Classes & Workshops

The Old Town Art Center

About the Old Town Art Center

Small class sizes allow students of all skill levels to take part in any given class. Instructors provide as little or as much attention as each individual student requires. The focus is entirely on the visual arts – through drawing with pencils/charcoal and painting with oils, watercolor or pastels. The Figure Studio is open to all (for a full session or as a drop-in).  

Sessions typically begin the first week of January, the last week of March and the first week of September. Short sessions are offered in the summer and toward the end of the year. Classes are offered during the day, at night and on weekends. 


Join us for Art Classes: 10-Week Sessions, Workshops, Short Sessions and Open Studios

Art Class FAQs

  • OTTA membership is open to all
  • Up to two art classes can be made up within a ten week session
  • There are no refunds after the 1st class
  • Classes with fewer than five students may be cancelled
  • Students provide their own supplies
  • Scholarships are available – please scroll down for complete information
  • Click here to print a registration form to be mailed or delivered


Art Classes – Scroll down for Summer/Fall Workshops

Please note:  You can register for classes by visiting our secure member portal.  Membership is not required to register for art classes. If you have any questions or run into any problems please call the office at 312.337.1938. 


Figure Drawing Studio

Image by P. Renaud

Summer Session:
Mondays
| June 17 – August 19 | 12:00 – 3:00 PM | Ten Weeks

Monitor: None
Fee: $145 non-members / $140 members or $20 drop-in fee
Register Here

Fall Session:
Mondays
| September 9 – November 11 | 12:00 – 3:00 PM | Ten Weeks

Monitor: None
Fee: $145 non-members / $140 members or $20 drop-in fee
Register Here

Artists hone their skills, working directly from a live model. Beginning through advanced students are welcome to advance their figure stylings.  One hour is devoted to quick gesture poses. The focus for the remaining time will be longer poses for finished drawings and paintings. We provide drawing benches, easels, tables and boards. All media are welcome.

 


Charcoal Drawing

Vivian Visser

Fall Session:
Tuesdays
| September 17 – December 3 | 6:00 – 9:00 PM | Ten Weeks | No Class 10/15 & 11/12

Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members
Register Here

There is a unique challenge of transforming a three dimensional display of objects into a two dimensional drawing. Vivian covers composition, perspective, shading and line quality. All skill levels are welcome, with Vivian providing one-on-one instruction. Vivian offers demonstrations when it leads to a better understanding. Each still life has a theme that allows students to concentrate on specific set of challenges.

 


Oil Painting

Joe Taylor

Tuesdays |  September 10 – November 12 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Ten Weeks
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members

Register Here

Painters work one-on-one with Joe Taylor in this class. Students take on projects of their own choosing and Joe provides support in difficult areas; whether color, mass, shadows or any other technique that fails. His level of instruction is dependent on each individual student’s needs. This class is as challenging for experienced painters as it is exciting for those expanding their knowledge. 

 

 


Oil Painting 

Marie Kirk Burke

TBD |  1:30 – 4:30 PM | Six weeks
Fee: $175 non-members / $160 members

Register Here

In this class Marie creates a still life to work from. Students construct their painting focused on observations of color, light and shadows. Marie guides your progress from a sketch to a beautiful finished painting; learning about composition, color, color mixing, light, shadow and how they all relate along the way. Beginners are welcome.


Pastel Painting

Kathleen Newman

Wednesdays | September 25 – December 4 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Nine Weeks | No Classes 10/9 & 11/27
Fee: $250 non-members / $235 members

Register Here

Kathleen emphasizes the importance of design and value structure, with an emphasis on developing form through light and shadow. Learn to edit information from photos to strengthen compositions. Explore drawing, proportion, and color through direct observation of a still life or a photo. Kathleen demonstrates her pastel techniques, including toning backgrounds, on a variety of surfaces. Prior pastel experience is not necessary, but basic drawing skills are helpful.

 

 


Oil Painting

Joe Taylor

Wednesdays | September 11 – November 13  | 6:30 – 9:30 PM | Ten Weeks 
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members

Register Here

Painters work one-on-one with Joe Taylor in this class. Students take on projects of their own choosing and Joe provides support in difficult areas; whether color, mass, shadows or any other technique that fails. His level of instruction is dependent on each individual student’s needs. This class is as challenging for experienced painters as it is exciting for those expanding their knowledge.  

