Art Classes for Teens & Preteens

Parent Q&A

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  • Dear BPN Parents,

    We recently moved to Oakland and are looking for a good drawing/painting class or private lesson provider tailored for age 11 or above. My son started the drawing lesson about 7 years ago and he has strong interest and is in advance class comparing to his peers.  Any recommendation in Berkeley, Albany, Oakland or other neighborhood area is greatly appreciated!

    Hi! I know of a great art teacher who just moved to the Bay Area. She’s an artist/illustrator with a background in Fine Art and a Masters in Education — she taught in a school setting in NYC for 7 years before moving out here. She’s fabulous with young artists! Her email is albertzoe1 [at] 

    Check out Liv and Chiu Art Studio:

    Classes taught by Olivia would be great for an advanced student. She’s an amazing teaching artist. My child has taken a class with her and another with a teacher who was younger and had less experience. The latter would have been a fine class for a beginning artist but was too basic for my kid. Olivia is great at teaching beginner and advanced students. 

  • Art classes for Teens

    (5 replies)

    Anyone know of any in person art classes for teens in the Oakland area? Drawing? Painting? Wheel ceramics?...having a hard time finding anything local.

    Studio One

    It's almost impossible to find OPR info online, but Studio One in Oakland offers teen art classes (drawing/painting, ceramics, photography) over the summer (and more options during the school year). Click on the "class catalog" button here for details:

    Not in Oakland, but in southwest Berkeley, Kala Art Institute has excellent after-school classes and camps for teens.

    The Crucible (near W Oakland BART) offers youth classes.

    Studio One! They have incredible classes for all ages. A real gem of a spot. My teen takes ceramics there, though in the regular adult classes. Check out the age range for the adult classes as some may start at 15 or 16.

  • One of our daughters does NOT want to go back to sleep away camp and although her twin sister is going (yay!) we will allow her this choice.  I told her that she needed to find something else to do during the summer -- that she can't just hang out.  Sorry, I'm mean that way.  Yes, she can work & may do that, which wouldn't be a bad thing at all.  But I would love to find her some kind of art camp or classes that she can take as a high school student.  She loved woodshop in middle school and was very talented at it.  We live in the Tri Valley area.  Any advice welcome!

    The Crucible in Oakland has all kinds of cool classes in things like glass-blowing and metal-working.  It’s a short walk from West Oakland BART, so she could probably get herself there and back.   

    California College of the Arts has summer programs for teens. 

    Also, RISD has an exceptional, intense summer art program.  Pricey but fabulous. 

  • art class for teen

    (2 replies)

    Can you recommend a fun, warm and engaged art teacher for a talented, out-of-the box 14 year old who loved drawing including manga?  Am open to both classes and one-on-one or small group instruction.  Thank you!! 

    There is a studio called Liv and Chiu in Berkeley that is really great for teens. I would check that out. There is also a great teen summer art program at CCA in Oakland. 

    If your child loves to draw, I can very highly recommend Doug Minkler’s art classes! His website is, and you can also find reviews on yelp. He’s very fun, kind, supportive, warm, talented, and engaging. He’s a very skilled teacher and connects easily with all kinds of kids. My kid has taken classes with him, as our schedule permits, for a few years now. Give him a call at 510-548-7119. He teaches at his studio in Berkeley. 

  • Hello, my son is interested in taking some drawing classes on a regular basis, and I'm having a hard time finding something that isn't a 1 or 2x workshop and that is in Berkeley or Oakland.  (I've seen the Monart website, but did not see any 2018 classes so wasn't sure if it was still active). Thank you!

    Try Studio One in Oakland by Oakland Tech. My kids took lessons there--a long time ago--I know they still exists but not sure what they are offering now.

  • Figure Drawing Class for a Teen

    (4 replies)

    Does anyone know a good place near Berkeley for a 17 year old novice artists to take figure drawing? Doesn't need to be live models, just a focus on the human form.


