Art Classes for Kids

Parent Q&A

  • Advice for art enrichment for elementary aged kid

    (12 replies)

    My daughter loves art and her preschool was amazing at introducing her to different art styles and mediums, and let her both be creative with the various mediums of art and introduced the kids to famous painters and art styles.  She is going to K next year in public school and even though the school is generally good it has no (or very minimal) art program (also no music, but it is less of an issue for me than art).  I knew that when I chose public over private and told myself that the public school has a good math and reading program and we will supplement at home any shortcomings the public school will have in terms of the arts and PE, but now I'm at a loss as to how to supplement.  We bought a membership to the art museums in SF (de Young and Legion of Honors) and I plan to take her regularly to visit the main collection and the various special exhibitions they have and to discuss the paintings and painters, but I'm not an artistic person and don't know much about it myself (and she gets bored when I try to read the signs to her).  Are there any apps, tv shows, websites, etc. that I can show her or use myself to get ideas as to how to present art to her at an age appropriate level so it is interesting and understandable to her? She has an art table at home that is full of various art supplies and spends a lot of time "working" there by creating with paint, pastel, crayons, watercolors, clay, etc but I'm running out of ideas as to cool projects to suggest to her and I know she will miss all the cool stuff she got to do at preschool since the home art table won't make up for it without me guiding her and giving her different projects to work on.  Any books or kits or other resources of that type to help with that so I can make her "art time" at home more similar to her art class in preschool.  I already considered signing her up to an art class after school but she already has 4 activities she is not willing to give up and I don't want to over schedule an already very busy kid especially at this age.  Thanks for any advice and ideas. 

    Monart on MLK at Dwight is a fabulous place for kids to learn traditional art techniques, and make amazing pictures.  My daughter wished she'd gone their earlier, and eventually graduated to the adult drawing class.  Mona is wonderful and it was a great experience.

    My second son is artistic. I am not. I wish I had tried some of these great suggestions! What did work was art camps on summer or school breaks. He seemed to like the smaller ones, with a small group of kids and a teacher and maybe an aid. Just spending a week hanging with other artists, doing lots of different art was meaningful.

    At home, we had lots of supplies and I didn't intervene much. Some of the popular things was a roll of newsprint (I think from Ikea?). I'd tape a long strip down on the floor or a wall and he'd draw all over it. Also popular on playdates. Sometimes, tracing themselves or creating massive scenes.

    We carried a sketch pad almost everywhere. If he was bored, he could draw.

    Lastly, youtube! It turns out there's loads of videos on how to draw almost everything. I discovered this late (he was trying to draw a Black person's nose and his art teacher was white and didn't have a good answer). Anime, manga, animals, cartoons, everything he wanted to dabble in. He would take the skills and extend them beyond the initial lesson.

    Good luck!

    Most public schools have an art teacher- someone who operates the art cart. You might check in with them for ideas.  Online is helpful too- lots of teachers share ideas on materials. Google (or Duck-Duck Go, if you don't want to be surveilled) is your friend. There's the Oakland MOCA (Museum of Children's Art), and they have open studio from time to time. A great play date.  If you haven't seen it, LHS has a neat design center where you create different paper objects to build for various experiments (making a parachute, making a rocket driven by a puff of air), etc.

    One thing I'd like to offer as you figure this out is boredom.  A lot has been written about the need for more down time in our lives, and that boredom in particular has shown to be a an engine of creativity. My son, finishing kinder, seems to be a precocious reader and writer. And I went through the same search as you're going through: how to find things to keep his obvious interest in lettering and writing, etc.  And while I did get some good ideas from friends (people in FB that I didn't know were educators, e.g.), and online (pinterest etc.), I notice that recently, he's been coming up with his own stories, and vignettes to draw and write about, despite our not going to the library recently to get our customary truckload of books.  So we just make sure he has a nice supply of writing materials (you have an art table), and that he always feels that he can and should put something down on paper. It's really more about the ideation and creation I think that we're trying to foster. And frankly, I think having downtime and not too much stimulation gives his brain the space to do that.  Just my 2c.

