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The best art classes in NYC

Here are the top NYC art classes for every student looking to sharpen their artistic skills, from beginner to advanced

Photograph: Courtesy of the Art Students League of New York

Have you ever wandered around the Metropolitan Museum of Art or Museum of Modern Art, taking in some of the best paintings and sculptures in New York, and thought to yourself, How can I learn to do that? Or maybe you’ve wanted to learn how to create ceramics, or silkscreen your own T-shirts and posters. Well, we’ve got the right classes for you to master all of these mediums and then some. Below are the top workshops and schools providing the best art classes in NYC for all levels in painting, photography, pottery and more.

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Best art classes in NYC


School of Visual Arts

One of the top professional art schools in the country, SVA, as it’s also known, offers dozens of continuing education courses in every imaginable subject related to contemporary art. And not just how-to classes in painting, etc: There’s also classes in art history, critical studies, video and even making art using genetic engineering!

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Kips Bay

The Art Students League of New York

One of the most venerable institutions of its type, The Art Students League of New York has been around since 1875. Some of the notable artists who have passed through there include Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell and Georgia O'Keeffe, and you can, too! Classes in painting, sculpture and drawing teach fundamentals from sketching live models to the finer points of color theory.

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Midtown West

National Academy School

Perhaps the oldest art school in the United States, the National Academy School opened in 1825, and while its storied history might suggest and emphasis on tradition, the courses offered—in every conceivable medium—are totally up to the minute.

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Painting Lounge

If a name like Painting Lounge sounds to you like a place that is totally chill, well you’re absolutely right! Painting Lounge encourages BYOB, as long as it’s not hard liquor (they even provide cups, corkscrews and a fridge to keep your brewskis cold). The classes consists of professional artists taking you through a step-by-step process of replicating a featured painting every night. It could a Picasso or a Van Gogh, but there’s no right or wrong way to paint, just a relaxed, hassle-free environment to get in touch with your artistic side. Think of it as the visual-art equivalent of karaoke.

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92nd Street Y

New York’s best-known community center is famous for its lectures, concerts and talks, but art classes are also part of the program, and include everything from art appreciation to watercolor.

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Upper East Side

The Art Studio NY

If you’re intimidated by the thought of taking art classes—even beginners art classes—in a professional art-school setting, The Art Studio NY is for you. With names like “Fear-Free Drawing 101” and “Dare To Oil Paint” the courses at The Art Studio NY live up to the credo of treating all students with “warmth and care” by offering classes open to everyone from “2 to 102.”

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Upper West Side

EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop

Robert Blackburn (1920–2003) was a legend in the world of fine-art lithography and intaglio, and the co-operative printmaking workspace he founded in 1948 continues his legacy of providing the knowledge and equipment for tackling the intricacies of traditional printmaking techniques (stone lithography, etching and engraving), even if you’re a beginner.

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BrickHouse Ceramic Art Center

It’s hard to think of making pottery without recalling that orgasmic scene between Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost. But let’s face it there is something sensual about molding wet clay as it spins around on a wheel, so if pottery is an itch you’ve got to scratch, you can’t do better than this Long Island City ceramic studio. Learn the basics of throwing, glazing and firing a pot in BrickHouse’s stress-free atmosphere, which welcomes everyone regardless of skill level.

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Long Island City

The Gowanus Print Lab

This community studio and workshop is all about teaching silk-screen printing for both fine art and design. Intro courses take you through the basics of creating stencils (both hand-cut and photo-sensitized), mixing inks and the proper methods for printing with a squeegee. The courses include specialized instruction for printing T-shirts, wallpaper and stationary, plus hi-speed printing using commercial four-color processes.

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