Two-Hour Art Class with Expert Instruction and Wine at Art Works Downtown (50% Off). Two Options Available.

San Rafael

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In a Nutshell

Students sip glasses of wine as they learn from professional and expert artists during two-hour classes

The Fine Print

Expiration varies. Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as a gift. Limit 1 per visit. Valid only for option purchased. Reservation required. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Choose Between Two Options

  • $20 for one art class with wine and an expert instructor on February 14 ($40 value)
  • $20 for one art class with wine and an expert instructor on March 14 ($40 value)

Run in conjunction with Art Works Downtown 2nd Friday Art Walk, each class runs from 5-8 p.m. and features instruction from a skilled artist. Classes are held monthly, with a new artist instructor selected for each session. Students receive two glasses of wine each.

Impressionism: A Little Light Painting

Some of the painting techniques you might practice stem from the impressionism art movement. Learn why its pretty pictures were once shocking with Groupon's introduction.

Before Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Pissarro were household names, they were anonymous by choice. In 1874, under the aegis of the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Printmakers, they launched an independent exhibition marked by works whose soft lines seemed to ripple with light and motion like canopies of leaves in wind and sun. Although it may be hard today to see anything but bright, breezy beauty in Monet’s haystacks or Mary Cassatt’s mother-daughter pairs, the style came as a shock to the art critics of the time, who were used to sober color palettes and meticulous attention to realistic detail. Now, however, the painter’s hand and materials asserted themselves on the canvas in short brushstrokes and a suggestive rather than restrictive approach to lines. Although that first exhibition included the Monet painting Impression, Sunrise, the hazy harbor scene would not have come to name the entire movement if not for one of its detractors. In a review, the critic Louis Leroy threaded a litany of complaints around the term “impressionist,” sniffing that “wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.”

Impressionism focused on naturalism, but a form of naturalism unedited by distaste for the encroachment of technology and city life. Images of landscapes, city scenes, families enjoying leisure time, and ballerinas stretching for rehearsal show affection for the messiness of earthly life. After the main movement dissolved, artists continued using many of its techniques, forming a body of emotionally vibrant work that came to be known as postimpressionism. In its informal hall of fame are such luminaries as Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne.

Art Works Downtown

Art Works Downtown's story begins about seven years before its founding. Back in the early '90s—when local businesses started closing down en masse—Phyllis Thelen got an idea. Rather than let Fourth Street go to shambles, the cultural-affairs advocate filled empty store windows with artwork to make them more attractive to passersby and bored security-camera monitors. That's when she discovered the building that would become Art Works Downtown, located on Fourth Street. Built in 1878, it was once known as Gordon's Opera House. Phyllis just knew this rundown yet beautiful building would make the perfect art center. So she and four peers founded the Art Works Downtown nonprofit organization and set to work remaking the 40,000-square-foot space into a community jewel.

They started by remodeling 13 rooms, turning them into studios for local artists to rent, and eventually opening a storefront gallery to showcase their work. Nowadays, Art Works Downtown strives to keep the heart of the area's art scene beating. The center houses 35 art studios for rent, three galleries, a café, a jewelers guild, a frame shop, a ceramic center, other arts organization, and 17 affordable apartments that help professional artists keep working. Aspiring artists of all ages, meanwhile, can attend classes, and art lovers can find inspiration by visiting constantly changing exhibits in four galleries.


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    San Rafael

    1337 4th St.

    San Rafael, California 94901

    415-451-8119

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After-work activities, from bites and brews to bowling and bottle service
For those looking to get out of the house with the ladies
Creative projects and pursuits, from beading to glass blowing