Studio Incamminati, School for Contemporary Realist Art

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Studio Incamminati, School for Contemporary Realist Art



1901 S 9th St, Bok Building, 7th Floor, Philadelphia, United States

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Described as “one of the nation’s top art academies” by Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Studio Incamminati is an atelier school located in downtown Philadelphia. Studio Incamminati offers a variety of instructional programs including short workshops, an Advanced Fine Arts Diploma, and a BFA with Rowan University. The School is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Studio Incamminati was launched in 2002 by Nelson and Leona Shanks, who aspired to merge rigorous drawing skills with awe and wonder of nature’s colors. Nelson’s ambition was to forge a learning environment which could enable students to “use the world and its phenomena as the vocabulary to create a visual language with creative and communicative meaning.”

The Studio Incamminati program of study consists of four levels. The curriculum has been carefully designed to fuse specific aspects of drawing proficiency, developed in stages, with strong fundamentals of figure painting. The spirit of innovative learning within SI centers on intense training under artificial, natural and skylight studios which have been designed by artists for artists. There is a resounding concern for the artist’s legacy and artistic tradition, as well as a desire to reach the creative pinnacles of figure painting and lead this realm of artistic creativity to the next century.

Studio Incamminati’s core curriculum is its four-year Advanced Fine Art program. Student learning is supported by daily demonstrations by award winning faculty, lectures pertaining to visual techniques and anatomy, feedback and critiques, as well as intra-student discussions through a cohort-based approach. We offer 6.5 hours a day of studio work from the model.

Outside of classes, students can access our library, our free weekly Open Studio sessions, discounted Continuing Education classes from guest instructors, frequent lunchtime lectures on art history, anatomy, and career progression, as well as exhibition opportunities and daytrips to major museums in the region. For all enrolled students, our ample studios and spaces are accessible from 7am-11pm, 365 days a year, for personal projects.

Studio Incamminati’s newest program the BFA in Studio with a concentration in Contemporary Realist Art – the first (and only) degree-granting partnership between an atelier and a public research university. Studio Incamminati and Rowan University partner in a program that blends technique with the exploration of media, a thorough understanding of the arts landscape, and a foundational arts education. This program culminates in a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rowan University.

Studio Incamminati is located in Philadelphia, minutes away from landmarks like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, and the Brandywine River Museum (home of the Wyeth Collection), and a couple hours from New York City and Washington, D.C. Its home is on the 7th floor of the historic Bok Building. This socially progressive cultural hub covering an entire city block is filled with startups, artist studios, and creators who work in fields like glass-blowing, culinary arts, tattooing, and fashion. We are proud to call these artisans our neighbors and are consistently impressed by their community-mindedness and innovation. 

Within the Bok ecosystem, Studio Incamminati takes up the entire penultimate floor where students have access to 18,000 square feet of renovated studio space fitted to provide artists with all lighting conditions: north light studios with windows up to the 14 ft. ceilings, studios optimized for artificial and posed lighting, and three newly built skylight studios using panel technology that diffuses and stabilizes light to create a uniform environment. Outside of classes, students can access our library, our free weekly Open Studio sessions, discounted Continuing Education classes from guest instructors, frequent lunchtime lectures on art history, anatomy, and career progression, as well as exhibition opportunities and daytrips to major museums in the region. For all enrolled students, our ample studios and spaces are accessible from 7am-11pm, 365 days a year, for personal projects.


Studio Incamminati, a center of learning and cultural importance, is an effective launch point for students who wish to be active in the contemporary figure painting diaspora. We believe that the journey to professional practice should not burden students with excessive debt.  Our fulltime tuition for a 16-week semester is a modest $8,250. Although it costs $33,000 yearly to educate each full-time student – the Studio Incamminati community (the board and donors) invests $16,000 in every student every year to offset the costs to the individual. To further serve students, SI provides part-time options starting at $2,096 per semester, financing choices such as payment plans, grants eligibility and counsel, GI Bill eligibility, and federal and private loans options. Also, S.I. awards an additional $28,000 in merit-based scholarships annually (in the past 3 years, 88% of those who applied for a scholarship received at least $3,000). 


At Studio Incamminati, we believe that the ability to visually manifest concepts into a poetic form is essential to humanity, so we work hard to bring art education to underserved constituencies. Serving artists of all ages and circumstances, Studio Incamminati operates Workshops, Continuing Education courses, “drop-in” Open Studio classes, education partnerships with area high schools (public, private, and parochial), and community-minded collaborations with non-profit organizations like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Girls Inc., and Project HOME (whose mission is to empower individuals and break the cycle of homelessness). We foster exhibition and event partnerships with local organization like the Philadelphia Ballet, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia (a program of sustained anatomical learning through close observation and drawing). 


The Advanced Fine Art Program


Bachelor's of Fine Arts (Rowan University)


International Students

Studio Incamminati welcomes international students. It has enrolled students from five continents and boasts alumni working as professional artists in places as far-flung as India and Israel. Studio Incamminati is authorized to accept non- immigrant students and is part of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a networked computer system that tracks information on non-immigrant international students and scholars.

Federal Student Aid and Scholarships

To make its education as accessible as possible, Studio Incamminati sets its tuition fees as low as possible. For students who need additional assistance, Studio Incamminati offers scholarships from $3,000 to $5,000 annually and Pell Grants and loan opportunities to eligible students through the Federal Student Aid Program Studio Incamminati is also approved to accept students wishing to use their Veterans Education Benefits.


Continuing Education

These weekly classes are based on the techniques and philosophy taught in the Advanced Fine Art Program. Specific elements are extracted from our curriculum and aimed at practicing artists as well as artists at all levels of experience. These programs allow participants to focus on particular areas of their skill development.


These intensive programs concentrate on a single aspect and allow artists, both working professionals and serious amateurs, to build upon their existing skills and learn new ones. Workshops are day-long classes usually running for five consecutive days. They are taught by Studio Incamminati instructors and carefully selected visiting instructors.

Open Studio

Get a taste of the Studio Incamminati experience at these weekly studio sessions. Artists bring their own supplies to draw or paint from a live model in a studio setting. An easel and taboret are provided.



Founded 2002
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Accreditation BA
National Association of Schools of Art and Design
Part-Time Instructors 15
Students 40
Accommodation No

Part time: USD 2096 / semester

Full time: USD 8250 / semester

Studio Incamminati

1901 S 9th St, Bok Building, 7th Floor

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19148, United States

I Wanna Be Adored 3 by Stephen C. Early

Duckboat Shed, Beaton Boatyard by Lea Wight

Miranda by Robin Frey

Fumiko by Joseph Dolderer

Blind Justice by Leona Shanks

Tori by Natalie Italiano

Blue Bird by Nelson Shanks

Carol by Peter Kelsey

Toto and I by Kerry Dunn

Meriam by JaFang Lu

Korean Child's Hanbok by

Transcendence by Stephen Perkins

The Marble Table by Darren Kingsley

Miranda by Jay Varma

Gabrielle by Alexander Soukas

Johnny by Daryl Burkhard

Self Portrait by Jason Espey (Grisaille)

Duotone Study by Ning Hu (Grisaille)

Laocoon Pink and Yellow by Caitlin Cochran

Amber by Justin Kapp (Grisaille)

Fuga by Joseph Dolderer (Color Study)

Ellen with Green Scarf by Rob Goodman (Color Study)

Still Life by Snehal Page (Drawing)

Female Standing Figure by Mitsuno Reedy (Drawing)