Gap Year Arts Programs

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Pack your beret and your brushes -- it's time to get started on your artistic gap year! A gap year based around arts gives you the chance to immerse yourself in just about any part of the wide world of art, including visual, performance, dance, theater, music, fine arts, and even art history. You can also volunteer or work as a teacher in an arts education program, which will allow you to connect with and learn from local communities in a completely different way.

Whether you're looking to apprentice in a master artisan's pottery studio, can't wait to study traditional Japanese ink painting, or want to teach kids how to direct their own plays, there's a gap year program out there waiting for you.


For classical art immersion, look no further than Italy, the birthplace of some of the western world's most famous artists. Surround yourself with sculpture, ancient landmarks, and centuries of art history in cities like Florence and Rome. If carbs and headless torsos aren't your thing, head to France, where you can learn about world-class design, fashion, and painting, or just wander the halls of the Louvre for a few months.


Traditions and cultures collide in Africa's art world, making it a destination for contemporary and traditional art students alike. In Morocco, you can marvel at classic Islamic art and learn about the diverse influences on the country's artistic traditions, from French and Spanish colonization to cultural exchanges with other Middle Eastern countries. At the other end of the continent, South Africa boasts some of the continent's great museums, as well as 4,000-year-old cave paintings and some of the most ancient art objects ever discovered.


Japan is one of the best places in the world to learn about fine art skills like print-making, ink painting, and, of course, origami. It's also home to some of the world's most innovative modern artists and edgy designers. For another approach to your craft, Southeast Asian nations like Thailand and Cambodia offer plenty of opportunities to experience traditional Buddhist and indigenous art, then apply what you've learned through teaching or volunteering with youth arts programs.

Latin America

The hub of the ancient Andean civilizations, Peru offers tons of ways to engage with the local art world, including volunteering with arts programs and learning about weaving from indigenous artisans. For an immersive artistic experience, you can't do much better than Mexico. The southern region of Oaxaca is world-famous for its folk art and handcrafts, while Mexico City's nonstop creative energy has inspired generations of artists. Every February, the city hosts Zona Maco, the biggest art fair in Latin America.


Depending on how long you plan to stay in a single country during your gap year, you may need to apply for a visa. Most countries allow foreign passport holders to stay for between 90-180 days on a tourist visa, but require visas for longer stays. A few countries (like Brazil, India, and Vietnam) won't grant visas on arrival, so you have to have one before you land. Make sure to check the requirements of all the countries you plan to visit in case you need to apply for any visas before you leave, and remember not to overstay your welcome, because getting deported could really put a damper on your gap year plans.


Accommodation options and prices will vary by country. If you're going through a program provider, the organization may have its own housing arrangements or help you find accommodations. Unless you're headed somewhere really remote, you should be able to find a range of low-cost or mid-range housing, from hostels to Airbnb to Couchsurfing.

Housing will likely make up a big part of your gap year expenses, so it's helpful to have some idea of how long you plan on staying in a certain location (although plans can obviously change). A month of rent in France could easily pay for three months in Thailand, so don't forget to factor cost of living into your budget.

Health & Safety

As with any other type of travel, it's smart to check that all your immunizations are up to date before you travel. If you take any medication regularly, make sure you have enough to get you through your travels. Even if you're sure you'll be able to get the same medication abroad, bring a copy of your prescription in case you're asked to show it, since medical regulations and laws vary between countries. Investing in travel insurance may seem like an extra expense, but it can potentially save you a lot of money (and stress) in the long run.

Showing 9 Programs


Artzi is a unique artistic gap year program in Israel. At Artzi, students get the chance to pursue their artistic abilities a...


Rurrana community program is a amazing way for artist to love volunteer and help through art. We made interdisciplinary art a...


Batoni Art Workshops
Our workshops are relaxed and informal and will provide you with some of the skills needed to perform the traditional techniq...

Czech Republic

Ardmore Educational Travel
Take a trip through the ages with our Arts, Drama and Classics Tours. From the birthplace of civilisation or the wondrous old...


Art History Abroad
This course travels through Italy four times a year, exploring all aspects of culture, such as history, music, politics, food...


Art History Abroad
Starting college in the spring or taking a Gap Year? Why not kick start your time doing something worthwhile with this amazin...


Art History Abroad
If you are between 17 and 22, AHA's 2-4 weeks courses are a brilliant way to pass some of the summer while doing something wo...


API Gap Year invites recent high school graduates (minimum age of 17) to study abroad in Paris, France in the French Language...


School of Visual Arts
This two-week program immerses participants in the grandeur of Provence through an on-site study exploring the Roman ruins, R...