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Animation at Arts Academy

Why Study Animation

From 2D digital animation to stop-motion puppet animation, our high school animation students build a solid foundation in the moving image (timing, staging, and motion). They learn to develop character, story, and cinematic techniques while navigating the complex relationship among intention, concept, and narrative. Here at Interlochen, you'll discover a variety of physical and digital media, as well as classic and emerging technologies. You’ll design convincing characters in imagined, experimental, or nonfiction animations that connect with an intended audience on large and small screens.

What You’ll Learn

As an animation student, you’ll have the opportunity to explore cross-disciplinary coursework in Film & New Media, Visual Arts, Creative Writing, Music Production & Engineering, and other disciplines. Animators have the opportunity to work with special guest artists from a variety of animation fields through immersive, hands-on workshops, presentations, and master classes. Recent guests include Julia Pott (Summer Camp Island), Michaela Pavlátová (My Sunny Maad), James Suhr (Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder), and Lynn Tomlinson (The Elephant’s Song).

As a student at our boarding school for animation, you will:

  • Receive one-on-one mentoring under award-winning and internationally recognized animators
  • Create animations from original concept through design to the final production
  • Design storyboards and sets or backgrounds that incorporate principles of composition, perspective, and color through a variety of 2D, physical, and digital media
  • Assemble story elements of character, conflict, and resolution in order to actively engage your audience
  • Communicate ideas, emotion, and intent effectively in visual, oral, and written forms
  • Generate work that reflects initiative, creativity, flexibility, and a personal voice

Our Curriculum

Our Animation program provides unique opportunities to study in-depth the art and practice of animation. Our core curriculum is centered around:

  • An international approach to current animation and the history of the medium.
  • The discipline of practice and the application of classic principles of movement.
  • Fearless experimentation and exploration in both physical and digital media.
  • A cross-disciplinary collaborative approach engaging and supporting the variety of art practices at Interlochen.
  • Development of independent voices and leadership practices through the animation production process.


How to Apply

Core Curriculum

Portfolio Requirements

For information on graduation requirements and academic curriculum, please visit Academy Academics.

Meet the Faculty

Interlochen's multidisciplinary approach to animation includes visual artists, filmmakers, and music producers among our faculty. 

All Faculty



Briana Yarhouse

Briana Yarhouse

Director of Animation

Michael Mittelstaedt

Michael Mittelstaedt

Director of Film & New Media

Mindy Ronayne

Melinda Zacher Ronayne

Director of Visual Arts

Marc Lacuesta

Marc Lacuesta

Director of Music Production & Engineering

Guest Artists

  • Don Dixon, animator
  • Dennis Muren, senior creative executive, ILM
  • Floyd Norman, animator, Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Wayne White, production designer, visual artist
  • Jeff Wozniak, content expert, Apple (frmr sr. digital artist, ILM)

The DeRoy Center for Film Studies

The DeRoy Center for Film Studies is the only facility in the country dedicated to film and animation studies at the high school level. You'll have access to professional facilities and equipment including specialized classrooms, edit suites, a multipurpose 2D/3D studio, a soundstage, stop motion rigs, cameras and lighting packages, and a 180-seat viewing space. You'll have the technology you need at every step of the animation process.

The Dow Center for Visual Arts

You will learn and create in the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts, one of the finest facilities dedicated to the study of visual arts at the high school level. The 36,000 square-foot facility includes separate studios for drawing, painting, metalworking, ceramics, sculpture, photography, printmaking, digital arts, and fibers, as well as a gallery for student, staff, and faculty exhibitions.

Awards & Honors

Our students have earned coveted awards, including accolades from the National YoungArts Competition, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Their short films have been accepted into festivals such as the Cultural Animation Film Festival and the Unspooled Film & Animation Festival, and have debuted at Lincoln Center. In 2022, our 24 HOURS Animation Contest team placed fourth in the world in the High School Animation category.

Future of Cinema Film Festival

A Film Festival Right On Campus

The Future of Cinema Film Festival is a chance for high school filmmakers to meet influential industry leaders from Hollywood and around the globe. 

See the future

College Matriculation

  • ArtCenter College of Design
  • Boston University
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Chapman University
  • College of Creative Studies
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • Emerson College
  • Ithaca College
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Pace University
  • Pratt Institute
  • Princeton University
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • School of Visual Arts
  • University of California
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Southern California

See what you can experience at Interlochen.

Come to a high school where young creatives thrive—and see how your unique journey unfolds. Plan your visit, request more information, or apply to Interlochen Arts Academy today.