9 Places to Take an Art Class
Learn painting, ceramics, stained glass and more—whatever your age or skill level—in these local studios and camps.
Feeling creative? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try your hand at drawing, painting, sculpting, knitting, printmaking, metalsmithing or some other magical medium. Creating something with your hands is not only a great way to decorate your home or make gifts for friends and family, it’s also a fantastic mood booster. We’ve rounded up some fun and engaging studios, workshops and makerspaces in Northern Virginia where you can get messy, use your right brain, and most of all, lean into the joy of creating.
With 17,000 square feet of gallery space and classrooms, plus working studios for 12 artists, Arlington Arts Center is one of the area’s largest non-federal venues for contemporary art. Classes taught by professional artists are offered year-round for amateur and seasoned participants of all ages, on topics ranging from figure drawing and portraiture to creative needlework and art as a form of wellness therapy. There’s even a “My First Portfolio” class that prompts preschoolers (with their parents or caregivers) to hone their cognitive, sensory and motor skills, as well as a love for making things. Kids can enjoy summer camps from June through August, with both in-person ($265/week) and online ($130/week) sessions available. Tuition for classes runs anywhere from $47 for a 2-hour workshop to about $300 for an 8-week session. //3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Virginia Square)
Arlington Parks & Rec offers a bevvy of art classes, workshops, and studio sessions for people of all ages and abilities. Children and youth programs focus on areas like clay sculpting, drawing and collage; an Art 101 for Kids class allows kids to experiment with a wide variety of materials and techniques. There are plenty of summer camp options for youngsters 3 and older. Themes range from Beach Party Art Camp starting at $97 to Creative Arts Camp Ceramics, a three week specialized pottery program for teens starting at $832. Creative types interested in making wearable art will enjoy instruction in jewelry fabrication and alternative stone setting, as well as sewing classes to make beautiful pieces fit for showing off. // 3501 Second St. S., Arlington (Thomas Jefferson Community Center)
Founded in 1954, this Old Town, Alexandria nonprofit provides instruction to nearly 7,000 students per year in disciplines ranging from plein air painting and sculpture to printmaking, jewelry, Asian brush painting and a whole lot more, offering classes and workshops for adults, as well as kids 5-16 (camps, too). With the arrival of the pandemic, the Art League began offering online classes in addition to its traditional studio classes. Fees typically range from $180-$275 for a once-a-week class that lasts nine weeks. The Art League also has a gallery with monthly shows and special exhibits by professional artists. Membership for professional artists is $144 per year. //105 North Union Street, Alexandria
Want to learn how to make papier-mache animals, custom-embellished sneakers, ornaments or wall art? Run by an artist/interior designer and graphic designer/photographer, ArtMellow aims to demystify the artmaking process, stressing that anyone can learn how to paint or draw. Two-hour classes range from painting for kids to an epoxy resin master class, with fees ranging from $45-$70 per 2-hour class. Adults can also kick back and indulge in BYOB sip-and-paint sessions ($55 per 2-hour session). // 1057 W. Broad St., Unit 222, Falls Church City
Offering both pottery painting and glass fusing, Clay Cafe Studios is a welcome space for creators of all ages. Ceramic pieces are pre-formed and pre-fired so that customers can get right into painting and adorning them. Prefer to do the decorating at home? Pottery and glass fusing kits are available to-go, too. For kids 6 and older, the second week of June marks the start of Clay Cafe Studio’s 12-week Claymagination Art Camp, which includes clay projects, pottery painting, mosaics and more. // 101 N. Maple Ave., Falls Church City
Launched in 2003 as a community gallery and instruction space, Falls Church Arts facilitates opportunities for local artists to exhibit, learn about and share art, with classes for students of all ages and aptitudes. The options are legion, from a 6-week watercolor painting class focusing on still lifes and landscapes ($195) to a single-session stamp-carving and printing class ($60) for students 18 and older. The gallery offers its FCArts Academy—art classes for kids 7 and older, focusing on the fundamentals—in winter, spring and summer. Classes are hands-on and limited to eight students to allow individualized instruction. Each 6-week session is $195. // 700-B W. Broad St., Falls Church City
Specializing in fiber and textile arts, TINT brings the joy of knitting, sewing, spinning and weaving to artists of all skill levels. Classes center on techniques such as Knitting 101, Visible Mending and Punch Needlework. Prices range from $75 to $200, and the instruction is best suited for teens and adults. TINT takes pride in helping new and emerging artists find the art medium that speaks to them the most. // 417 W. Broad St., Suite 100, Falls Church City
Painting doesn’t have to be serious business. At Muse, you can sip on vino and hang out with friends while finding your muse—whether your chosen subject is a beautiful landscape, a portrait of your pet or an homage to your favorite meme. With classes available almost daily ($20-$50 and up), there’s inspiration for everyone. If you’re shy about painting in the company of others, Muse offers paint-at-home kits with pre-recorded video instruction to guide you through the process. Virtual classes with live instruction are also available—and a great option for remote office teams and parties. // 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Ballston) and 2920 District Ave, Fairfax (Mosaic District)
Students arriving at this Arlington pottery studio are greeted with a warm, calming environment and a chatty, peach-faced lovebird named Maki (who is the unofficial welcoming committee). White Lotus focuses primarily on intimate, two-person classes where students can get a hands-on experience. Wheel-throwing classes are offered Wednesday and Thursday nights for $250 (per 4-week session). A “Date Night” class ($190) is available nights and weekends as a one-time pottery experience for couples. Students typically produce functional pottery such as cups, bowls, vases and teapots. So if you’re looking to make a beautiful creation that is all your own, this is the spot to do it. // 840 S. Wayne St., Arlington (Penrose)