Classes for NYC kids: Visual arts

Photograph: Courtesy Amber Marlow Portraits


Animation at the Children's Museum of the Arts
For six years, Joe Vena has run CMA's media lab, where he shows would-be Matt Groenings the ins and outs of claymation, cutouts, and other two- and three-dimensional animation techniques. Vena's an old pro, but the students call the shots here, mastering essentials like script development, voice work, sound and lighting. Some of the films have even made it into the Tribeca Film Festival. Children's Museum of the Arts, 182 Lafayette St at Grand St (212-941-9198, Sept 28--Dec 21, Tue 4--5:30pm. $425, members $380. Ages 6 to 12.

Beginning Digital Photography at the JCC in Manhattan
In this weekly after-school program, shutterbug shorties learn the technical and aesthetic elements of good photography through a variety of indoor and outdoor assignments. You'll have to invest in a digital camera for your tween—but there's also a chance you'll never have to worry about red eye again. JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave between 75th and 76th Sts (646-505-4444, Sept 14--Jan 25, Tue 4:15--6:15pm. $650, members $610. Ages 8 to 10.

Bronx River Art Center
Located in a renovated warehouse on Tremont Avenue just a few blocks from the Bronx Zoo, this nonprofit specializes in ceramics, painting, digital photography and printmaking for children in grades four through 12. The center even has a cartooning class, where kids learn to create comic book characters. 1087 E Tremont St at Bronx St, Bronx (718-589-5819, $75 for ten weeks. Fall classes start in Sept and Oct; call for schedule. Ages 9 to 18.

Children's classes at Supermud Pottery Studio
The center offers sessions well suited to smaller hands, with a focus on glazing and pottery-wheel basics (instructors, of course, handle firing in the kiln). Groups of eight students work on a different project each class, from functional wares to decorative pieces. (Apparently, face masks are a perennial favorite.) Supermud Pottery Studio, 2744 Broadway between 105th and 106th Sts (212-865-9190, $360 for 12-week session. Ages 5 and up.

Filmmaking at Kids Make Movies
Elke Stappert and Heather Sinclair's soup-to-nuts workshops teach kids every step of moviemaking—complete with storyboards and production meetings—before the tiny Scorseses yell "Action!" on their own mini-film. After they're trained in Final Cut Pro and iMovie, they can edit their flick. Once they're done, it's enshrined forever on a personalized DVD. Kids Make Movies, 780 Riverside Dr at 155th St (917-650-5044, Sat 10am--noon or 2--4pm. $975 for eight-week session, four-week session $560. Ages 8 to 13.

Joan Mitchell Foundation Art Education Program
Children in grades three through 12 can pick up a paintbrush (or a pencil or clay, for that matter) and learn techniques from the pros in these free studio art classes. Sessions are held on Saturday afternoons in five locations in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. (212-524-0102, Free. Fall classes start Oct 12; call for schedule. Ages 8 to 18.

Kids at Art at Little Shop of Crafts
Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Wendy Miller directs children in age-segregated art classes to experiment with textures and use their imagination. "The kids do everything—drawing, painting, papier-mch," says Miller, who used to run her own greeting card company. Little Shop of Crafts doubles as a gallery for her students' pieces, but Miller finds that many class members can't bear to part with their masterpieces for even a little while. Little Shop of Crafts, 431 E 73rd St between First and York Aves (212-410-9780, Sept 13--Dec 22, times vary by age group. $525, before Aug 27 $470. Ages 2 to 11.

Manga at HiArt!
In Manga Madness, illustrator Yali Lin (Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet: Manga Edition) leads kids with a yen for Japanese comic books through the fundamentals, covering figure drawing, plotting and page design. On Saturdays, HiArt! offers Zoe's Mangathon, an intro to the kid-friendly Japanese manga of the 1960s. HiArt!, 227 W 29 St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (917-318-9499, Starts third week in September. Manga Madness: Mon 4:30--5:15pm or Wed 4:30--5:45pm; $800 for ten weeks. Zoe's Mangathon: Sat 1--2pm; $450 for ten weeks. Ages 6 to 14.


Fashion Design Studio at the JCC in Manhattan
Designer Erik Landgren is known for his offbeat hats and handbags for grown-ups, but at the JCC he shows young'uns how to design haberdashery, jewelry and T-shirts of their own, using different fabrics and trims, buttons and decorative flair. In addition to learning the basics of hand-sewing, students get to take home whatever they make. JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave between 75th and 76th Sts (646-505-4444, Sept 13--Jan 24, Mon 4:30--6pm. $720 for 16 sessions, members $610. Ages 8 to 10.

Fiber Arts at Loop of the Loom
When she invented her Saori handweaving technique in 1969, Misao Jo intended to break free from the constraints of traditional weaving. The result? A pattern-free, improv-based program that welcomes weavers of all skill levels to create without fear of messing up. After a quick loom tutorial, even tots who have no prior experience can start forming one-of-a-kind tapestries, clothing and accessories. Loop of the Loom, 227 E 87th St between Second and Third Aves (212-722-2686, Sept 13--Nov 1, Tue--Fri 4--5:30pm. $300 for eight weeks. Ages 7 to 14.

Kids' Club at Knitty City
Knitting got cool years ago, and now your little one can purl with the very best of them. At the end of their monthlong course (taught by instructors Sara Gelman and Kate Schlienben), students will have completed a personal project—a hat, purse or even a jacket for their favorite teddy bear. Knitty City, 208 W 79th St at Broadway (212-787-5896, Mon 3:30--4:30pm or Thu 3:45--4:45pm beginning in October. Four sessions $100. Ages 7 to 11.