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Photograph: Courtesy Kevin TarasukPainting Lounge

The best art schools in NYC for taking a class

Start training to be the next Picasso (or just do better than stick figures) at these eight art schools in NYC

Written by
Jaime Lutz

It's hard to make it out there as an artist, especially in a city already stuffed with masterpieces. But these eight schools give you the opportunity to take fine arts classes, from painting to photography to caricature drawing (yes, really). So sign up at one of these art schools ASAP—even if you don’t become Instagram famous, at the very least you’ll finally be able to call yourself a real art fan.

Best art schools in NYC, ranked

  • Art
  • Midtown West
For more than 140 years, this school has provided art classes for both amateurs and professionals (artists as diverse as Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell and Ai Weiwei studied here) without a formal degree program. Upcoming workshops include Wood and Linoleum Block Printing, Large Scale Figure Drawing and The Art of Caricature, so you’ll have no shortage of options.
  • Things to do
  • Schools and universities
  • East Village

With classes in studio arts, graphic arts and architectural history, this storied art-and-architecture school is a great, serious-minded option for students who want to take an in-depth exploration of art. In its Collage to Painting workshop, students learn to combine several media in a single piece, and in its typeface design classes, students create their own fonts. 

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Upper East Side
This school and museum offers courses and workshops in painting, drawing, sculpture, new media, video, photography, printmaking, mixed media and even art theory and history—you can design an entire curriculum just from its classes. Teens and children, too, can find programs tailored just for them, including a summer day camp. 
  • Things to do
  • Schools and universities
  • Lower East Side
If you’re more comfortable holding a camera than picking up a paintbrush, the International Center of Photography is the art school for you. The renowned school offers classes for teens and adults on every aspect of film and digital photography, from shutter speeds to editing your images in Photoshop. There’s even a workshop on iPhone photography.
Painting Lounge
Photograph: Courtesy Kevin Tarasuk

6. Painting Lounge

Two hours of your time and just $50 are all you need for a walk-in class at this studio, which usually pre-sketches an image on canvas for students to fill in. Classes are BYOB, too, so if nerves are leaving you with artist’s block, all you have to do is take a sip. Multiple locations (212-518-1803,

  • Art
  • Upper West Side
The small classes at this Upper West Side studio mean plenty of one-on-one instruction in two-dimensional fine arts classes, which include multi-week sessions in a variety of media along with BYOB one-night classes. You can do anything from practicing sketching at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to learning techniques associated with one specific material, like oil paint. 
Brooklyn Craft Company
  • Shopping
  • Arts, crafts & hobbies
  • Greenpoint

Though this studio focuses more on the “craft” side of arts and crafts—its Cat Lady Craft Nights are particularly fun—there are also more serious art workshops you can take, including upcoming lessons on watercolors, shibori dyeing, geometric painting and loom weaving. And yes, the fact that drinking is encouraged in these classes is a plus. 

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