Academy of Realist Art Boston

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Academy of Realist Art Boston



112 South St, Boston, United States

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The Academy of Realist Art (ARA) Boston was established in 2008 by Cindy MacMillan, a graduate of Michael John Angel Studios (MJAS) now ARA. After completing the rigorous program in Toronto and Florence, Cindy went on to earn a masters degree from the New York Academy of Art in 2007. A recipient of scholarships from the Art Renewal Center and the New York Academy of Art, Cindy's work has won numerous awards and is collected internationally. Instructors Emanuela De Musis, Garrett Vitanza and Julie Beck are also award winning artists with a range of styles and content.

Conveniently located in the historic Leather District of Boston, (one block from South Station), ARA Boston is a private institutions that teaches drawing and painting in the old master tradition. We model our curriculum and teaching techniques on the 19th-century European academies with the aim of helping students achieve the highest caliber of skills possible. The foundations we provide can help professionals and amateurs alike achieve exceptional results well beyond their expectations.

Our highly successful, step-by-step process teaches students at all levels, from beginner to advanced, to develop realist painting skills. When completed, our four-level program, which is available on a full- or flexible part-time basis, will enable the graduate to approach the most challenging drawing and painting projects with confidence and skill, regardless of their chosen style and medium. Individual instruction is offered in a friendly, supportive and pressure-free group setting where students can learn at their own pace.

Our progressive curriculum is designed to build on achievements gained at each stage. These stages include:

  • Charles Bargue drawings in graphite
  • Charcoal cast drawings
  • Cast paintings
  • Full color still life paintings
  • Drawing from the live figure model
  • Painting from the live figure model

ARA Boston offers instruction from Monday to Friday. It also hosts a variety of one- and two-week drawing and painting workshops, where participants can develop high level skills in a range of academic styles and mediums led by ARA instructors and guest artists. ARA Boston is also a Massachusetts PDP Provider.

Founded 2009
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Part-Time Instructors 1
Full-Time Instructors 4
Students 55
Accommodation No

Part time: USD 1750 / semester

Full time: USD 2945 / semester

Academy of Realist Art Boston

112 South Street, Fourth Floor

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Eric Johnson


Eric Johnson, an American artist, born in Tampa Bay. In the early years of his adult life, he sought to pursue on a journey to find classical training in what once was the most influential city to study art in the early 20th century, Boston. In 2014 he received a scholarship to study at the Academy of Realist Art Boston. He currently is continuing his education and has adopted the working methods and philosophy of the Boston painters. His training has made him appreciate the "classic spirit" and strive to achieve the truthful representation of nature, not photography. 

In his endeavor to rediscover the art's past working methods and materials, Eric has fallen in love with the craft of pigment and paint making. Eric makes the majority of all of his materials in the classical methods of the past for his works. Eric placed as a finalist in the the 2016 ARC Salon as well as in the Richeson's 2016 Still Life and Floral and Figurative and Portrait competition. 

Julie Beck

Instructor/Assistant Director

Julie Beck was born and raised in Western Upstate New York. She attended Roger Williams University in Rhode Island where she graduated valedictorian with a Bachelors degree in Mathematics in 2002. Her move to Boston in 2010 was the catalyst for her to enroll at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston augmenting her previous 8 years of self study. Julie's work has catapulted to new levels and she is very vocal about the benefits that this unique formal training provides.

Julie has won such honors as the 2013 and 2016 Gold Medal at the Guild of Boston Artist’s Annual Non-Member Competition, Best in Show for the Richeson Annual Still life and Floral Competition, and has been a finalist in the Art Renewal Center’s Annual Salon 4 years in a row with honorable mention. She was selected to participate in and won third place in the 2017 Still life Painting Competition at the Grand Central Atelier. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the US and internationally.

Julie is currently working out of her studio at the school where she is developing a body of work with a wide range of painting subjects including still-lives and animal/figurative works.

For more about Julie and her work, visit

Emanuela DeMusis


Born in Boston, Emanuela De Musis traveled to Italy in 2008 to study drawing in Florence and subsequently enrolled at the Academy of Realist Art Boston where she now teaches figure drawing and painting. She holds a BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon and is a graduate of Walnut Hill School for the Arts. 

In 2015, she was listed among Poets and Artists Magazine's 50 Memorable Painters. Her painting, Miss Rachel, was awarded the Gold Medal at the Guild of Boston Artists Regional Juried Exhibition and her painting, Fritter and Waste, was featured in International Artist Magazine. 

For more about Emanuela and her work, visit 

Garrett Vitanza

Principal instructor

Garrett Vitanza - Senior Instructor

Garrett first attended the Academy of Realist Art when he was sixteen, participating in The “Old Master Workshop” instructed by Fernando Freitas. Garrett grasped the basic skills of oil painting covered in the workshop and executed a self portrait which subsequently won first place in the National Congressional Art Competition in 2004. After graduating High School he moved to Toronto and studied for 3 years at the Academy of Realist Art. Since completing the program he has worked on several commissioned projects including murals. Garrett is currently working on a body of work that focuses on the figure and its relation to narrative and is continuing his education, pursuing a BFA at The School of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


For more about Garrett and his work, visit 

Cindy MacMillan


Ms. MacMillan, the Director in Boston is a practicing artist who divides her time between working in the studio and overseeing the academy operations. One of the first graduates of this program in Toronto she completed the rigorous program under the tutelage of Michael John Angel in 2002. She went on to earn a masters degree from the New York Academy of Art in 2007. Cindy has been a recipient of scholarships from the Art Renewal Center and the New York Academy of Art. Her work has won numerous awards and is collected internationally. Cindy is dedicated to providing students a quality art education in a demanding yet supportive environment that respects each student as an individual.


For more about Cindy MacMillan and her work, visit

olio y aglio by Cindy MacMillan

Rainbow of Pears by Cindy MacMillan

Self Portrait by Garrett Vitanza

Portrait of Ernesto by Emanuela de Musis

Steam Punk by Garrett Vitanza

Self Portrait in Graphite by Emanuela de Musis

They That Sow the Wind by Instructor Julie Beck

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Instructor Julie Beck

Miss Rachel

Perspective: The Vanishing Point

The Shape of Things We know

Student Still Life

Cast drawing

Cast Painting

Cast drawing

Ernesto grisaille

Figure Drawing

Master Copy

Student Still Life

Full Palette Cast

Instructor Garrett Vitanza gives a portrait workshop

ARA Boston location

Figure Drawing

Figure Drawing and Painting