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FAQ: How it Works

How are programs structured at Refuge?

Our programming is broken down into 3 semesters annually:

  • Fall - Portfolio and technical skills

  • Spring - Polishing work and exploring concepts

  • Summer - Topics on specific mediums, skill sets and community projects

If I miss a class can I go on another day?

Considering current Covid-19 protocols we are unable to accommodate makeup days. 

What do I need for the first class?

It is always helpful for instructors to see a new student's previous art work in order to assess their strengths and identify areas of growth. We encourage students to bring previous work on their first class in addition to a current sketchbook

If I have paid for the semester pack and I miss a class, can I make it up? 

We like to keep classes to 10 students, maximum. Please message Nikki ahead of time if you are hoping to make up a class. If there is availability in another class during the week your child may make that class up. Drop-ins and class packs are only valid within the semester they were purchased for. 


What if I need to cancel a class that I have already paid for? (Cancelation Policy)

Should you need to cancel a purchased class, a refund of half the original cost can be made 2 weeks prior to start of the class. Cancelations made within 14 days prior to the start of class are not eligible for a refund as tuition subsidizes the cost of scholarships for local youth. 


What do you learn in Portfolio Development?

Each class starts with a technical or conceptual lesson prompt (approx. 20-45 mins long). In the remainder of the class students have the option to continue developing the work from the original prompt, work on personal projects, or start a individually assigned project tailored to the students needs.

Class sizes are small by design and there are multiple Artist/Teachers available for feedback and guidance.

Do I need to be preparing a Portfolio to take Portfolio Development? 

You do NOT need to be preparing a portfolio for college to attend Portfolio Development classes. We love having students that express a raw need to create and that are open to being pushed in new directions.We believe students benefit from attending classes with students of different ages to encourage student to student modeling and mentorship.  Students who take Portfolio Development range in ages from 10-22.  

How long are Portfolio Development classes and how often can I take them?

Most students choose to do one of the two days a week, but taking both classes each week is also an option. The classes run like a traditional 3-hour college studio class, providing the necessary time and structure needed to develop ideas and skills sets. 

Fall & Spring Portfolio Development Programs run:

  • Wednesday evenings 5:30- 8:30pm

  • Saturday mornings 10am-1pm

  • Ages (10 and up)

What other College Portfolio services do you offer?

In the Fall, we offer portfolio documentation sessions so students can professionally photograph their portfolio. This is a critical step for college bound art students. We ensure each student's visual voice is represented genuinely through chosen work, then polished to shine for their top choice college admission advisors. At the beginning of the semester, students are encouraged to make a list of their top schools along with the earliest admission deadlines so Refuge can best asist in prepping and documenting art portfolios that are one of a kind.

The fall is also a time for portfolio reviews with a range of College Representatives from Mass Art, SCAD, Lesley, MECA, SAIC, Monserrat etc. These free evening events are incredibly beneficial for students who are looking for feedback on their work, learning about new schools, and the unique aesthetics that colleges seek in portfolio submissions. We cannot recommend this experience enough!!

Are there any other art programs at Refuge?

Summer Classes focus on special topics, designed to encourage an exploration of mediums, styles, disciplines and concepts. The variety in summer programs gives students the opportunity to explore a range of directions like fashion, digital photography, perspective drawing, embroidery etc. This variety of medium exploration is especially beneficial for guiding students so that they may better understand their own interests & possible directions to take once in college. Plus, trying new things is awesome! 

We love our middle schoolers! As Refuge is a place of experimentation we have been offering a class that is 2 hours long ! This program places a special emphasis on exposing students to specific artists, themes, concepts, mediums and structured projects.  


Refuge values the act of place-making in the community of Refuge, Western Avenue and Lowell through projects such as large-scale murals and permanent installations. These projects happen annually and include Refuge artists in the execution of the work.  A portion of all tuition helps to fund local youth in Lowell so that we can help bridge the gap of providing equitable visual arts education to young artists. 

Are there classes for younger artists? 

During the summer we offer a program called Studio Art for Kids for children 5-10. This program gives kids the opportunity to experiment, explore and learn new mediums, with a shorter class time. 

How can I get started?

Looking to Register for a class?

Purchase classes here!

(cash/checks will also be accepted day of the first class, this option can be selected in the online checkout)

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