    It may take some effort, but I think you'll enjoy exploring art with her (and letting her explore on her own is fine, too - time to experiment is good)! Remember that at this age (and any age, really), art is about the process rather than the product, so explore a method or medium and don't worry too much about the end result - you don't have to be "artistic" or perfect. A few resources to start with: Tinkerlab.com has tons of art and craft project ideas, along with recommendations for supplies and how to set up an art space for kids (sign up for her newsletter); check with your local librarian for book recommendations - both how-to-make-art books and picture books about specific artists that might inspire projects and discussion, especially if paired with a museum visit - there's a good starter list here but there are so many options out there: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-best-new-childrens-books-b... if you don't have time for another after school class (I hear you!), keep an eye out for one-time kids' projects/classes at the library, Flax, Mocha and other art spaces; lastly, Pinterest is your friend - I led art projects with a 1st grade class this year and here's our inspiration board, which will lead you down a rabbit hole of fun ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/oakgirl/first-grade-art-all-year/.  Have fun!

    Why not totally ditch art classes, museum visits, project-based crafts enrichment, attempting to teach art at all? Just give it all up and let her do what she wants at her well-stocked art table. She knows what she's doing, she doesn't need to be taught to create. Watch her and don't say anything unless she asks for your input. 

    This may be a stretch but as an artist and art teacher I hope you will become an advocate and help create an art program at your child's school. Get involved with the PTA and see if they have any goals for including art. Many schools have PTA funded art. Find other parents that agree with your goal and make a plan. Try contacting an organization like MOCHA (museum of children's art) to see if they have any programs that could come to your school. Talk to the principal and look at the Alameda County office of Education art website if you are in Alameda county. https://www.acoe.org/Page/160  Every child should have art as part of the school curriculum! 

    How wonderful that you are prioritizing art for your daughter. We have the opposite situation -- my daughter's preschool does minimal art and we do more structured projects at home -- but I've also made it a focus of enrichment. She is not quite four, whereas your daughter is likely making at least some transition from purely process art to a greater interest in results, but these are my recommendation. 

    If it fits your budget I strongly recommend a membership to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. Among all the other attractions there are three art rooms with rotating projects and a helpful staff. They focus on different artists (recent examples are Gaudi and Kusama) and create kid-level projects borrowing from the artists' techniques. 

    I use Pinterest a lot to find art projects but I love books and a few on our shelves are The Artful Parent (Van't Hul), Art for the Fun of It (Jenkins), Doing Art Together (Silberstein-Storfer), Making Things (Wiseman), Stitchery for Children (Enthoven), Making Make-Believe (Kohl) as well as every book I see about printing because I like prints. Art for the Fun of It is my all-time favorite in terms of being supremely confident, child-focused and process-oriented. Half the book details types of art and examples of activities while the other half places art within the overall context of creativity and gives some straight talk about how children's creativity and independence may be at variance with other common child-rearing goals like following direction and conforming to get good grades. The book is out of print but I bought it on Amazon. We also have a lot of exhibit catalogues and other large format art books and periodically my daughter will pull one down and flip through it (all those big color pages are probably very alluring to a non-reader), which I hope is the precursor to a genuine interest down the road. 

    Some places I'm keen to try but haven't yet are the drop-in programs at the Museum of Children's Art (Oakland) and Hands-On and Sticky Art Lab in Berkeley. It sounds like you are already over-scheduled for weekly activities but an occasional extra might fit in. Finally, I am trying to extend the creative approach to cooking, gardening and sewing to teach that we can create art with many media in our daily lives. Stitching is the toughest since I can't sew, but it's fun to learn something together and probably heartening to her that our skill levels are roughly similar. 

    All the best!

    As a parent of an artistic 14 year old who spends ALL her spare time drawing, painting, and doing digital art projects, I think that providing plenty of unstructured, unscheduled time to create is much more important to nurturing an artistic personality than taking an instructive class - especially at age 5.  I've signed my daughter up for various classes here and there, but I think the hours she spends experimenting and working on her own projects has helped her improve and grow as an artist WAY more than any class that she took.  It sounds like you are doing a great job exposing your daughter to art through museum memberships and by providing her with materials and a space to work.  I would just relax and let her mess around for now - if she wants specific instruction in something or wants support with a particular interest she will let you know  

    I

    The best resource for public school parents as you and your child make your way through the next 13 years is the California Content Standards, https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/. These provide detail into what students throughout the state are taught in each subject at each grade level. Art and PE are in there; students will be taught to at least the level listed in the standards, along with everything else. If you would like to do more, these Content Standards will let you know what is age/grade appropriate.

    Our now-19-year old daughter has always loved art. One great project that we had fun with, that works for a wide range of ages, was making flower fairies.  You use the petals of fake flowers (for the dress), pipe cleaners (for the body), a wooden bead (for the head), yarn or embroidery floss (hair), and ribbon for decoration.  They sell kits, which is what we used the first time, and then I just bought the separate supplies so we could make more.  Here's an example of a kit (this one doesn't seem to have the prettiest of materials, but it is the only one I found in a quick google):  https://www.amazon.com/Fashion-Flower-Fairy-Gift-Tin/dp/B00IMEVPTQ/ref=s...

