Art Making

Trial Classes vs. Class Pack

Our parents always encouraged us to explore our interests.  Though they did require us to finish what we started each year, we were allowed to try something new if we wanted to.  From horseback riding to basketball, from cheerleading to mock trial, from dancing to even a beauty pageant, nothing was off limits.  It is with that adventurous and exploratory spirit that we wanted to give the opportunity to those looking to try out one of our classes before committing to the 6-wk class pack!

From August 20th  to September 7th, we will have our regular classes available at the Class Pack price but you can come to one or more of them!  Of course, you’re welcome to come to all 3 as well :) This way, you can see which class is the best fit for you and your family’s schedule.

Trial Classes will be the same as our Class Pack classes in structure.  Mini Makers is a great for siblings and our youngest artists (10mo-4yrs).  After free draw, we read a book, and create a multi-step project based off of the book’s visuals or concept.  At the end of class, students get to move to the mat for sensory play. In Petite Painters, 2-3yrs, students also read a book after free draw and complete a more complex project that takes most of the class.  The end of class is a sensory bin or playdough at the table. For both Mini Makers and Petite Painters, an adult accompanies the artists.

We have many after school options such as our Awesome Artists, ages 3-5yrs., where we typically read a book and create a project or two based off of an aspect of the book.  With Explorers and Creators, we lead students through projects that incorporate various mediums, art history, art elements and principles of design. The goal in these courses is to have a balance of education, success and art making exploration for our elementary and middle school aged students.  Our Portfolio Building Classes (Middle & High School as well as 3rd-5th Grade) are semi-private lessons, with max of 6 students and each student working on individualized projects to building personal portfolios. The teacher gets to know the students’ interests, abilities and goals so they can have more personalized success.

We are excited to be able to offer trial classes this year.  However, if you know your little artist wants to take weekly classes, go ahead and purchase the Class Pack to reserve your seat before it fills up.  You can also purchase all 3 of the trial classes to begin your weekly routine before the class packs begin!

Back to School Excitement

Remember the smell of new pencils and paper? We do! And it doesn’t matter how old we get - that back-to-school feeling doesn’t go away. In the movie You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan exhibits exactly how we feel with presented with a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. While everyone else celebrates the new year on January 1, we, as teachers, mark the new year each August.  There is just something about new supplies and the opportunity for new experiences that gives us a giddy feeling about starting a new school year.

There’s an optimistic feeling of wonder with what the new year will bring.  New year, new grade, possibly new school, new peers or students, new teachers, and so on - there is a lot of promise in all that new stuff!  It is just as exciting coming off of an amazing summer of camps and classes filled with amazing kids, some old and some new to the studio. As adults, we see now that it is just as exciting for teachers and grown ups too. We can’t wait to see who’s going to be in our classes this year and greet new and old students alike!

A new school year is a fresh start with a clean room, organized lesson plans, and high energy. It’s the kick off to all the new holidays, sports and fun things to come this year. Routines are back and we get to develop deeper relationships with our students.  Though everyone has moments throughout the year where the next break or day off can’t arrive soon enough, nothing beats the back-to-school feeling.

As we wrap up camps over the next three weeks, we will be behind the scenes purchasing new supplies and making plans for our Fall classes. It is never too early to decide which class works best for you and your family and we hope you find a day and time that works for you. August 20th through September 7th are our “trial class” weeks and that is a perfect time to give a class a try.  

For those who know which class they’d like to join, Class Packs are currently available and begin the week of September 10th though we encourage you to purchase the trial classes that fit in your schedule as well when you are ready to start your school year routine. We understand that our schools run on different schedules and we wanted to give everyone a chance to ease into theirs. We are jumping with joy thinking about our new and old students coming in to get started and we hope we get to see you too!

Structured for Creative Freedom

Artists are often portrayed as messy, eccentric, edgy, and sometimes a little crazy.  Like many stereotypes, it may only encompass a few artists. Art classes draw a variety of personalities and artistic approaches.  Some people are detail-oriented perfectionists while others tend to wing it a little more. One of our pedagogical beliefs at Little Art House is that having structure allows for more creative freedom for all processes of creating.  

