explore design

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


Discover Design Futures

Calling all creative teens! This spring, 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, and then join us for additional one-on-one support and mentoring during our after-school Drop-In Days. 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.



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!


If you are a design professional and are interested in attending our Mentor Mixer, RSVP below!

* Please note: Student Registration is at top of page


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 Development

Saturday, April 27

Drop-In Days: April 30, May 7, May 14

Learn more about how to show off your work when applying to colleges by creating a custom portfolio that gathers your art and design work in one place. We’ll also show you strategies for taking great pictures of your work and provide an opportunity to practice. 

Session 5: Build your Own Website

Saturday, May 18

Drop-In Days: May 21, May 28, June 4

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.

*Registration and attendance to Saturday workshops is required for Drop-In days



All Saturday Sessions are held 1-5 pm.

Drop-In Days are held on Tuesdays from 3:30-5 pm.


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.