Imaging Self participant performsImaging Self participant performs

Imaging Self

The Imaging Self program will not be run in 2023. Please explore our arts courses and programs here.

  • Work with world-class artists at a major university
  • Build your arts portfolio for college applications
  • Work in your chosen art from and experience new ones

  • Learn about the college application process
  • Get tips on writing a great college essay

  • Enjoy life on a beautiful college campus
  • Make friends with fellow high school artists


Work with artists to build your portfolio, earn college credit

Imaging Self is a program to learn about yourself through artistic expression, work with practicing artists and faculty and get to know UW–Madison. You will explore how you see yourself and how others see you, using different art forms and mediums to ask and answer questions, solve problems and present your ideas.

Who it’s for

This program is open to all students in grades 9-12 of all skill and experience levels. The main requirement is an interest in art and self-expression.

What you will experience

When you apply, you will select one of three tracks: visual art, dance, or theater. Mornings will be spent immersing yourself in the artistic discipline of your choice while working in small groups to improve your craft and develop a strong portfolio. In the afternoon, you will work in larger groups where you will practice combining different artistic mediums. In the process, you will build your knowledge about art as an academic pursuit and a reflection of society. Plus, gain experience with artistic disciplines you might like to study in college.

An important part of the program is working with practicing artists such as dancers, actors, stage technicians, and visual artists to explore and express your concept of self and collaborate with each other to put together a final showcase for your friends and family. You will examine the choices you make in representing yourself and how different artistic mediums can illuminate these choices. You will also analyze the ways different art forms-and your daily life-illustrate principles of design, become familiar with the college application process and learn about writing an effective college essay.

Morning Immersion: Practice in your artistic discipline (art, dance, or theater and drama)
Early Afternoon Lunch
Afternoon Integrative: Practice combining different art forms
Evening Study, reflection, free time

Exterior shot of Leopold Residence HallYou will live in a lakeshore residence hall, along the shore of Lake Mendota. A fellow program participant will be your roommate. Rooms are fully furnished and include sheets, pillows, and towels.

Move-in is the first Sunday of the program. It will include an orientation session for you and your parents and a tour of the Lakeshore neighborhood.

All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are included in the program cost. The first meal will be dinner on move-in day.

Wisconsin resident Resident of another state*
Tuition and fees** $896.00 $3,084.00
Housing and meals $667.00 $667.00
Program fee and supplies $500.00 $500.00
Total $2,063.00 $4,251.00

*Minnesota residents are eligible for reciprocity.

**Estimates provided for planning purposes and are subject to minor variations as final summer 2020 tuition and fee information becomes available in the spring.


Imaging Self is pleased to offer a limited number of students with financial need the opportunity to apply for a scholarship.

Eligibility Criteria:

To apply for the scholarship, you must:

  • Apply to Imaging Self: Precollege Summer Arts Intensive by the application deadline.
  • Be in good academic standing at your high school with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  • Acknowledgment of financial need.

Application Information:

Scholarship application coming soon.

Selection Criteria:

Completed applications are evaluated by a scholarship committee based on the above eligibility criteria and essay response.

Meet your instructors

You will work with experienced instructors from UW–Madison’s art, dance, and theater departments, as well as artists from the community. Check out the amazing instructors from the 2019 program!

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Mary Patterson

Mary Patterson headshotMary Lynn Patterson is a University of Wisconsin–Madison Dance Department B.F.A. graduate and holds a Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling from Drexel University. She is a practicing dance/movement therapist, educator, and dance artist. As a dance artist, she has performed across the country and internationally on stages ranging from the Kennedy Center to Madison Square Garden. In the fall of 2017 Mary returned to the Madison are as a dance/movement therapist and to UW–Madison as an outreach specialist for Performing Ourselves. Through Performing Ourselves she is supervising student teachers, organizing programming, and running school dance residencies for elementary and middle-school children across the city of Madison.

Quanda Johnson

Quanda Johnson

Quanda Johnson is a Fulbright Scholar and a current doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at UW–Madison. A performer from Broadway to grand opera, she seeks ways to utilize performance to disrupt and consequently alter entrenched, cyclical conversations about Blackness and the African Diaspora.  An AUDELCO Award nominee for her portrayal of Marian Anderson, she appeared in Broadway’s Tony award-winning Ragtime and made her New York City Opera debut in The Mother of Us All with Lauren Flanigan. Her work is dedicated to the memory of the first artist in her life, her mother, Vernetta.

Claire Kellesvig

Claire KellesvigClaire Kellesvig is a fine artist living and working in Madison, WI. She graduated the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in painting in 2011, and is currently pursuing her MFA in painting and drawing from UW Madison. Claire compliments her studies by working as a co-curator in UW’s School of ED Gallery and runs a Self-Care Art Club. Claire is passionate about painting, education cooking, reading, yoga, and community. She considers herself a ‘Smilist,’ and values compassion humor, and inclusion.