As the teacher, we try to think of as many choices, obstacles, and creative ideas as possible so we can present a project to students in a way that they can feel successful as they’re creating.  One of the best parts of teaching this way is when students are given space to imagine, explore, and create in their own process, we also learn of new ways to see, consider, and create as well.

For example, one of our classes that highlights this approach is our Portfolio Building Class.  In these classes, students in 3rd-5th Grade, Middle School, and High School are guided through creating their own individualized works of art.  Each new student begins by completing a survey to provide us with information about his or her personal interests for mediums and subject matters as well as any struggles or areas they’d like to tackle.  As AP and IB art teachers, we thrive in this setting and love the challenge of helping young artists determine their vision and hone their craft.

The structure behind our teaching process allows for each student to work in the direction that best suits where they are as an artist and a person.  Each time a student begins a new project, we discuss what medium or subject matter they’d like to try next and why. We encourage students to try new things and venture out of their comfort zones, or offer an idea where they are likely to find fun and success again if that’s more important.  It all depends on the student and their unique experiences and goals.

While each student is different, community-oriented artmaking really surpasses any variation in where they are artistically and personally, and tends to drive everyone regardless of skill level. We value that interaction between different ages and personalities. As we begin this school year, we look forward to meeting our new students, greeting our returning students, and beginning the school year rooted in creativity!

Portfolio Building Classes are available by Class Packs only and are limited to 6 kids a class!  If you'd like to try a class before Session I begins the week of September 10th, be sure to sign up for one or all the trial classes (August 20-September 7th).  You can purchase the trial class and/or the class pack here for 3rd-5th Grade and here for 6th-12th Grade :)  These are a few of our most popular classes so be sure to reserve your spot while there's still space!

 

Related Arts

The term “Related Arts” is familiar to most people.  It usually encompasses subject matter like visual art, music, gym, perhaps theater, and occasionally a foreign language. These classes are typically lumped together in a school schedule as the special classes that are attended once or twice a week or, when you’re in high school, for a semester or two typically.  We know these classes have value yet they tend to receive the least amount of time in a school schedule.

There are countless articles and podcasts discussing the importance of the arts, exercise, and foreign language in schools.  While we may not have the influence to change how schools design their programs, we bare this in mind with our schedule and are determined to provide an interdisciplinary approach whenever we can. While Little Art House is an art studio first and foremost, we would be mistaken to think visual art is best created independently.

Much, if not all, of the most notorious artwork was created in conjunction with other arts, inspired by other places or utilize other areas of knowledge and education.  What kind of art would Kandinksy have created without listening to Schoenberg? What colors would Van Gogh’s The Night Cafe have had he not been inspired by the lyrical French language in the background while he painted in Arle, France?  How would Da Vinci’s portraits been different if he didn’t use a grid as a technique for drawing? The arts and core education subjects are intrinsically related and that should be celebrated and fostered.

Throughout this summer and fall, we’ve made a conscious effort to incorporate more interdisciplinary opportunities in our schedule.  We met a wonderful woman, Jessica, who is a writer and loves to spark the joy of writing in children. We planned our Creative Writing and Art Camp (July 30-August 3, 4th-8th Graders) for children who want to explore writing and artmaking together through imagining, exploring, and creating rather than strictly learning.  We want our children to play and see how an idea can grow into a story and a story into imagery.

For our younger learners, we are bringing in Kacey to introduce music as well as music related to art.  Her classes will begin with our fall quarter (late August) and will span ages 1 to 6 years old. Our kiddos can dance, drum, and sing. On Fridays, in the Artistic Musicians class, students can see how art and music go together.  

Just last week, we worked with Savvy from Vanderbilt University to teach kids how ratios and fractions are utilized in artmaking.  From using a grid for drawing to considering the Rule of Thirds when deciding on composition, there are so many ways math is utilized in art making.

The approach to connecting various subjects allows students who may struggle with some of the general education subjects to have a new way to understand the subject.  We love to see how we can relate art to all areas of imagining, exploring and creating. It is amazing how you can think outside of the box when making these type of connections!

