00-8:00). If you come in for a session, that simply means you are going to work on your current project and have the instructor be available to you for those 3 hours. 


  1. You MUST be signed up for an equal number of Bargue classes.

  2. Part time figure classes are on Fridays only

  3. Full time figure classes are Tuesday and Thursday (no part time students in T and TH classes)

  4. You MUST be signed up for both morning and afternoon classes for each day.

Some students choose to work on their projects outside of class as well, but please consult your instructor before you do so in order for them to give you proper instructions.

What if I work during the week and cannot attend day classes? 

We offer some evening classes and Figure drawing classes on Saturdays. We also have workshops scheduled during various times of the year. We may also be able to offer private classes upon request for those who have especially challenging schedules. 

Do you offer scholarships? 

The Academy of Realist Art has an annual scholarship competition for new students. You can find info on the Scholarship page.

Do you help with Visas?


What if I can't even draw a stick figure?! 

That doesn't matter! We pride ourselves in be able to teach students of any and all skill levels to draw and paint. Whether you are a practicing professional artist who wants to fine tune your skills, or someone who has never picked up a pencil, we can help you achieve your goals.

How do I apply? 

You can apply here and we will schedule a time for you come in. Once we meet (or speak on the phone), we will go over your application, take a look at your current portfolio and discuss your goals for attending. If you are accepted, this does not guarantee your spot! Only once a non-refundable deposit of 30% of the next term's tuition can hold your spot for you. 

What if I paid for a class or workshop but something comes up and I can not attend?

Atelier program classes are refundable if registration is cancelled at least 28 days (4 weeks) prior to the beginning day of the class. Otherwise, you can apply any payments to future classes or workshops. For workshops, payments are non refundable unless a person is able to replace you (for example, if we have a waitlist for the workshop).