Unlike dogs, you can, in fact, teach an old human new tricks. But by old, we just mean adults of all ages, and by tricks, we mean fine, industrial and creative arts! As one of the country’s cultural and artistic hubs, the Bay Area has been producing jaw-dropping works for decades — covering everything from acrylic painting to huge welded sculpture.
A few of the experts, hobbyists and artists behind those works of art have brought it upon themselves to spread their wealth of knowledge through community arts courses. And we couldn’t be happier! Whether you’re a beginner hoping to pick up a new skill or a practiced artist looking for a way to grow, there is a place in the Bay Area perfect for you. Check out these award-winning, inspiring and fun local businesses and organizations. Then, let us know where you’re signing up!
San Francisco | East Bay | Silicon Valley | Peninsula | Marin | Wine Country
Workshop | Western Addition
1798 McAllister St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Workshop
Local teachers, makers, artists, foodies and DIYers run the show at Workshop. Offering over 50 classes, you’ll find one-time class and multi-class options covering topics like silk screening, sewing, homebrewing, terrarium design, leatherwork and more. Unique to Workshop, every class is restricted to adults 21-years-old and older. With a slogan like “Drink beer and make stuff,” you know you’re in for a good time!
1131 Mission St | Facebook
Root Division is a visual arts nonprofit working to empower artists, promote community service, inspire youth, and enrich the Bay Area through engagement in the visual arts. Founded in 2002 by three MFA graduates, the organization provides studio space for more than 130 emerging artists, youth and adult education, exhibitions and events. Through the years, they’ve facilitated approximately 1,500 adult students. Subjects cover everything from figure drawing and oil painting to photography and graphic novel construction, ranging in price from $70 to $260. See the full lineup here.
1260 7th St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of The Crucible
One of our favorite destinations for hands-on arts, The Crucible offers youth, adult and group classes in industrial arts: welding, glass blowing, blacksmithing, leatherwork and more. Sculptor Michael Sturtz first opened the doors in January 1999 and has since grown The Crucible into the largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the United States. Today, you can enroll in casual adult classes like a 3-Hour Taster or Friday Flames, a two-hour workshop ending in a glass of wine or beer. Or, opt for a five-week course, week-long workshop or private instruction for a more tailored experience. Learn more about all the options here.
1509 1/2 Webster Street | Facebook
Welcoming every age group and every skill level, Studio 1.6 offers art classes for young children, youth and adults as well as special programs like art camps, workshops, open studio time and private tutoring and portfolio preparation. Adult classes are available Wednesday and Thursday evenings and cover drawing and painting for beginners and old pros alike.
1060 Heinz Ave | Facebook
Kala Art Institute works to aid current artists and budding artists alike. They do this through Artist-in-Residence and Fellowship Programs for artists as well as exhibitions, public programs and education for the community. Inside their professional studio spaces, you can take adult classes in printmaking, painting, wood blocking, lithography, comics and even grant writing. And that’s just the short list! See all the adult classes here.
MLK Jr. Building, ASUC Student Union | Facebook
In addition to offering education for UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff, Berkeley Art Studio has open classes in ceramics, photography, drawing, painting, design and printmaking for the entire community! Welcoming students of all skill levels, you can participate in casual classes like Thursday evening Unwind at the Wheel or more intensive options like weekend workshops in photography. See the entire class schedule here.
1811 Broadway St | Facebook
This East Bay studio offers clay arts courses and studio memberships. Memberships are available for intermediate-advanced artists and provide access to Red Ox Clay Studio 365 days a year as well as a 10% discount on all retail, workshops and firing fees. If you’re still working up to intermediate level, you can take classes in wheel throwing, sculpting, skills refinement and more. See the current schedule here.
38487 Fremont Blvd | Facebook
The passionate and knowledgeable teachers at Prashanti offer classes for everyone beginning as young as 4-years-old. Their adult specific courses cover figure drawing; abstract, still, portrait, surrealism, landscape and cityscape painting in watercolor, acrylic and oil; Plein air painting and sketching; fabric painting; charcoal, pastel and pencil sketching; clay arts; wood burning; ceramics; ink art and computer graphics. Learn more about pricing and details here.
1133 Bont Ln | Facebook
In the words of Rebel Art School, they’re an art school for the rebels, the rule followers and everyone in between. In addition to spring break camps, summer camps, kids and teen classes, they offer adult courses in drawing, watercolor and acrylic painting. Sessions typically take place over the course of four weeks and are priced around $160. Check out this season’s options on the website.
425 Auzerais Ave | Facebook
Photo courtesy of School of Visual Philosophy
Founded in 2013 by local artists Yori and Dana Seeger, the School of Visual Philosophy believes art is a necessary part of life and culture and it should be an all-inclusive, holistic learning process. Through low-key, drop-in group studio sessions, introductory workshops and more intensive, multiple-session courses, they teach everything from life drawing to bladesmithing. Get all the educational details here.
San Francisco, Mountain View, San Jose and Belmont | Facebook
This Bay Area favorite offers classical art classes for kids and adults in San Francisco, Mountain View, San Jose and Belmont. Taught in a modern way, they’re approachable for children as young as four and adults at every skill level. Typically concentrating on the works and practices for specific artists, their multiple-week courses and workshops cover painting and drawing still life, perspective, silhouettes, portrait, abstract and much more. Check out all the current adult offerings and prices here.
2290 N 1st St | Facebook
Aperture Academy covers everything photography. Led by Stephen W. Oachs and a team of professional photographers, adults can take intro workshops, one-day workshops, two to four-day workshops, extreme destination workshops and classes in the Sojourn Series which include trips to Scotland, Africa, Iceland, Alaska and more! One of our local favorites is the one-day San Francisco “Night Owls” Workshop, a photographic journey of San Francisco after dark.
28 E 3rd Ave | Facebook
Art Academia is a three-time recipient of the “Best Art School in San Mateo” award which has landed it in the 2017 San Mateo Business Hall of Fame! See what all the hype is about and register yourself, your teens or your children for a class today. Ages 18 and over can participate in Plein air, painting, drawing and more. See all the age and topic options here.
1337 4th St | Facebook
San Rafael’s Art Works Downtown is a nonprofit art center offering four galleries, 27 art studios, a restaurant, a jewelers guild, a frame shop, a ceramic center, other arts organizations, 17 affordable apartments and they’re the organizer of the monthly 2nd Friday Art Walk through downtown. In addition to all that, they offer art classes for both children and adults. Amongst the lineup of special courses in photography, painting, writing, mixed media and more, you’ll find the Senior Art Workshop, a semi-monthly class free to all seniors wishing to participate! Get all the class details here.
Santa Rosa + San Rafael | Facebook
As the North Bay’s premier destination for art supplies and education, the Riley Street Art Supply in Santa Rosa has been voted the Best Art Supply Store in Sonoma County for the past 15 years! Though they offer different course schedules at each location, you’ll always find an impressive lineup of painting, drawing, calligraphy, jewelry and more. See Santa Rosa’s schedule here and San Rafael’s here.
Share your favorites
If you’ve taken a Bay Area art class, tell us about it in the comments below!