Monart Drawing Studio
My 12-year-old daughter has been taking drawing lessons at Monart in Berkeley for a few months, and she loves it so much she signed up for summer camp. Mona Brooks, the founder of Monart, is an amazing teacher who is passionate in her belief that art is a skill that can be taught to anyone, not a rare talent possessed by a few born artists. Her method is a perfect balance of structure and freedom to create. The work produced by her students is quite remarkable. The summer offerings all look so interesting, my daughter had a hard time choosing: Manga, African Safari, Russian Art & Architecture, Rainforest Adventure, Australian Walkabout. (She finally settled on Russian.) We were on a waiting list for some time before getting into a class, and I think the summer camps fill up quickly also. www.berkeleymonart.com lori
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
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.
Editor Note (April 2011) The reviews below refer to Monart in Oakland and Alameda, which are no longer in business.
Re: Art instruction for kids
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
Re: Full day art camp for elementary aged child
You should check out Monart in Oakland. They also have a studio in Alameda. My son attended the summer camp last year and he loves it! He now goes to the weekly art program after school as well. Monart offers different themes each week. My son gets to be creative while learning drawing techniques on the subject. Kids are also provides fun facts about the subject. My son looks forward to his Monart class everyday! Monart has an open house coming up in Oakland. Check it out: http://www.oakland.monart.com/ sophia
There are not too many activities that teens and parents can do together and both enjoy but we have discovered one that we want to share. The Monart School of the Arts (540-4877), located on LeRoy in the Berkeley Montessori School building. has a Tuesday evening class for adults and older teens. This is art at its best and requires no prior, formal training. It is done in a non-competitive, nonjudgmental environment. It is a joy to attend and gives us something to do together that we both look forward to. They introduce a variety of media and techniques and will sharpen your skills not matter your level of achievement or expertise.
Monart, located in the old Hillside School on Leroy near Cedar in Berkeley, offers drawing classes for kids after school. I think they're pretty good. It's not arts-and-craftsy at all, although it seems to be fun. The kids learn techniques to really draw things. The phone number is 540-4877. (It's also in the phone book.) Christina
The Monart School of the Arts offers serious instruction for children. Their approach is on a higher level than typical classes for children, and the students' works are impressive. 1581 Le Roy Ave., Berkeley. 540-4877. Rachel