Prospective Students

Prospective Students

Studio Incamminati, School for Contemporary Realist Art, is dedicated to the study and practice of today’s realist art. Its unique curriculum fuses the classical drawing and painting traditions of the Renaissance masters, the luminous color of the Impressionists and a fresh, contemporary sensibility. Even the name "Studio Incamminati" is filled with symbolism. In Italian, "Incamminati" means "moving forward."

Under the guidance of award-winning instructors, student artists do just that as they are constantly challenged to master techniques and develop the vision essential to meaningful expression. The school continues the rich tradition of "ateliers," small collections of artists under the guidance of master artists, most with personal studios on-site. The intimate community and supportive atmosphere helps prepares artists for rewarding careers, regardless of age or professional experience.

The Advanced Fine Art Program

The Advanced Fine Art Program

The Advanced Fine Art Program is the cornerstone of Studio Incamminati's teaching. It is an intensive four-year study with a rigorous curriculum designed for students who seek to become professional working artists. Working in north-lit studios, artists progress from basic skills, such as gesture and proportion, as they draw in charcoal, to more advanced color study and other dynamic techniques as they paint still life, the figure, portraits, landscapes and interiors.

The Advanced Fine Art Program also addresses the practical skills necessary for a successful career, such as writing an artist’s statement and preparing for an exhibition. Students receive a Diploma of Fine Art upon completion. Part-time options are available along with scholarship opportunities and convenient payment plans.

Learn How The Advanced Fine Art Program Can Help You


Rich History

Rich History

Studio Incamminati was co-founded by master artist Nelson Shanks and his wife, Leona, in 2002. However, it was the culmination of his decades spent seeking and learning, painting and teaching. The curriculum core stems from his unwavering commitment to the belief that mastery of technique is the essential prelude to creative expression. The school was deemed one of the best art schools in America by American Artist magazine and is accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Arts and Design.

Nelson Shanks was a world-renowned artist and educator famous for his portraits of international luminaries ranging from Pope John Paul II to Princess Diana to the four female Supreme Court justices.  He is only the second living American artist invited to display work in the Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, and the Russian Academy of Arts, Moscow. His art has been honored and exhibited in numerous museums and galleries worldwide, including the National Academy of Design, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the James A. Michener Art Museum. His works also are represented in many distinguished European and American collections. Highlighting his numerous honors are lifetime achievement awards from the Portrait Society of America and the National Arts Club and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Leona Shanks, a Studio Incamminati instructor, has her own artistic pedigree. She was awarded First Place in juried competition of “Inspiring Figures: American Women and Figurative Art.” Her work also was featured in the accompanying exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art. She was a top finalist in the highly competitive Art Renewal Center’s International ARC Salon worldwide competition. An accomplished sculptor, Leona won the Edmund Stewardson Award for Sculpture. Her works hang in many private collections and have been widely exhibited.

Accomplished Instructors

Studio Incamminati instructors are all working artists who have earned peer recognition in galleries, competition and the arts media.

  • Kerry Dunn
    Kerry Dunn
    Portrait Society of America Best in Show
  • Stephen C. Early
    Stephen C. Early
    Portrait Society of America Certificate of Excellence
  • Robin Frey
    Robin Dawn Frey
    Portrait Society of America Award of Honor
  • Natalie Italiano
    Natalie Italiano
    Portrait Society of America Certificate of Excellence
  • Darren Kingsley
    Darren Kingsley
    Classical Society of America Scholarship
  • JaFang Lu
    JaFang Lu
    Merit Scholarship winner, Art Students League of New York
  • Alisyn Blake
    Alisyn Blake
    Top 10, Portrait Society of America Members Only contest
  • Leona Shanks
    Leona Shanks
    First Place, Inspiring Figures: American Women, Figurative Art
  • Lea Colie Wight
    Lea Colie Wight
    Portrait Society of America Award of Honor

Alumni on the move

From Colorado to California, from India to Israel, Studio Incamminati alumni are making their artistic marks by teaching others the principles learned at our studio and by practicing those principles themselves.

About 85% of our graduates are working in the fine arts as independent artists and/or teaching art in various educational settings worldwide. Fine artists earn a living primarily through commissions, commercial gallery representation, public exhibitions and independent sales.

Nearly 54% of our graduates are teaching art to supplement their income and market their artistic skills. Studio Incamminati graduates are in high demand and often teach workshops at various ateliers and schools around the country.

We encourage our alumni to reconnect and become involved in current events at the school. Please contact Alumni Coordinators Wendy Wagner and Carolyn Gabbe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alumni who wish to support future generations of students can visit our donate page or contact us directly at 215-592-7910.

Though we cannot include all of our extremely talented alumni and their accomplishments, we present the following former students.

View Alumni Gallery

Studio Incamminati Gainful Employment Disclosure

The U.S. Department of Education requires postsecondary educational institutions that participate in Federal Student Aid programs to disclose to prospective students a variety of information that “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.” The information below is available at

Occupations by name and Standard Occupational Classification that the program prepares students to enter; Normal time to complete the program; On-time graduation rate for students; Costs of tuition and fees, supplies and books; Placement rate for those completing the program, as determined by states or accrediting agencies; Median debt load of those completing the program by loan type and award year

Campus Health and Safety Annual Security Report

Studio Incamminati provides this information to all students and employees in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. This act requires all higher education institutions to make public their campus security and safety policies and reported crime data for the previous three years and disseminate this information to the campus community. The goal of this legislation is to help maintain a safe campus environment by increasing the awareness of crimes committed on campus, the security and safety policies in place and crime prevention programs available. Fortunately, we experience a low crime rate as evidenced by this report. The safety of our students is a top priority.

View the October 2018 report