A gallery of masterpieces showcases stunningly virtuosic renderings—which are especially impressive considering they were created by kids. While fostering a friendly, cheerful atmosphere, instructors teach classical art skills to classes of up to 12 students at a time. During weekly classes, the skilled instructors demonstrate how to realistically illustrate animals, figures, and still-life scenes using traditional media. "Creativity follows mastery" is the KidsArt philosophy, so they designed the sort of program they imagine the old masters would have approved. Planting graphite sticks and paintbrushes in pupils' hands, instructors teach color mixing, show students how to break an image into its component parts, and instill necessary behaviors such as focus and patience. Programs include individualized drawing and painting lessons and special-topic workshops, such as clay sculpture, figure drawing, and Anime/cartooning.
The meaning of art may be subjective, but Mission: Renaissance believes that the basic, technical skills needed to create art are learnable, regardless of a student’s age or experience. The instructors at the studio, which was originally founded in 1975, illuminate the Gluck Method, which focuses on the classic rendering techniques that the great masters used on their first computers. The classes can accommodate students as young as 5, and they explore a number of different mediums—including charcoal, watercolors, and oils—while giving attendees the experience they need to appreciate art, as well as create it. Spread across 19 studio locations in southern California, attendance is capped at around six students per instructor, which allows them to offer artists more personalized feedback and more fitting nicknames.
Art Center for Kids' imaginative programs foster creativity, problem solving, and freedom of expression in young students with a number of hands-on animation, architecture, and sculpting activities. For three hours on seven consecutive Sundays, kiddies learn the intricacies of printmaking, robot creation, T-shirt design, or building toy cars to practice nascent parallel parking skills. Sessions challenge young artists to finish pieces using the same resources available to undergraduate art students while working alongside fellow students to complete more complex projects, such as a room-wide giant doodle masterpiece in the Big Draw class. Upon completion of the course, artists take home their works to hang on the fridge or in the family Louvre.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
As a filmmaker and photographer, Brett Carlson brings a director's instinct to all the images he shoots. He's constantly creating new visual stories as the owner of Stolen Frames Photography, where he specializes in headshot and portrait photography as well as something a little more unorthodox—the manned photo booth. At weddings, parties, and other special events, he'll set up shop in a booth where he'll capture artistic group shots that an unfeeling camera could not. He also provides props and backgrounds to add another element to these photographs and a live slideshow of these images will play during the event.
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