Best Art/Design/Architecture school program in the United States

Vitruvius founders, Kathleen and Eugene Kupper, and co-teacher Selene Kupper were awarded the American Golden Cube award and were the representatives of the United States in the UIA Golden Cubes International Competition in Tokyo. This art, architecture and design program enables students to use their creative intelligence to express ideas and concepts in tangible forms. As students engage in work based on real and imagined projects, they deepen critical thinking, narrative problem solving, spatial reasoning, and visual perception.

Student projects include architectural models, fused glass, ceramics, and painting and drawing in oil pastels, chalk, water colors and more. Each student is invited to create projects that reflect their ability to bring their unique ideas to life. Design and architecture projects bring an important dimension of thinking to the program. The students learn to find reasons for their work outside of artistic self-expression, becoming divergent thinkers, and gaining a foundation for understanding a changing world.

By studying works from history and the present, students understand how art and design have made significant contributions in the shaping of culture. Students see that their creative work is part of a continuum with other artists, architects, and designers. Critiques develop the ability to observe, discriminate, compare, and contrast creative works. Students learn how to use critical language to interpret work and explain their understanding of its purposes.

THE Nationally-acclaimed


In 1988, Kathleen Kupper and Eugene Kupper co-founded the Vitruvius Program, an art, architecture, and design education program for preschool through high school. The program was developed with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.  The Vitruvius Program curricula and teacher training have been implemented in schools, universities, and museums throughout the U.S.  Student work has been exhibited on an international level.

The Vitruvius Program has been the Summit School’s art curriculum since 2000, and has received national and state recognition.  Today, Kathleen Kupper and her daughter Selene Kupper create and teach the model design education program to preschool through eighth grade. Together they present integrated design exercises and art principles to the Summit School students, and relate their work to community and global issues, embodying scientific, artistic and spiritual narratives.


The ACSA Creative Achievement Award

In 2013, Kathleen, Selene, and Eugene Kupper were awarded the “Creative Achievement Award” by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, ACSA, at the ACSA National Conference in San Francisco.  The Creative Achievement Award recognizes a specific creative achievement in teaching, design, scholarship, research, or service that advances architectural education. This award recognized the Vitruvius Program research and curriculum integration at the Summit School. To learn more about this prestigious award go to pages 44 and 45 of the ACSA awards view book.

Phoenix Magazine named the Vitruvius Program at Summit School as one of the top five of all education programs in Metro-Phoenix in 2009.

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