The Studio Arts Department of The Smithsonian Associates has offered hands-on
art classes for over 40 years. Designed for individuals age 16 and up,
our courses cover a range of media, including Drawing, Painting, Fiber Arts,
Photography, Digital Media, Ceramics, Beading, Calligraphy, and more. For
most classes, students can come in as complete beginners, although some classes
do require more advanced knowledge of a particular medium. The goal of
each class is to help students develop their own artistic style and progress
as artists. This involves teaching new or different ways of thinking about
art, and allowing students to explore different tools and materials.
Primarily housed in the S. Dillon Ripley Center, TSA Studio Arts classes are
easily accessible and centrally located on the Mall. We offer over 200
classes and workshops per year and pride ourselves on the quality of instruction
fostered within our intimate classroom settings. Our courses and workshops
are taught by professional artists and experienced teachers, and focus on skill-building
and creative exploration. We have over 20 active instructors, as well
as special guests and visiting artists.
Our variety of course offerings keep people coming back year after year. Whether
you’re interested in diving into a new artistic medium or just want to
keep your skills honed, our diverse selection of courses varies from season
to season in order to provide refreshing opportunities to learn new mediums
and techniques. As well as offering continuing instruction, our classes
also provide a creative setting in which students can meet like-minded individuals
and make connections that extend beyond the classroom.
Courses are offered on a quarterly basis: Fall classes are announced in the August
Associate, Winter classes in the November issue, Spring in the March issue, and
Summer classes are announced in the May issue. View the latest studio arts classes by visiting our What's New? studio arts page.
the first time sketcher to the experienced artist, the Smithsonian Associates
offers a range of drawing classes suitable for students of all levels of experience. These
courses work with a variety of materials, including charcoal, pencil, and pastel. Emphasizing
the importance of line and shading in rendering an array of forms and compositions,
our drawing classes cover still-life, landscape, architectural interiors and
exteriors, portrait, and figure drawing.
on either oil painting or watercolor, our painting courses integrate lectures,
demonstrations, direct observation, and hands-on exploration in order to provide
a technical background that allows participants to discover their preferences
and develop their own style.
Smithsonian Associates offers photography classes geared towards all levels
of experience, from the occasional snapshot clicker to the darkroom expert. As
well as offering both introductory courses and open darkroom sessions, we also
have an array of special topics courses that include portraiture, landscape,
pinhole photography, on-location photography, photo-trekking around the D.C.
area, and photo theory.
quilting, and appliqué classes are all encompassed within our fiber
arts courses. The Smithsonian Associates offers beginner, refresher,
and independent project-based classes for each medium. Learn to how
to use new tools and techniques, or simply sign up to meet and sew alongside
and extensive hands-on work, our digital media classes provide in-depth instruction
helping to master camera and computer editing techniques. Topics include
controlling exposure in camera and software, editing tone and color, sharpening,
understanding resolution, and the difference between file formats. Classes
are taught at introductory and advanced levels.
on the season, the Smithsonian Associates offers a range of classes in different
media, including beading, mosaic-work, calligraphy, bookmaking, printmaking,
art history and theory, and Japanese flower arranging. These courses
are fantastic opportunities for students looking to explore new artistic outlets.