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          The Studio and Forum of Scenic Art : 


   A Statement of Vision, Mission, and Values


The Studio and Forum of Scenic Art is a nonprofit 3-year independent vocational school. We are dedicated to the teaching of artists’ skills in the making of stage scenery. We train Scenic Artists.

The School was started in 2001 by Scenic Art Studios Owner Joseph Forbes and 829 Scenic Artist Janet Stapelman.  In 1957, Designer/Scenic Artist/ Teacher/ Author Lester Polakov founded an academy called The Studio and Forum of Stage Design which trained scores of Designers and Scenic Artists, including Joe and Janet. They modeled this Studio and Forum after Lester's Studio and Forum.


There is a 600-year tradition of Scenic Art that we carry on with great pride. But our mission is also to prepare our students for the future. In a very real sense, the future is already at hand in the form of digital scenery and other emerging forms of entertainment design. We believe that the role of the Scenic Artist will evolve to meet the requirements of this changing landscape. To help embrace this prospect, we provide student Scenic Artists with old and new tools for visual understanding, dramatic exploration, and  artful fabrication - we want to teach you how to see, how to imagine, and how to create. These are the real and unchanging foundations for all the artistic applications of our craft - past, present, and future.


We offer an affordable conservatory-style course of study for the prospective Scenic Artist. There is no grading, no credits, no certificate, and no graduation - our program is just about learning and establishing an artistic practice. Each student works on a project at their own pace. Apart from being over the age of 18, the main admission requirements are an interview and portfolio review to assess a student’s skill level and commitment. We see many skill levels at the Studio and Forum, but every student must have a very high degree of commitment.

The ease of entry to the School doesn’t mean that it’s easy. The craft of Scenic Art is hard. There are a lot of techniques to learn, problem-solving skills to grasp, and a copious amount of discipline and focus to master. Not to mention acquiring the physical skill and self-control of an athlete. It’s not for everybody.


But if it IS for you, come on in. We welcome all applicants to our School and we hope that you find your passion and your vocation here.


 Jane Snow

    Managing Director,

the Studio and Forum of Scenic Art

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