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High School Arts Week at Ragdale takes place July 20-24, 2020 and offers intensive workshops in creative writing, visual arts and audio production.
The deadline for high school students applying for all workshops is Friday, May 8, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Notifications will be received around the week of May 18.
High School students grade level 9-12 from Chicago and the surrounding region are welcome to apply. Each year Ragdale accepts 24 students in Creative Writing, 24 in Visual Arts, and 12 students in Audio Production, following a competitive selection process.
We encourage students of all backgrounds and levels of experience to apply. Ragdale does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of age, disability, gender, origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
High School Arts Week will take place Monday through Friday, July 20-24 from 10am-4pm at the historic campus of The Ragdale Foundation, 1260 North Green Bay Road in Lake Forest.
Creative Writing:  Creative Writing students will be assigned to either a short form prose writing workshop under the guidance of instructor Margaret Hawkins, author and educator, or a poetry/creative writing workshop under the guidance of Quraysh Ali Lansana, poet, editor and author. Students will be asked to choose their preference for either poetry or prose, though placement in either group cannot be guaranteed.
Visual Arts Intensive:  Student artists under the guidance of Paulina Camacho, artist and educator, are invited to explore the concepts of site, space, and place through guided investigations in art, using the Ragdale grounds as an inspiration for creative engagement.
Puppetry Intensive: Students will work with staff from Third Coast Audio Festival to combine aspects of writing and storytelling with hands-on experiences using sound and recording equipment. Guest audio producers and a field trip to the WBEZ radio station studios in Chicago will be part of this new program offering. The week will culminate with student-produced work(s) recorded and shared as a live podcast.

All applicants submit electronic materials through the Submittable application portal.  Please note the following requirements to complete your application:


  1. A completed online application form.
  2. A letter of reference from a teacher or school official who knows you personally and can address your suitability for the week-long intensive. Reference letters are confidential and are submitted electronically through Submittable. 
  3. For applicants to the Writing Intensive, please attach two one-page writing samples. For applicants to the Visual Arts Intensive, please attach two images of your work. For applicants to the Audio Intensive, please attach a 30-second to 1-minute video or audio recording of the applicant in performance or examples of related written/narrative/storytelling. All media is acceptable. Most electronic file types and sizes are accepted.

Applications are reviewed by Ragdale staff and the program instructors.  Evaluations of work are based on the following criteria:


  1. Work samples show evidence of originality and inventiveness.
  2. Work samples demonstrate quality and technical proficiency.
  3. References reflect the student's ability to work well with other students.
  4. Students will be selected from as large a range of area schools as possible, taking into consideration the merit of work samples submitted.

You will be notified of your admission status via email around the week of May 20, 2019.
For further assistance, please email Regin Igloria at regin@ragdale.org or phone 847.234.1063 ext. 26.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.