 

Little with Great Intention

The word “little” is one of the most meaningful parts of why we chose to name our studio Little Art House. We have chosen smaller locations for our classes and camps in order to create a space that feels comfortable, personal, and private like the studios in our homes.  From the room at University School of Nashville where we host summer camps, to our space on Music Row, to our amazing studio in Hillsboro Village, our goal is to always have a warm and inviting environment.

Another reason we keep “little” in mind is the difficulty of being brave in a large group.  In a smaller group, our students feel like they can imagine, explore and create with less pressure.  Small groups are equally important in order for every participant to get solid feedback and guidance from the teacher during each class.  We love getting to know our students in weekly classes as well as adult classes for a few hours.  It allows us to ensure the experience and lesson is as enjoyable as possible for each student.

These smaller groups are also perfect for bringing in artists with unique mediums or processes.  Some artists are not experienced in teaching and others practice artmaking that is quite complicated.  With smaller groups, artists can get to know those in the class and really dig into their process with each student.   It is always exciting to have artists come and share their process in our studio with adult classes!

 

Where It All Began

We are asked all the time how and why we started Little Art House. The short answer: every person is an artist and art enhances our lives! The longer answer involves our memories of childhood, personal school experiences, and career choices along the way.

Teaching art in Nashville public schools was an amazing experience for both of us.  Each year, we enjoyed getting to know nearly 180 students from all sorts of backgrounds and showing them all the wonderful things about art.  We also enjoyed the opportunities for our students at the inspiring art institutions we have in Nashville like Cheekwood and the Frist Center for Visual Arts.  After we both spent time teaching extracurricular art classes outside the school system that we realized Nashville was missing something: Little Art House!

Our biggest inspiration came from classes our mom used to host in the fellowship hall of a church around the corner from our house. The projects she planned were always colorful, imaginative, and fun - all characteristics of a great lesson that we try to keep in mind when we plan our lessons now. Oversized paper mache flowers we created in those classes still hang in the upstairs hallway of our childhood home, and seeing them takes us back to those early days. Over the holidays a few years ago, those flowers sparked a conversation between us and we realized Nashville had a need for classes like our mom’s: small classes with a focus on exploring, imagining, and creating where every participant can succeed. Both of us had spent years teaching in various public school classrooms and other art studios, but none of them provided the same feeling we had growing up. We knew we wanted to create a place where kids and adults alike could feel the magic we did in our mom’s classes.

Though we’re not in a house, we intentionally choose small spaces, first on Music Row and now in Hillsboro Village.  Small classes are important in order for every participant to get to work directly with the teacher.  Everyday we get so excited to plan projects with exploration and imagination in mind just like our mom planned for us. And we love finding fellow artists with similar mindsets to come and teach our adult classes.  It is such a joy to have a full schedule for artists of all ages to create in what we hope is a safe and inspiring space.

Art Making for All Ages

While we were growing up, our parents always encouraged Leighton and me to do what we love and follow our interests.  Like many kids, we changed our minds about that constantly.  Who knew exploring all the choices available to us would lead us to own and manage a business together?  

Little Art House is truly a family business: run by sisters and inspired by our mom.  Teaching is in our blood and that’s what we pursued for years while teaching art in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms.  After we both gained experience teaching art outside the classroom setting, we found a whole new way for connecting, teaching and learning within our community.  We believe that art is for everyone so our mission is to empower and educate the artist in everyone.  

Little Art House is unique because we offer consistent, personalized instruction to artists of all ages who are curious about art, and looking for opportunities to learn and be inspired.  We keep our classes small because, as Matisse says, “Creativity takes courage” and we want to honor the spirit of risk-taking to create by providing a safe, personalized space.  When we dive into the creative process by imagining, exploring, and creating, we open ourselves up to vulnerabilities and discoveries.  The creative process is praised, encouraged, and nurtured at Little Art House so we can all continue to improve our art making and problem solving skills while enjoying our creative community.