    Here is one online tutorial that shows some prettier fairies (there are many youtube tutorials also, which often use wire, which they then wrap, instead of a pipe cleaner): http://tuffetblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/flower-fairies.html

    Shrinky Dinks, and window sticker art (https://www.amazon.com/ALEX-Toys-Craft-Window-Sticker/dp/B00BDMNJB6) were also big hits.

    Have fun! 

    MOCHA offers free afterschool art classes at various libraries in Oakland and Albany throughout the year.  The teachers are really exceptional.

    I hear you about not wanting to over schedule your daughter, but you might try the "Open Lab" on Saturdays at Sticky Art Lab. http://www.stickyartlab.com/open-lab/ I have a son who is too young for it, but my co-worker sends her 5 year-old to the after school program a few days a week and she loves it.

    I'm an architect now, but I remember when I was younger (though older than your daughter) going to the sketching camps at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. We had little stools and sketch pads and would sit and sketch any piece of art that we wanted. I think that could be something you could re-create on your own when she is a bit older.

  • Looking for drawing lessons for a 4 year old

    (2 replies)

    Hi, Does any one know a school or teachers who offer group or private lessons for 4 year old, in the Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany area?

    I checked the web site and cannot find anything. My boy is attending Kids N Clay, but he is no longer interested in it. 

    Thanks.

    What you want is the YAWS classes at the little studio at totland.  http://youngartistsworkspace.org/

    There used to be an arts program st Tot Land (McGee Ave. in Berkeley). Hope it's still operating. Kaylen Mayer runs a great summer camp for young artists  

    New replies are no longer being accepted.
  • Looking for a good after-school art class for 5th graders.

    (2 replies)

    My son has many ideas he wants to express but cannot draw very well.  I am looking for an after-class program to help him improve his drawing skills.  Any recommendation will be greatly appreciated!

    Kathy de Rosas in Oakland is great. She has afterschool classes in her home studio off of Trestle Glen rd. She also teaches ceramics & 3D art at Crocker highlands K-5 elementary school. My 10 year daughter has done amazing projects w Kathy, plus Kathy has run successful classes just for boys. Kathyderosas [at] gmail.com

    While touring an elementary school today, I saw an after-school class in Cartooning. Included "study and practice of basic drawing". Perhaps open enrollment options.

    Contact info: http://nuskuarts.org/programs/comic-book/

    New replies are no longer being accepted.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


2013 - 2014 Recommendations


After School Art Classes for 9 year old

Feb 2013

Could anyone recommend a good after school art class for my 9 year old in Berkeley? He has art in his school but he shows such an interest that it would be great if he could go further. Thank you!


I cannot recommend 4 Cats Berkeley Hills art studio enough. (Technically, it is located in Kensington, but it is right at the Colusa Circle, so it is very near Berkeley.) These classes expose kids to the great works of established artists, while helping them develop their own styles in different mediums, from painting to clay. The teachers are nurturing, patient and ever supportive. Our 6-year-old daughter is always eager to go to her 4 Cats classes or camps. Katharine


2010 - 2012 Recommendations


After-school Art for 2nd & 4th grader

Nov 2012

I am looking for a once a week after-school art class for my 2nd and 4th grade kids. North Berkeley location preferred. thanks


My Kindergartener takes classes through Young Artists Workspace (YAWS) at Totaland (near North Berkeley Bart). The director, Jen, is great and her assistant who is teaching some classes this fall is also wonderful. There are classes for older kids -- check out their schedule. http://youngartistsworkspace.org/schedule/ Berkeley Mama


My daughter started taking classes at 4 Cats Art Studio on Colusa at the Kensington circle (north Berkeley/Kensington border) when she was a kindergartner and is now in 1st grade. She loved it immediately. She has been taking the ''Artist of the Month'' series where the kids learn how to make art in the style of a certain artist (Klimt, Michelangelo, de Lempicka, Degas), and in the process she is learning a tremendous amount of art history. They also have drawing, painting, sculpture classes, as well as camps. Many choices for ages groups/grade levels. Check it out. http://www.4cats.com/berkeleyhills


You might want to check out the Sticky Art Lab over on University and Sacramento. Not a class per se, but worth looking into because you can do kiddo drop-off and the studio provides everything under the sun to work on any kind of art project. The owner is full of suggestions and provides one-on-one assistance. Even if this isn't the official class you're looking for, you should definitely check it out if you haven't yet. You could also look into 4cats in Kensington. love kids art


Art Class for our unique 9 year old?