    My 15 yo daughter takes FREE “pre-college” classes at the get Academy of Art in SF and is signed up for their figure drawing class (with models) this Spring. They are held on Saturdays from 12-2 and have an exhibition at the end of the semester  

    Info is on their website. Lmk if you need the link. 

    Chris Peterson is a local artist. He does figure drawing classes. You can google him for contact information. 

    Berkeley City College has a good Arts program and is the most affordable option I’ve come access. 

    Richmond Art Center also offers classes. Good luck!

    Deborah Harris is excellent at teaching young adults the fundamentals of figure drawing. I and my daughter both have taken her classes. She teaches at the Sawtooth School in West Berkeley:

    Check out California College of the Arts.  They have a Saturday morning figure drawing class for high school students, at their Oakland campus.  Here's their link:

    CCA also has summer pre-college programs for high school students. It's intensive and expensive, but the students earn college credits - often also accepted as high school credits which can boost a GPA as college classes are double credit and given a full grade boost.  They probably also have some financial aid.

    Also, my daughter took a Berkeley City College evening class "Beginning Figure Drawing and Anatomy."  You'll need permission from her high school for her to register concurrently (BCC has a Concurrent Enrollment form the high school has to complete.)  But make sure there is space in the class before you go through all of that.  The figure drawing classes fill up quickly because it is an inexpensive way to get access to live models. 

    My daughter enjoyed both of these classes, and is now an illustration major at CCA.

    Also check Meet-Up for figure drawing sessions. There are a number of them around.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Looking for an art tutor for teenage son

Sept 2015

My son is creating a portfolio for architecture colleges and needs to have several still life drawings. He could benefit from some guidance from a knowledgeable source. Can anyone suggest someone who would do some one-on-one work with him? Trying to be helpful mom

I would recommend Ilona Sturm. She has an MFA in fine arts, a Master's in Art Education, and has taught drawing -- including still lifes -- at many local schools (including, currently, Berkeley Adult School). She's also the parent of a Berkeley teenager. Berkeley parent


Art program for advanced high schooler

August 2009

I am looking for a reliable 'behind the wheel' driving school training for my 16 yr old son, in Berkeley. Any recent experiences or referrals? OK to email me directly. Thanks, Deb

Check out your local community college. If she's entering 10th grade there is usually a path to taking a college-level course, and it can be arranged for units with the high school if she's topped out on classes there. Many of the community colleges have great art, music and drama departments and offer evening classes. My daughter took a year of piano at Ohlone College last year (she didn't read music or play any instrument) and now plays daily for her own enjoyment - in fact, she's continuing with advanced piano Fall and plans to take an art course in drawing Spring. Check it out - it's worth it. Lynne

I recommend Deborah Harris to anyone looking for an art teacher. She works with all ages, including adults, and has a lot of experience with teens. Students get a lot of individual attention, and the kind of training that is usually only offered at art school. Deborah forms a rapport with each student and tailors her approach to address individual interests and concerns. I think Deborah offers teens a unique opportunity to gain concrete skills, and develop confidence. stephani

I highly recommend Deborah Harris for art lessons for teens. My 8th grade daughter will begin her 3rd year with Deborah this year and she and a friend also did a 2 week workshop with Deborah and 2 other students this summer. I have also seen some of the work that a high school student has done with Deborah and have been very impressed. Deborah has provided a very solid foundation from which my daughter has begun to really blossom. Deborah's studio is in West Berkeley and there is great bus access. Her website is Panda

I can highly recommend Deborah Harris as an art teacher for teens! My 16 year old daughter had a couple of private lessons, as well as two classes with Deborah this summer, one in ''Life Drawing'' and the other in printmaking. Both classes were of very high caliber. The Life Drawing class was challenging and really took her to another level in her drawing. With a series of live models, there were structured drawing exercises which taught specific skills, techniques and different approaches to drawing the figure.

The printmaking class, which uses linoleum and japanese tools to make relief prints, draws upon Japanese woodblock prints, Mexican prints, graphic novels, etc. for inspiration. It was more open-ended, and my daughter said she really appreciated that Deborah teaches skills without imposing her way of doing things. She said she felt Deborah was an excellent teacher, really interested in helping each artist develop their skills and artistic vision. The class was really inspiring - my daughter has been working every day since the class ended to create new and ever more complex prints - she's up to a 4 color print which is really something.

