9 amazing Bay Area art classes and workshops for adults


It’s easy enough to find art classes for kids around the Bay Area, but we adults want to get artsy, too. So here’s a sampling of art studios offering unexpectedly amazing classes and workshops for grown-ups in everything from printmaking and ceramics to mosaics, blacksmithing and latte art.

Arts Benicia

For decades, this nonprofit arts center has provided space for artists to work and exhibit at Benicia’s historic Arsenal. Now headquartered in the Commanding Officer’s Quarters, the center offers online and in-person exhibits and workshops for all ages, in everything from drawing and painting to ceramics, jewelry making and paper marbling.

Try a class: Intrigued by East Asian art and one of the oldest forms of printmaking? Try an introductory printmaking course (July 24, $165 for the course, plus $20 materials), where you’ll learn to prepare and carve a woodblock and make your own black and white or color prints.

Details: Arts Benicia Annex, 991 Tyler St., #116 in Benicia; artsbenicia.org

School of Visual Philosophy

This family-owned art studio, creative community and artist incubator in the heart of Silicon Valley is dedicated to helping people get creative. The 13,000-square-foot studio has tools and equipment for everything from watercolor to screen printing, ceramics and welding.

Try a class: Curious about life in medieval times? This blacksmithing basics workshop (July 31, $150) will teach you everything you want to know about hand forging and steel work, so you can step back into history … and turn a stick of metal into a horseshoe. Or a bottle opener.

Details: 1065 The Alameda in San Jose; visualphilosophystudio.com

Studio 9 Mosaics

The nine mosaic artists who share this Oakland studio offer classes, workshops and studio time to members of the public, too. The classes center around glasswork, but incorporate other art forms to create mixed-media projects such as stepping stones and mandalas.

Try a class: Take a weekend-long introductory glass mosaic workshop (July 23-24, $200) and create a colorful, 8-inch square glass and tile mosaic. The course covers everything from substrate preparation to design, tools and grout.

Details: 2020 Dennison St., Suite 9, in Oakland; studio9mosaics.com

Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center

This volunteer-run organization offers hands-on workshops, special exhibits and cultural events for all ages. The center’s art classes let adults get messy and creative in the ceramics studio overlooking the San Lorenzo River.

Try a class: Get your hands dirty with a Marvels of Mud workshop in six sessions this August ($150 plus $20 materials), where beginner and intermediate clay enthusiasts can create sculptures, planters and spirit animal totems.

Details: 9341 Mill St. in Ben Lomond; mountainartcenter.org

The Crucible

The largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the U.S. hosts classes in 19 different art specialties, from leather working to wood turning, welding, glass and fire arts.

Try a class: Everyone has a random shot glass stashed in the back of the cupboard. But not many can say they made their own. Take the Crucible’s two-day shot glass class (Aug. 18 and 15 or Sept. 11 and 18, $380), and you’ll learn to gather, color and shape hot glass — and then use it for a spirits tasting.

Details: 1260 Seventh St. in Oakland; thecrucible.org

Higher Fire Clayspace & Gallery

This community-based pottery studio in the heart of San Jose’s SoFA district offers weekly clay classes and visiting artist workshops as well as a gallery of handmade pottery and sculpture.

Try a class: A “Take a Spin” workshop teaches beginners to work with clay on a mini pottery wheel. You’ll make two pieces during the two-hour class (July 31, $99), which includes your choice of 15 glaze colors and firing for your pieces.

Details: 499 S. Market St. in San Jose; higherfirestudios.com

Kala Art Institute, Berkeley

Founded in 1974, this art-making hub offers online and in-person classes on printmaking, digital media, photography and book arts as part of its mission to support artists and sustain their creative work.

Try a class: Looking to learn something different, something mysterious? This book making workshop (July 30, $125 plus $15 materials) will teach you how to make a piano-hinge book with an unexpected secret compartment. What’s hidden inside? It could be the answer to a riddle or the alternative ending to your book — you decide.

The details: 2990 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley; kala.org

Jiaren Cafe, Santa Clara

This isn’t so much an art studio as it is a woman-owned, nonprofit cafe that specializes in espresso and matcha drinks — and hosts art and yoga classes to build community, have fun and learn something new and delicious.

Try a class: We’ve all seen those extremely Instagrammable cups of coffee with cute heart and flower designs in the foam. It’s an impressive barista talent — and it can be your talent, too. The cafe offers latte art classes ($70) several times per week.

Details: 1171 Homestead Road #140B in Santa Clara; jiarencafe.com/latteartclass


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