Oct 2012

Our family is looking for a drawing class for our unique 9 yr old. Our boy is extraordinarily creative and self-motivated, but is easily discouraged by the average teacher and typical classroom. Ideally we want a class in Berkeley that can provide structure (i.e., teach basic skills) while leaving room for creative freedom. We want a teacher who can teach our child the ropes, without tying him down! Our boy is especially motivated when his abilities are channeled into his own personal interests, and/or the needs of society. We are hoping to find a teacher who enjoys working with the interests and concerns of the students. Any suggestions?


Your son might really enjoy taking Doug Minkler's Sunday morning art class for kids/teens in his print studio in Berkeley. It's creative, fun and reasonably priced. Doug is really an extraordinary and unique art teacher. See his yelp reviews at http://www.yelp.com/biz/doug-minkler-berkeley Cleo


I'd recommend Doug Minkler, 510 548-7119, who lives and works in Centralish Berkeley, near MLK and Ward St. He's been working with kids for years, teaching careful drawing through careful observation, as well as the creativity and satisfaction of expressive drawing, unique drawing, and imaginative drawing. I think he also includes other media as well: oil pastel, ink, paint, and printmaking.


I didn't see the original post but my kid does art with Kent Fries at Wildcat Art Studio. Kent and his wife ran the Wildcat Free School, a Summerhill-type school across from Alvarado Park. He teaches classes here and there but we do it at his private studio on McBride, up the street from the park. He's got a potters wheel and a kiln, and stuff to do woodworking, painting, and sculpture. You can arrange private sessions or join up with other kids who come to the studio. A bit cheaper that way. After the class they all have a go on the trampoline in the front yard. Here's his email: wildcatartstudio [at] gmail.com Lisa


Art classes for soon to be 6 year old girl

March 2012

Our daughter has been drawing since she can hold a crayon. Now we see the talent shining through with what and how she is drawing and would love to continue to cultivate this talent with fun classes in art. All the recommendations/reviews are old era 2008. Looking for art class in the East Bay ~ Berkeley, El Cerrito, Hercules, Martinez, Walnut Creek .... Afterschool and a summer program. Thanks for helping our little artist perfect her talent. mommysquared


Please give Lucy Ames, of Imagination Kids, a call. She is a credentialed art teacher in the Berkeley school system and a very creative and compassionate person. Her week-long summer art camps in her beautiful El Cerrito art studio are fantastic! Lucy covers elements and principles of art connected to specific artists and themes. She provides lots of personal attention (only 6 to 8 children in each camp), high quality art materials and encourages children to go in their own direction. My son returns summer after summer! Contact info: 510-233- 2509 www.lucyames.com Go Imagination Kids!


Art or drawing classes for a 5.5 year old boy

Oct 2011

My son is requesting art/drawing classes. I've looked around but not found anything satisfactory. Any recommendations on classes, private instruction, books, etc. to keep his interest going? Thanks! aldrinna


My son went to Studio One summer camp last summer. I was very impressed. Various art classes (with different instructors), mixed in with acting, dance, martial arts so that there was an opportunity to get the energy out. My son's experience fluctuated based on which friends happened to be there for the same sessions, so for us it will be important to sign up with friends. It's a big camp, so kids who aren't intimidated by lots of kids will do well. They also do after school care. I bet there are straight art classes and maybe camps for school breaks during the school year. It's run by Oakland Parks & Rec (props to them!), so it's very reasonably priced and scholarships are available. I definitely plan to continue to use it for my arty boy for years to come. anne


Art classes on the weekend for 8 year old

Oct 2011

Hi - I am looking for art / drawing classes for my 8 yr old. The only classes I can find are on weekday afternoons but we need something on the weekend. Anywhere in the East Bay will work. Any suggestions? Thanks! megan


The Richmond Art Center has Saturday art classes for children. I have friends whose children have taken the preschool art class and loved it. I took some great classes there as a child. Your question reminded me to check out their schedule! They seem to have a nice program of classes for kids and adults. http://www.therac.org/schedule/html/classes.html Art loving mom


The hidden gem in the Bay Area is the Richmond Art Center located at 2540 Barrett Avenue in Richmond near the new city center offices. Check out their website at www.therac.org and their phone number is 510-620-6772. They have a variety of classes available and the teachers are all wonderful, with very good training and experience themselves. I have found the teachers to be very understanding of children's abilities in art and very encouraging of helping them to develop their gifts in art. My child has taken classes at the RAC for four years, since age four, and we couldn't be more pleased. Prices for classes are very reasonable. The RAC is a goldmine with wonderful classes for all ages. Please check them out!! A RAC supporter spreading the word!