Deborah teaches out of her studio in the Sawtooth Building, which is on 8th street between Dwight and Parker. By public transit, the number 9 bus stops 1/2 block away, or you can walk down from San Pablo as well.

Here's her website: Natasha

Our 13 year old daughter had a fabulous experience working with Deborah Harris (, a painter/printmaker with a studio in West Berkeley. Deborah worked with her to develop a concept for her Bat Mitzvah invitation and printed them together. The result was stunning and it was personal and meaningful. Deborah is lovely to work with -- and is not only incredibly talented, but a gifted teacher. She also does a series of classes which look wonderful. lisa

Summer Art Classes for teens

June 2008

Re: Summer Activites for Teens
There are classes (drawing, painting, photography) for teens (ages 13-15 year old) at SFAI in San Francisco that begins June 16-July 3rd. tammy

Airbrush class for teens

Nov 2007

Can anyone recommend where a teen can take a course on ''How to Airbrush''. My 13 year old teen seems very interested but I can't find a course in the Bay Area which offers this class. Curious Mom

Alvin Petty used to teach airbrushing at Michael's in Pinole. They should have information on how to reach him.

I am so happy to be able to recommend Oding Muata, a very accomplished airbrush artist and teacher who just happens to be great with teens. My 17 year old son was desperate to airbrush last year at this time and Oding did a long session with him over the holidays which enabled my son to go it alone thereafter. Now he's at college and fantasizing starting a t-shirt business at school. Anyway, you can reach Oding at 444-8510 or oding at Say hello for us. heidi

Painting Class for 14 y.o. teen

Oct 2007

Does anyone have a recommendation for a painting class that would be appropriate for my 14 year-old? She is good at drawing and has taken classes in that, but would like to focus on improving her acrylic painting. Ideally it would be an instructor who is not too didactic, but sensitive to the best way to teach teens (ahem!). An adult class could work, too. Thanks much, Joan

I recommend checking out the Junior Center for Arts & Science for arts classes for teen.

After-school Art class for 16-year-old

Feb. 2002

My 16 year-old daughter would like to take a visual arts class (painting or drawing) outside of school. Any recommendations in or around Berkeley? Thanks Claire

Recommendations received:

  • CCAC
  • Deborah Harris

    Seeking after-school art class for 6th grader

    Dec 2002

    I have an ML King 6th grader (boy) and would like to find an after-school art class for him. Art is no longer offered to the 6th grade. What are the resources out there? Artist's mom

    Recommendations received:
  • Youth Arts Studio (2)

    Other Classes

    Feb 2002

    To the parent looking for art classes outside of the school system, try CCAC's summer program. Each class runs 2 weeks. Claymation, graphics, computer animation, drawing from life. Lynn

    May 2000

    In addition to the options mentioned in the last newsletter, there are several classes specifically for teens -- unfortunately in S.F. rather than the East Bay.

    San Francisco Parks and Rec runs a program for teens at the city darkroom at the Harvey Milk Recreation Center on Duboce Street. It runs about 2 or 2.5 hours 3 days a week, I think for 3 week sessions. There are at least 2 sessions. Easily accessible by public transportation.

    The Friends of Photography at the Ansel Adams Photography Center runs a separate program, also held at Harvey Milk, starting in late June for either 2 or 3 weeks, 3-6 pm, called High School Docents, which involves a lot of darkroom work. Both these programs are free, I believe. 415-495-7000x312

    The San Francisco Art Institute has art courses for high school students, including different levels of photography, color as well as b Four weeks, 3 hours/class, $400/class. This is a highly reputed program, also accessible by public transportation. 415-749-4554

    One sleepaway option is Idyllwild Summer Arts Program in the Southern Calif desert. It sounds incredible -- 6 hours/day, living in a teenage artist colony. I found them on the web after being recommended by some local art teachers. Two week sessions.

    Lili (5/00)