The New York painting scene spans a world of styles, locations, skill levels and prices. There are courses for every level, from enthusiasts to professionals. Many options feature small classes, and several have special summer programs. Here are some of the best options if you're looking to take an art class in New York City:
The Art Students League
215 W. 57th St. (between Seventh Ave. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10019
Since 1875, the League, with headquarters on W. 57th St. in Manhattan, has offered classes to all manner of painters, from beginners to luminaries. It has over 130 courses, with some 80 instructors. There are no entrance requirements or exams and you can start at any time. The Art Students League is famous for its life classes with live models. Classes are held in morning, afternoon and evening sessions. There are Saturday and Sunday classes as well.
New York Studio School Of Drawing, Painting And Sculpture
8 W. 8th St.
New York, NY 10011
This Greenwich Village institution is noted for its marathons — day-long intensive sessions that run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The school also has an MFA program and certificate programs. Evening and Saturday programs welcome those who may not want to commit to a full-time enrollment. The school has an application process that, in some cases, requires essays and portfolios.
National Academy Museum
1083 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10128
The National Academy has small classes and workshops for beginning as well as advanced students. Its programs may have a specialized focus, such as painting models in costume and emphasizing facial features, so you can focus in on learning or improving some more specific techniques. Courses may be semester length. If you are looking for less of a commitment, there are also workshops lasting just a few days. Classes are held during the day and in the evening
The Art Studio New York
45 W. 96th St. Suite 1b
New York, NY 10025
This organization features courses for novices in painting. One, called "Dare to Oil Paint," explores the materials as well as techniques in painting. Another is a "crash course" in mixed media. Many courses are in the evening and run from one to eight sessions, each focusing on self-expression.
Bridgewater School of Fine Arts
10 - 27 46 Ave, 2nd floor
Long Island City NY 11101
Bridgewater teaches what it calls the "time-tested classical techniques of the Russian Academy." Several figure painting courses are held at the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan, while landscape lessons may take place outdoors around New York. No prior painting experience is required for beginner-level courses, but drawing experience is recommended prior to enrolling or in conjunction with them. Bridgewater runs classes on a semester schedule — summer, fall, winter and spring.
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Grace Lichtenstein is an author and former New York Times reporter. She writes principally about books, music and sports. She contributes to the Washington Post, NYCityWoman.com, Aspen Magazine and other publications. She is a board member of Bike New York, as well as a member of the Authors Guild and the National Book Critics Circle.
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