Art classes in East Bay for 8 & 10 yos

April 2011

Could anyone recommend a good program for Art Classes in the EAst BAy? I am looking for classes for my 8 and 11 year old children. Ethel


Several months ago we were searching for an affordable art class for my 7 year old daughter who spends a lot of time involved in her art projects and we are very happy to have discovered Monart art classes at Dwight and MLK in Berkeley. This location has just opened and the classes are taught by the woman who founded Monart. The founder has a lot of experience in teaching art, has some lovely philosophical stances about doing it and seems to really know what works well for kids in this kind of setting. My daughter, who often doesn't cotton to structured classes of any kind, really loves these art lessons. Good luck in your search. The website is www.berkeleymonart.com. Phone # 350-7402. Location: 2500 Martin Luther KIng. Elizabeth


Hello Ethel, We just found a new art class for our daughter. It is taught by Mona Brooks, the founder of Monart Drawing school. Mona recently moved to Berkeley area to be close to her family. Every class the students get a handout about the project and a drawing guidance list. On the handout there is scientific information, for example about butterflies and moths, and on the drawing page they practice elements of the design. We love that the program is very well thought through and every lesson builds up the skills. Check out the website www.berkeleymonart.com for the class schedules. Yulia


My son has really enjoyed Monart drawing classes taught by Mona Brookes in Berkeley. Mona believes that drawing is a skill that can be taught and learned, similar to learning to dance or play an instrument. She teaches children (and adults) how to think visually and gives them a vocabulary of elements that are used to create beautiful drawings. It is somewhat structured, but within the basic structure there is a lot of room for freedom of expression. I think it is great to expose children to all sorts of materials, messy art, to focus on process and not so much product, and to allow them to let their creativity soar. At the same time, when my son became very interested in drawing (around age 7 for him) and perspective and how you make things look the way you want them to look, he started the Monart drawing classes to develop some basic drawing skills. Check out her website, and I'm sure your child could do a trial class to see whether it's what you are looking for. http://berkeleymonart.com/


My son has only been taking art classes with Mona Brookes of Monart Berkeley since March but comes home with these beautiful pictures each week, even from the first class. When I pick him up, I can't wait to see what all the kids have drawn. At the end of class, the kids show their pictures to each other and to the parents. He has drawn a bird in a branch, an ocelot, horses, a rabbit, flowers in a pitcher, and a chameleon - which have all come out beautifully. Mona takes suggestions for what to draw. The kids get at least two handouts each class: 1) one about the subject they are drawing (for example, for the animals they learn qualities about the animals such as the chameleon's tongue is 2x longer than it's body size, the area of the world the animal comes from, its habitat, age appropriate books on that animal/subject, etc.) and 2) one breaking down the features of the subject. So for the chameleon, the sheet shows parts of the body, the leg, eye, scales, etc. The kids practice drawing the parts of the chameleon first and then put it all together to draw the entire animal. It's a really cool technique. The drawings come out so beautifully that we've run out to Blick to buy the markers and colored pencils that Mona uses in her classes to finish the drawings at home. Mona also sells some supplies at cost and has published some books that I haven't had the opportunity to read yet. What a Great Find in Berkeley! FIVE STARS for Mona Brookes and Monart!!!!! Julie


we LOVE YAWS ! http://www.youngartistsworkspace.org/ jen also runs a fabulous summer camp: http://westsidestudio.squarespace.com/ we're always blown away by the art that comes home after a yaws class/camp. and our kids (7 and 9) have loved going to her classes for the past 4+ years. emily


Our daughter just started taking classes at Monart a month ago and she loves it, she always waves when we drive by on the weekends and looks forward to going. The classes are focused on learning how to draw through studying shapes, shading, etc., and I wish such a class had been around when I was a kid. Mona takes making art seriously, and the kids really respond to this. Our daughter dreams of being the class clown, and has never liked to sit still, but she focuses for ninety minutes during Mona's class, which is a record. The work that the kids do is amazing, and I think that it has helped her focus in general. Monart fan


I have recently relocated to the Berkeley area and, to my utter delight, I found that we have in our midst one of the most innovative and fantastic art programs in the country, if not the world. Seriously. Mona Brookes, the creator and founder of Monart Drawing Schools , http://monart.com has started a Berkeley school - and SHE is the owner/teacher! Her school is at 2500 Martin Luther King Way, Berkeley, CA 94707 Website is: http://berkeleymonart.com/ My kids will be enrolling here. I am so pleased to have such a fine program in the area. Monart gets the most amazing results. Check the websites, you'll see.


