There’s been a deluge of holiday commercials on TV for weeks now, embedding jingles in the minds of viewers along with a pointed message: spend money. 'Tis the season! Yes, even if it’s disguised as a Wes Anderson movie, the motivation is still the same. But in spite of the one-day-sale fear mongering, presents for your loved ones exist beyond department stores and Amazon deals. Shopping local is encouraged of course and gifts don’t even have to be tangible -- with the assortment of art classes in the Bay Area, there’s a workshop or studio for every budding artist on your holiday list. With that, here are five hubs in Marin offering a variety of creative outlets and growth opportunities.
Art Works Downtown
Located on San Rafael’s liveliest thoroughfare, this 40,000-sq. ft behemoth on Fourth Street is a truly comprehensive art space. Featuring four galleries, hundreds of art studios, a frame shop, restaurant and more, Art Works Downtown showcases new exhibits, events and classes every month. Classes are available for both kids and adults and include painting, ceramics, drawing, photography and mixed media. Prices start at $40 per painting class and go up to $240 for a month of weekly ceramics sessions. Additionally, Art Works Downtown is at the center of San Rafael’s monthly Second Fridays Art Walk. Registration forms can be downloaded online.
Marin Museum of Contemporary Art
The classes at MarinMOCA include drawing, sculpture and painting as well as ceramics, mixed media workshops and abstract sewing among others. Located at Hamilton Field in Novato, admission to the museum is free of cost and many classes are almost as affordable. For as little as $15, students can drop in on a draped figure drawing session, or use the space for to create ceramic sculptures. Museum members at the contributor level and above score an even sweeter deal with a 15 percent discount on all classes and workshops. For the more committed artist, MarinMOCA also hosts one day workshops that delve into disciplines like painting and hand monoprinting. Registration forms can be downloaded online.
Masterworks Kids Art Studio
For nearly 20 years, this Corte Madera studio has educated young artists using a multi-pronged approach. Led by Lisa Jones, a professional illustrator and fine art painter, the classes also involve both standard art and a cultural context element. Depending on the level on investment, students age 6 to 14 may attend Saturday workshops that cost $35, take part in half day holiday camps, or enroll in the year round program. The winter session, which covers the Impressionists, begins in January, continues until March and costs $420. Masterworks Kids Art Studio also hosts themed art parties. Parents may enroll children online.
O’Hanlon Center of the Arts
Started by Ann and Richard "Dick" O’Hanlon in 1969, O’Hanlon Center of the Arts in Mill Valley was known as Sight & Insight Art Center until 2004. The artist couple — Ann founded the art department at the Dominican University of California and Dick was a teacher and lifelong sculptor — owned a large plot at the base of Mount Tam which they turned into a creative stronghold that is still operating today. Programs cover visual, literary and performing arts, meditation, classes for the family and wabi sabi. Prices range but oftentimes members receive discount. An upcoming watercolor workshop costs $35, while $225 pays for a five-week sewing lab. Enrollment instructions vary per course.
Studio 4 Art
With holiday-themed family workshops like ceramic platter making, locations in Mill Valley and Novato and many classes offered off-site, Studio 4 Art covers a lot of land. Founded in 2000 by Kebby McInroy -- an artist whose experience includes clothing design, oil drafting and a background in early childhood education -- this family-owned business has been helping kids aged 2 to 15 develop creative thinking and problem solving skills through art. Class topics range from staples like drawing and painting, but some of the curriculum also involves history and science, such as an art + science STEAM course that has students working with clay, recycled material and other mediums to see how the two subjects are connected. Prices vary with certain workshops starting at $22, to $274 for 2 months of of clay, ceramics, pottery sessions. Parents may enroll children online.