Deciding on an Art Class, How it Went

Hi Everyone,

So, I finally took the plunge and decided to take an art class for the first time in 8 or 9 years.

Art used to be a pretty big part of my life. I grew up in a very artistic family where there was rarely a time we weren’t making something. And, I actually even considered going to art school. That is until my high school stopped offering art, which stopped me a bit in my tracks.

It has been a long time, but I have the art bug again.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I’ve been drawing lately. I really want to advance my drawing skills and explore painting.

Which brings us to today, the art class.

How I Chose Where to Go

This was not easy, I did some serious research to figure out where to take a class.

I live in the Boston area so I have a fair amount of options; if you live in a more remote area it may be more difficult to find the right class for you.

A few things, I wanted to take into consideration: price, the number of classes, the medium being taught (acrylic, oil, and drawing,) when and where the classes are held.

Museum of Fine Arts

First, I checked out The Museum of Fine Arts studio classes.  They have a wide assortment of classes offered for just about any type of art you can think of, but popular classes will often sell out.  Also, sometimes their schedules just don’t work with you or you already missed the first class.  This is what happened to me, I would love to go to an MFA class in the future though. They seem to be priced pretty fairly and they offer discounts to members

Massachusetts School of Art and Design

This was actually one of the art schools I had considered going to. MassArt offers workshop classes and college level classes for non-credit. Like the MFA, they offer a wide variety of classes. This was another one where the timing was just off, most of their classes started in June (you’ll see this is a bit of a theme.) On the surface, they seem a little more expensive, but the classes here are usually a semester long, versus just a few.

Quincy Art Association

Quincy Art Association is the one that is closest to where I live, so would be the most convenient to get to. Here they are a little more focused, they offer classes in painting, drawing, and ceramics. Unfortunately, once again, I missed the start of the Summer classes. They are incredibly well priced. They are also heavily involved in the local art community and offer discounts to members. When classes start back up I’m sure I will be back. It appears one of the teachers has other classes in the area, so I may look more into that.

Michaels/Local Art Stores

Michaels usually offers one-off workshops, versus most of the above are series of classes. They also seem to offer a lot fewer classes, since the employees also have to help run the store. This is a good way to try something out with a lot less commitment. It’s probably worth checking out, they are usually pretty low-cost. Sometimes they even offer free classes.

Thumbtack

On Thumbtack you can find private contractors/freelancers for just about anything, one being painting teachers. You put in a call for what you’re looking for and then people will send you their quotes. It’s a pretty cool service and totally free. I ended up with 4 quotes with varying accuracy to what I was actually looking for. However, this is how I found the class I did end up going to.

Art School 99

This is the “school” I ended up going with. I use school in quotes because it’s really just one women’s studio space that she teaches out of. She primarily teaches painting, with some drawing classes. I’m not going to lie, what made my decision to go with them was the fact they currently have a Groupon. I was also drawn to them because they were just about the only school that was flexible and has on going classes. You can pay for 3, 5, or 10 classes and then go to whatever ones you want.

The Class Set-up

The class I went to was a small open studio session and there were three of us.  It was my first class, one person had been there a few times, and the third person has been going for years, so there was an interesting dynamic.

Since, it was my first class, she wanted to gauge where I was at so all we did were some basic exercises.  These included some drawing and some color theory. I understand why she did this, but at the end of the class, I felt like I really hadn’t done anything. The Groupon deal was well worth it because the class didn’t seem worth full price.

Will I Go Back?

Now, I do still have two more classes (I got the 3 pack,) so I’m hoping she surprises me and I really learn something. However, right now, I’m not feeling too confident about her class. Not only was I not super impressed with the teacher, the studio was also a pain to get to.Though, when I actually get to paint something, maybe I’ll change my mind. 

At this point, I think after my next two classes, I’m going to go to one of the other places I listed above.  Which do you think I should try?