Art/ drawing classes for a 5-yr old

June 2010

My daughter is 5 years old and very interested in art. I would like to find her an art teacher who can teach her how to draw and some basic fundamentals. We live in the Rockridge area so ideally the art teacher or camp would be in the Oakland/Berkeley area. She is also very shy so putting her in a camp with a bunch of older kids isn't really an option. We are willing to do private lessons or group. Thank you! Looking for an art teacher


check out YAWS (Young Artist Workspace) located at Totland (Virginia & McGee) in Berkeley. I hear great things about it. http://www.youngartistsworkspace.org/ Maxine


Oakland Park & Rec has very good classes at the montclair rec center. i don't remember the teachers name but she was wonderful & the classes are very inexpensive! Alex


Drawing Class for 6 year old

May 2010

I'm looking for an afterschool, weekend or summer drawing class for my 6-year old daughter. She does not seem to be particularly interested in other types of art-making, but has developed a passion for drawing. For that reason, I'm trying to find a class that specifically focuses on drawing techniques, rather than a general art class. I saw several recommendations in the archives for Monart in Berkeley, but it appears to have closed. Any other recommendations for classes in the Oakland/Berkeley/Lamorinda area would be appreciated. Thanks! Mom to budding illustrator


I recommend that you look in to the art program YAWS run by Jennifer Burke. http://www.youngartistsworkspace.org/about-us/. Jen has the skills to bring out the most creative work from children. My children have loved working with her. She is a woman with a deep soul and a soaring spirit! richtoad


Looking for art class for 8 & 10 yo

Jan 2010

We love YAWS, but those classes don't fit into my kids' schedule. Any other recommendations for art classes in Berkeley or El Cerrito? I have an 8 year old and a 10 year old, but they don't have to be in the same class. Thanks. anon


There's a great drawing class for kids ages 8-12 at Brushstrokes Studio . A new session starts in January. It's called The Art Loft: A Classical Drawing Program for Kids. We've had great experiences at Brushstrokes with many camps and classes. My 8yo daughter will be in this class, too. (She's been very anxious to turn 8 because of it!) Maybe we'll see you there. brushstrokestudio.com Megan


Drawing painting and clay after school Tues & Weds through the Albany Community center http://www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=106121 510-524-9283 Sharyl


2007 - 2009 Recommendations


Drawing Class for 7yr Old

Nov 2009

My 7 yr old daughter is very interested in drawing and painting, and shows some great talent. I am struggling, however, to find a drawing/painting class for her age. We do not want to focus on general art exploration or arts and crafts, but rather primarily drawing and painting. I had tried Studio One in Oakland, but classes are frequently cancelled due to lack of enrollment. MOCHA doesn't seem to offer focused classes and Jr. Center for Art and Science doesn't provide classes like this for 7yr olds right now. Any other ideas??? We live on the Oakland/San Leandro border and spend a lot of time in downtown Oakland for school etc. heather


My daughter is 8 and has been taking a really great drawing class with Aliea Wallace, who used to teach at the now closed Oakland/Alameda Monart studio.

The class is focused strictly on drawing, but they use a variety of mediums-pencils, markers, oil/chalk pastels, watercolor paints etc... Each lesson has a theme, for instance last week they drew squirrels, the week before the Titanic, and before that they had a live bird to draw. They are also learning how to see and how to break down their observations into small geometric units which are easier to draw.

We live in North Oakland, but drive out to Alameda for her class, which is 1 1/2 hours once a week. She also does 1 hour classes for younger kids. Aliea has more info available on her website http://www.aliea.com Andrea


Ongoing art class for kindergartener?

Sept 2009

Does anyone know of an ongoing art class for a Kindergartner who wants to explore all kinds of media? I have found one-time classes, but am interested in a class that meets weekly or something. Thanks! Genevieve


My kids are too old for these, so I can't give specific feedback, but I know there are kids' after-school art classes at University Village (Albany/Berkeley border) http://services.housing.berkeley.edu/VillageRecreation/arts.htm and Albany community center http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=537 (click on youth activities for catalog) I imagine other cities offer similar classes. R.K.


