Visual Arts Camp Online

July 18-23, 2021 Grades 8-12 (grade completion)


This summer, join us for NIU Visual Arts Camp online! Meet other talented high school artists and work directly with NIU alumni artists and arts educators to improve your foundational design skills, explore different media and methods, learn about preparing your college admissions portfolio, and more.

  • Art supplies will be delivered to your house.
  • Camp will feature a synchronous online learning format providing a hands-on artist experience from the safety of home.
  • Studio experiences will be offered to current high school students with morning and afternoon course selections taught by experienced NIU camp staff.
  • The coursework reflects exposure to new media and methods as well as a strong focus on artistic inquiry and visual expression.
  • Foundational design and drawing skills will be emphasized in all sessions.
  • All campers will receive a camp T-shirt!

Evening workshops will include presentations on portfolio preparation for college admissions and scholarship opportunities, guest lectures by NIU faculty and alumni, sketchbook development and open studio/critique sessions with staff and peers.

Required Materials

  • All art materials will be mailed to the student's home address prior to the start of camp.
  • Campers will need access to the internet and a computer, tablet or laptop with both camera and microphone capability.
  • Camp content will be delivered via Zoom, an online video-conferencing platform.
  • Zoom training will be provided on the first day of camp.
  • Campers will also need a quiet, art-friendly space in which to work for classes and studio sessions.


Art campers will attend two virtual studio classes each day. When registering, you will indicate your choices for classes. The class content changes every year, providing new experiences for both new and returning students. Class space is limited and classes with insufficient enrollment may be canceled.

In addition to studio classes, campers will enjoy presentations by accomplished guest speakers as they share their career paths in the visual arts. Studio assignments will be confirmed prior to camp with supplies selected and delivered for specific courses.

  • Drawing Realism with Becki Miller: Using traditional drawing materials, campers create realistic drawings that address both composition and concept. Techniques are explored that allow artists to render images expressively, using mark making, visual texture, and subtle gradations.
  • Acrylic Portrait Painting with Tim Roloff: Students will learn traditional acrylic painting techniques while creating a self-portrait that captures personal and expressive emotion. Students will gain a better understanding of facial proportions and experiment with color mixing.
  • Experimental Drawing and Painting with Ailysh Cooper: Using a variety of materials, campers will make their mark in creative ways by composing multiple artworks that focus on experimentation, symbolism, and observational drawing skills. Campers will also focus on creating engaging compositions and adding mindfulness to their artistic practice.
  • Altered Portraits with Bjana Lunde: In this course, students will explore traditional realistic portrait techniques using photo references to capture a likeness. You will then dive deeper creating portrait drawings that go beyond simple documentation and continue to investigate the artist's interpretation of the subject using a variety of mixed materials.
  • Animation with April Macatangay: You'll learn stop-motion animation and frame animation techniques as well as film making and editing processes. You can choose to work with a wide variety of media including found objects, Claymation, and drawings (traditional or digital). Necessary equipment includes:
    • Digital camera (tablet camera, phone camera or digital DSLR)
    • Stand/ tripod for camera/device
    • Stop Motion Studio app: free version (paid version optional, but not required)
  • 3-D Paper Construction and Adornment with Gretchen Schreiber: Using paper as the primary medium, you will create a “wearable” or jewelry piece. Using a methodical repetition of a single element as a building block, you'll construct a larger structure and explore the possibilities of a common medium by experimenting with scale, color, space, pattern, orientation, etc. Through the process of multiplying simple, hand-crafted paper units, you will create cohesive wearables while also strengthening their understanding of geometric concepts.

Sketchbook Workshop

Series of Prompts: sketchbook practice includes experimentation and idea development. Within the format of a sketchbook, artists should challenge themselves to daily drawing exercises resulting in a series of works that reflect quick thinking, responsive drawing, and personal voice. Using drawing, collage, and mixed media processes, students will concentrate on producing imagery that reflects investigation and inquiry.

Portfolio Workshop

  • Portfolio Preparation: presentations by admissions staff and experienced high school faculty focused on portfolio preparation/presentation for college admissions and scholarship opportunities.
  • Portfolio Reviews: feedback and mentoring regarding individual student work. Staff will offer direction through one-on-one interviews regarding the development of a competitive pre-college portfolio.

Creative Artists Who Inspire

Lectures and Discussions: contemporary artists and art forms will be introduced that inspire and empower creative thinking and production. Within a lecture and discussion format, camp staff will introduce campers to intriguing and inspiring artists in order to cultivate a more fluent understanding of critical contemporary art issues and aesthetics.

Open Studio Sessions

Work Sessions: campers will be encouraged to attend sessions led by instructors and mentors with the primary focus being production and conversation. As studio artists, campers will be encouraged to talk about their progress and document the development of their work. These sessions provide additional support as well as encourage peer mentoring through conversation and demonstration.


