Before You Apply
Dear Prospective Students and Parents,
Thank you for your interest in The Putney School Summer Arts! You are embarking on a program that students have been enjoying for 35 years.
As you begin this application process, please take time to familiarize yourself with all aspects of the program, especially those described below. We believe this information will be important as you get to know us and what you can expect at Putney in the summer. Our goal is to provide an environment in which students feel supported in learning new things, meeting new people, and making new friends.
Choosing to live together in Putney’s community is a great opportunity and a big commitment for students to be understanding, kind, considerate, and forgiving of one another and of all members of the Summer Arts community. This will be especially important as we discover differences we may have and are challenged to identify our values and expand our ways of thinking.
I hope you’re intrigued with the possibility of being part of the Putney School Summer Arts community and will send in your application today.
Our community is created each summer from a diverse group of students and teachers that come to us from all over the country and from around the world. The community we create is one that must be safe for all participants to be their truest selves. Each person brings a unique perspective and lived experience that may be similar or different from our own. We ask all community members entering Putney to come with a willingness to engage with one another in ways that are respectful of each other and for the community as a whole. Respectful discourse can be challenging but is expected of everyone.
Being away from home can be difficult not just the first time, but anytime, and especially if the experience is new. Our community is safe, open and welcoming. We encourage you to reach out to us before applying with questions. We look forward to getting to know you.
Students who come to Putney each summer forgo their cellphones and other internet-ready devices at orientation and take part in an experiment in analog living. Students commit to being fully present with the community through all the different aspects of the program. Students will not be able to access their cellphones or other devices during the session at any point. This may or may not be a challenge for you.
There is limited access to a computer lab two nights a week, where students will be able to check email and communicate with family. This is NOT a time to access social media or to stream other forms of media. Due to the limited number of computers available and the number of participants, usage time is limited.
The schedule in the summer is very packed and students should expect to be engaged in the community and in workshops throughout the day.
The morning and afternoons are filled with workshop time, with a snack and meal breaks in between.
After workshops conclude, late afternoons are a time to stretch, move, and have fun. Students choose from a variety of outdoor activities, such as soccer, kickball, yoga, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and farm chores. Located on a spectacular hilltop with 500-acres of woods, farms, and gardens there are endless opportunities for students to get outside and explore.
After dinner, students participate in evening activities which can be anything from journaling and zine making, to blacksmithing and watercolor painting. These offerings change yearly based on faculty and staff. Students get to choose these evening activities once on campus.
Weekend events and field trips capitalize on the creative and natural landscapes of Vermont. Students enjoy field trips to a state park, a grange hall for a dance, local farms and towns, as well as on-campus activities like dorm games, faculty performances, fiction and poetry readings, dances, open studio time, and a film festival.
It is important that students use the down time factored into the schedule and night time, to sleep and rest. We want students to be fully rested to build the strong friendships that are so important to all our participants and to tackle each new full day.
Below is a typical daily schedule to get a sense of the program. This schedule is subject to change before the start of the program.
7:30 AM – Wake-up
8:00 AM – Breakfast
8:25 AM – Sing
9:00 AM – Morning workshops begin
10:15 AM – Break for milk lunch
11:45 AM – Morning workshops end
12:00 PM – Lunch
12:40 PM – Assembly time
1:15 PM – Afternoon workshops begin
2:30 PM – Break/Snack
4:00 PM – Afternoon workshops end
4:15 PM – Afternoon activities
5:30 PM – Optional puddle swim
6:00 PM – Dinner
7:15 PM – Evening activities
9:00 PM – Social hour
10:00 PM – In dorms
10:45 PM – In rooms
11:00 PM – Lights out
Health Services and Mental Health Support
During the summer, our health staff, program director, and the administrative team will make informed decisions regarding the care of every student. In order to do the best we can to assure that all students have an enriching, positive and safe experience at Putney, all parents/guardians must disclose any emotional and physical medical conditions their child may have. This information helps us be best positioned to support all of our students.
We encourage students who are in regular therapeutic counseling to continue their sessions via telehealth, scheduling appointments between 4:15 PM and 5:45 PM, M – F. The Putney School Summer Arts will have a part-time school counselor available for limited check-ins but not for ongoing care.
If cutting or other forms of self-harm are things that a student is currently involved in or becomes actively involved in during the course of the programs, they will need to leave to be in the care of their family. The Putney School Summer Arts is not staffed for nor can we provide the necessary support for students who are actively self-harming.
Part of the fun of summers at Putney is the opportunity to make new friends. Living in a dormitory and with a roommate is part of that experience.
The dormitory living spaces at Putney are rustic and quaint with a common living room, shared bathrooms and mostly double rooms. Our dorm assignments are made to meet the needs of each member of the community. We do not honor requests from friends and family members to room together.
We have male, female and all gender spaces available to choose from. Male and Female dormitories are designed to house students who identify with the denoted gender. All gender dorms are designed to house the full spectrum of gender identities, including cisgender students. Preference is given to students who need to be in the spaces they have selected based on a dorm form filled out before arrival. We encourage students and parents to have a conversation about the dorm selections available.
We encourage students to bring a fan for their room as nights can be warm. The dormitory rooms are not wired to support air conditioning units.
The Putney School Summer Arts builds a community built on trust, honesty and respect. Dorm rooms do not have locks on them, and members of the community should behave in a manner that reflects the values of the community. All members of the community should respect the privacy and property of others and share in the creation of an environment that protects the physical and emotional well-being of each dormitory resident.
Students will need to bring a sleeping bag for an overnight camping trip to one of several campsites on campus.
This is a great opportunity for the community to connect with nature, and each other, as they set up their campsites, prepare meals over a fire, enjoy s’mores together and play games to pass the time. There will be time for deepening friendships, bonding with new people, and self reflecting.