This is on the other side of the tunnel in Lafayette, but well worth the trip if it's possible for you. http://www.famplosion.com/venues/6970-The-Art-Room mch


Art Class for 4.5 year old?

Feb 2009

Can anyone suggest art classes for a preschooler/soon-to-be kindergartner in the Albany/Berkeley/El Cerrito area? I've come across the YAWS classes in Totland but the timing may not work. Are there alternatives? We're looking for something fun that offers a little more coaching than an open studio like Habitot. Thanks for any referrals! eh


Check with the Park & Rec department in the cities you're interested in, for example Berkeley's at http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/DepartmentHome.aspx?id=8506. We've taken a number of fun preschool art (and sports) classes through the Oakland P Dept. They're reasonably priced, offered at locations all over the city, and I think sometimes overlooked with so many other kid-class options in the Bay Area. Your Tax Dollars at Work


Drawing class for budding 8yo artist

Dec 2008

My 8 y/o is a drawing fiend - not painting or other media as much - but cartooning and drawing. Most art classes don't really do intensive training for accomplished drawers. Does anyone know of a teacher or class that maybe meets once or twice a week for drawing and is viewed as continuous training (like piano lessons)? Prefer Lamorinda or WC but will go elsewhere. Anon


The Cartoon Art Museum in SanFrancisco has good classes for kids. It's on Mission Street by the Chronicle Building and it is easy to park in the 12th street garage. Fun!


A few years back, my son took did a week of summer camp at Oakland's Museum of Children's Art (mocha). If I remember correctly, it was on how to put together your own comic book, so they focused not only on the drawing but on the storyboards as well. I would bet they have other courses during the year. I noticed on their web site they have a winter camp, but it isn't solely on drawing or cartooning: http://www.mocha.org

This summer, my son and I visited the Cartoon Museum in San Francisco. That was pretty fun. They also had some summer programs. I just checked their website and it didn't show classes offered currently , so they might only do those during summer. You could get on their mailing list to be alerted to upcoming opportunities. http://www.cartoonart.org/index.html


After-school art class for 5-year-old

Nov 2008

I am looking for recommendations for an after-school art class for my 5-year-old daughter. She loves to draw and paint and sculpt and isn't getting as much of it in public elementary school as she did in preschool! I would love to find an inspirational teacher who she could really connect with. We do a lot of art at home, but I'm envisioning a class where she'd have more materials at hand and/or different influences. We live in central Berkeley, so something in Berkeley, Albany, or North Oakland would be great. More Art Please!


For your 5-year-old, look into the Young Artists Work Space at Totland. The classes are taught by Jennifer in the small, mural-covered building. Another great option, for ages 6-12, is Art for Kids taught by Teresa Holtgraves. She teaches small groups (of 5 kids) in her charming home studio in Albany, near the Solano Safeway. Brenda


My kids have loved Jen Burke's art classes YAWS . They are held at Totland a few afternoons/week. Jen is wonderful with the kids and an amazing teacher. There is a new session beginning soon. You can reach her at jennyaws [at] yahoo.com jessica


I highly recommend the San Francisco Children's Art Center at Fort Mason. I am a practicing artist and educator who taught there for 8 years and know the program quite well. I am still in frequent contact with Gail Tarantino, the main instructor at SFCAC. Gail is the best children's art teacher you will ever find. The program is set up to provide the children with opportunities to try different materials and techniques. The instructors are responsive to the students needs and interests. More info at: http://www.childrensartcenter.org/ Anne


we love YAWS (young artists workshop) run by jennifer burke and held at totland park in the little building there. she also runs fabulous weekly summer camps from her home. her email is: jennyaws [at] yahoo.com


Art instruction for kids

May 2008

My daughter loves drawing and painting. I am trying to get her some classes that teaches basic techniques. We have tried several places, most art classes I would say is exploration, which she has plenty of in after school club. The best classes we had is at the Art Room in Laffayette, but it is pretty hard to get 4 kids at the same level and age together at the same time. A lot of times, the much older kids does not really want to work on the drawing and in the end, they succeeded in getting the teacher to do some other projects. I am looking for semi private/private instruction fit my daughter's needs. I have heard a lot of artists in Berkeley and lamorinda area, does anyone have any recommendations?


My 8 year old daughter LOVES Monart . She attends the half-day camp, but they have drawing lessons as well.

One of the weeks she went was about bridges. They taught her basic engineering (large bases, triangles create strength, etc.) Then taught her to draw covered bridges, suspension bridges, walking bridges. The week ended with the kids drawing the Golden Gate Bridge and a t-shirt being made of the drawing. It was very cool.