Registration fee: $350

Registration Deadline: June 28, 2021

Art supply fee: $65 (mandatory)

Returning camper and NIU family discount: $25 (for campers who have previously attended Visual Arts Camp and the children and grandchildren of NIU students, staff and faculty members)

Registration will open soon. Camp fills quickly, so register early! You can register online or by mail. You'll pay a $100 deposit when you register (unless applying for a summer camp scholarship). The remaining balance is due on June 15.

Need-based scholarship assistance is available!

Online Registration Form

Paper Registration Form

Camp Staff

Our Visual Arts Camp staff includes talented NIU faculty and students, alumni, guest artists and award-winning area art teachers.

Lynn Stockton (camp director)

Lynn Stockton has been a high school art teacher since 1982. She is a Nationally Board-Certified Teacher. In 2008, she was recognized by the Illinois Art Education Association as the Secondary Art Teacher of the Year. Her students have won numerous awards and scholarships at the local, state and national levels. She has helped to facilitate and restructure the visual art programs in multiple Illinois school districts and was instrumental in the addition of Advanced Placement Studio Art as an option for high school students in those districts. In June 2011 she was appointed to the National Prismacolor Advisory Council. She is currently teaching AP Art at Rockford Jefferson High School and leads the school's college and career Business Academy. Ms. Stockton has been the director of the Visual Arts Camp since 2001.

Ailysh Cooper (Experimental Drawing and Painting)

Ailysh attended the NIU Art Camp for four inspiring summers before going to NIU for her bachelor's degree in art and design education. She currently teaches art at Oak Lawn Community High School.

Bjana Lunde (Altered Portraits)

Bjana Lunde received her bachelor's degree from NIU in 2005, where she majored in art education. She is teaching ceramics and sculpture at Harry D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin. She was on the dean's list during her undergraduate career at NIU and has been involved with the Visual Arts Camp for many years.

April Macantagay (Animation)

April Macatangay received her bachelor's degree in art education from NIU in 2005 and earned her bachelor's degree in fine arts from NIU in 2007. She has been an artist-in-residence at the U of I, Poland, as well as the Philippines, where she learned to make traditional clothing from pineapple fiber. Her work has been exhibited widely and she currently teaches at Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream. April has worked with the Visual Arts Camp since 2003.

Becki Miller (Drawing Realism)

Becki Miller is a local freelance artist. She has taught art for multiple years and finds great rewards in supporting young artists. She has been involved in the NIU Art camp since 1998- first as a camper then later becoming a counselor and drawing instructor.

Timothy Roloff (Acrylic Portrait Painting)

Tim Roloff graduated from NIU in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in art education. He is currently teaching at Belvidere North High School and previously taught at Woodstock North High School. Tim has been involved with the NIU Art Camp since 2014.

Gretchen Schreiber (3-D Paper Construction and Adornment)

Gretchen Schreiber received her B.F.A in metals in 2012 from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and is currently pursuing dual master's degrees at NIU in metals, jewelry design and digital fabrication, and in art education. Gretchen's work is research based three-dimensional art, focusing on authenticity and performativity of self in the digital realm. She was a camper from 2004-2005 and this is her fourth year as a camp counselor.


Day Time Activity
Sunday 3:30 - 4 p.m. All camp welcome/schedule, classes, staff introductions
Sunday 4 - 4:45 p.m. All camp/sketchbook doodle challenge 
Sunday 4:45 - 6:45 p.m. All camp/meet the artists and who inspires them. Artists and art resources for you to know and love! 
Sunday 6:45 - 7 p.m. Camper questions and concerns
Monday-Friday 9:15 - 9:30 a.m. All camp/daily update and announcements
Monday-Friday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Studio session morning classes
Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch break
Monday-Friday 1 - 3 p.m. Studio session afternoon classes
Monday-Thursday 3:15 - 5 p.m. Sketchbook explorations: campers are introduced to a new sketchbook challenge and prompt each day.  Results presented on Friday evening.
Monday-Thursday 5 - 7 p.m. Dinner break
Monday-Thursday 7 - 8 p.m. Optional evening activities: careers, college prep need to know, portfolio, contemporary artists to know
Monday-Thursday 8 - 9 p.m. Open studio time with instructors
Friday 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. Final critique and camper presentations
Friday 5:30 - 6 p.m. Staff presentations

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs

Music Building 132

Kristin Sherman

Online Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(lunch from noon – 1 p.m.)

To protect the safety of our staff, students and families, we will operate remotely until further notice. Our staff will be available at their remote offices during normal NIU business hours and can be contacted via phone or email.

Join Our Camps Mailing List

Connect with us on