explore design

A free portfolio development program for all Rhode Island students in grades 9-12.


Discover Design Futures

Calling all creative teens! Join us in EXPLORE DESIGN as we learn about design careers and prepare to apply for college design programs. You can sign up for one (or all five!) of our FREE monthly Saturday workshops. This program is open to all RI high school students, and is highly recommended for seniors preparing to apply to college winter of 2019.

EXPLORE DESIGN is an initiative of DESIGN FORWARD RI, offered in partnership with DESIGNxRI and funded by REAL JOBS RI.


Registration for this program is currently closed. Please check back in Fall 2019!



EXPLORE DESIGN is a series of free Saturday workshops for high school students who are interested in design careers. Following each session are three optional after-school Drop-In Days where students can work one-on-one with design mentors. Sign up for any or all sessions online!

Session 1: Design Career Exploration

Saturday, January 26

Drop-In Days: Jan 29, Feb 5, Feb 12

Learn about the many different career possibilities for designers, including graphic design, product design, architectural design, fashion design, and more. Match your interests to different design fields and learn more from designers in that field. 


Saturday, February 23

Drop-In Days: Feb 26, March 5, March 19

Meet with design professionals and ask questions about their pathway and their day-to-day work. Make connections with local designers and expand your design network!

Session 3: College Research

Saturday, March 23

Drop-In Days: March 26, April 2, April 9

This session covers the college design program application process including where to look, how to apply, and what to prepare, including developing a portfolio. We will also cover FAFSA and the process of applying for financial aid.

Session 4: Portfolio 101

Saturday, April 27

Learn more about how to show off your work when applying to colleges. Learn about different types of portfolios, common portfolio requirements, and how to apply to design programs.

*Please note: There will no longer be drop-in sessions following Saturday workshops.

Session 5: Build your Own Website

Saturday, May 18

Bring in your past art and design work to Session 5 and practice taking professional-looking photographs to document your work for your portfolio. We will also learn to build a website to showcase your portfolio and discuss different ways of sharing your work.

*Please note: There will no longer be drop-in sessions following Saturday workshops.



All sessions are held at DownCity Design at:

425 West Fountain St. Unit 110

Providence, RI 02903

DownCity Design does not provide transportation. Free RIPTA tickets available upon request.


All Saturday Sessions are held 1-5 pm, once monthly.