MonArt uses very high quality materials and the class sizes are small. My daughter attended the Telegraph Avenue/Oakland camp, but they also have a camp in Alameda. My Kid LOVES MonArt!


Try Monart in Oakland or Alameda. My daughter has been taking weekly drawing classes there since she was 4 and loves it. They have classes for all ages and summer camp. Their site is http://oakland.monart.com. Janice


Run, do not walk, to the Junior Center of Art and Science in Oakland on Lake Merritt. They have great classes for kids of all ages and they really teach technique. The best art my children have ever produced is what they have done in classes there. Google them to find their website. Artsy mom


2004 - 2006 Recommendations


Art classes for 9-year-old

Oct 2006

I'm looking for art classes for a 9-year-old who really enjoys art and wants art lessons. The recommendations I find are suited for children of different ages, or concern the Berkeley School of the Arts/Monart program which seems to have closed. If you know of good classes or teachers anywhere in the Bay Area, please update us Artless


Definitely worth checking out the offerings at the Richmond Art Center . http://www.therac.org (then click on education) They offer quarterly classes aimed at different ages . We've loved them and given it is a fine art community-based center with a gallery, it feels very ''alive.'' I think you'll like it Berkeley Mom


Children's Art Center in Fort Mason in SF. This is THE BEST place for art for kids. Really, really gifted teachers who take the time and encourage true creativity Ariele


Art classes for a 3 year old

June 2006

We are looking for more interesting music and art classes for our nearly-3-year-old daughter. We do lots of art at home, but I am not an artist and can only teach a limited amount. It would be nice to start her in ''real'' art classes where she could start playing with paints and clays and working on longer projects. It seems to me that even young kids are naturally drawn to music and art, so there must be teachers out there who allow them to follow that interest!


For art classes, check out Children's Art Studio in Alameda (on High Street at Santa Clara). They have a class for 2-5 year olds that you can just drop into, Tues - Sat mornings. There is an organized project the kids can work on with the instructor, or just explore the various art stations set up in the studio on their own. My daughters love it!

(Editor Note: As of 2011, Children's Art Studio in Alameda has closed)


I would like to highly recommend the classes offered at The Richmond Art Center . My son has been taking the ''I Love Art'' class with Lisa Di Prima, a teacher he adores, since he was three and asks to sign up at every new session. We took a break and tried dance, soccer and t-ball, but it's the art classes he always comes back to. I think it's because of Lisa as much as the activity of making art. She's very engaging for the little ones. And, in fact, offers classes FOR ALL AGES.

It's not a long drive if you live in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito (or Richmond, of course) and so worth it. http://www.therichmondartcenter.org (Click on education). Classes are quarterly Happy Art Kid's Mama


2003 & Earlier


Drawing class for talented 6-year-old

Nov 2001

I am looking for a good drawing class for my almost 6-year-old son. He has been drawing enthusastically since he was almost four, and he is quite prolific and, I think, talented. I am looking for something that focuses on drawing itself, for that seems to be his primary interest. We live in the Berkeley/Claremont area, and he goes to school in Oakland near Lake Merritt. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Pam Recommendation received:

  • Monart School of the Arts Berkeley

    Art class(drawing) for 3 years old

    Nov 2001

    I would like to take my son to an art class. I really appreciate if you could give me some information regarding art classes for 3 years old in East Bay besides Habitot (Habitot sounds good but the schedule doesn't work for us). I have checked the UC parent website, Berkeley Child Art Studio sounds really good but I can't find the phone number anywhere. fei lin


    A very friendly and approachable art teacher started an art program at Totland, the Berkeley City Park at McGee and Virginia(?). I actually am not sure if it is still happening. It was called YAWS - Youth Arts Work Space. They did have studio time for young kids. If you go there, you will find out if it is still happening and your child can play at the play ground so it wouldn't be a wasted trip. With kids input, the art teacher painted the wonderful mural on the exterior of the building, which make the place so inviting and invigorating.

    MOCHA has a drop in Little Studio for creative expression and exploration in the arts. It is open during the day Tues - Sun. for drop-in. (check hours at www.mocha.org). Preschool groups can schedule field trip visits. The Little Studio will not teach your child how to draw, but will provide materials to explore and create and support children at their developmental levels. It costs $3 per visit and kids are not turned away for lack of funds. Lissa


    Try your local rec center. The Montclair Rec Center in Oakland, for instance, seems to have a lot of art classes on various days for kids this age. Leah