 

 

 


Watercolor Painting

Kathleen Newman

Thursdays | September 26 – December 5 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Nine Weeks | No Classes 10/10 & 11/28
Fee: $250 non-members / $235 members

Register Here

Kathleen shares her understanding of watercolor and the skills needed to develop a personal painting style. Expect to explore different materials to improve technique and drawing skills, how to simplify design through abstract shapes and use color and light to reflect mood and emotion. Students use photo reference in a meaningful way as well as work from still life. The class includes demonstrations, critiques and plenty of one-on-one individual instruction. 


Acrylic Painting

Vivian Visser

Thursdays | September 12 – November 14 | 6:00 – 9:00 PM | 10 Weeks
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members

Register Here

Begin a new course of expression. Acrylics require a different type of discipline than oil. This class is for anyone with an interest in working with acrylics. From types of brushes, to color mixing; from still life painting to a personal project, Vivian guides students in the creation of acrylic paintings. This is a class that welcomes students at all levels with an instructor who takes every student into a new realm.

 


Watercolor Painting

Tom Francesconi

Saturdays | September 7 – December 7 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Ten Classes | No Classes 9/28, 10/12, 10/26, & 11/30
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members

Register Here

Tom’s energetic teaching style and passion for painting combine to create a class that is enjoyable and informative. Any artist looking to break free of a careful, timid painting process will find Tom’s direct and representational approach very inspirational. Within this process, students learn how to create stronger, more effective visual statements. Expect discussions and demonstrations that allow you to see how Tom approaches a work from start to finish. Ample opportunity is provided for everyone to paint with individual direction/guidance a priority. Students at every stage of experience are welcome.


Open Studios

Fridays, July 5 & 19, August 9 & 23
10 AM – 1 PM
No Instructor
$10

Open studios are available to current students and OTTA members only. 

 

 

 

 


Workshops:

 

Oil/Acrylic Painting

Roger Bole

Thursday/Friday | July 25 – July 26 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Two Classes
Fee: $100 non-members / $90 members

Register Here

The Old Town Art Center is thrilled to welcome back long-time instructor Roger Bole. His involved teaching style will reward intermediate and advanced artists. Students will complete one painting – from start to finish – in this class. As you move through composition, step by step, Roger will share some of his tips and tricks! Bring your canvas (16 x 20 or 18 x 20), your paints and be ready to paint. 

 

 


Painting the Portrait in Watercolor

Tom Francesconi

Saturday | August 17 | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM | One Class | Half-hour lunch break 
Fee: $125 non-members / $110 members

Register Here

This one-day watercolor workshop is designed to expose the student to Tom’s simplified approach to painting portraits. Tom will demonstrate his painting process from the beginning drawing to the finished painting. Rather than relying on the burdensome task of duplicating exactness, Tom endeavors to interpret the figure through an insightful and expressive painting process. Students will work from their own reference photographs. Students at every stage of experience are welcome.

 

 


Drawing Basics

Douglas David

Thursday | August 22 | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM | One Class
Fee: $125 non-members / $110 members

Register Here

This is a great class for anyone who wants to move on to oil/acrylic painting. Douglas will walk you through the basics. Whether you need a refresher or it’s the first class you have ever taken, it will make sense and provide a basic understanding of drawing principles. This class will also make your painting better! Enjoy some basic composition and general sketching for shapes and proportions, massing and simple perspective for landscape/seascape. You’ll tackle ellipses on vases, bowls and plates for floral/still lifes, point of view, contour and learn how to build a streetscape. 

The entire class is done with pencil in your notebook/sketchbook. This is a great class by itself to feel better about drawing or great to go with acrylic/oil painting classes. 

Short lunch break – but better to bring something and work right through! 

 


Large Oil Paintings Workshop

Douglas David

Friday/Saturday/Sunday | September 27 – 29 | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM | Three Classes
Fee: $350 non-members / $335 members

Register Here

This workshop will help students become comfortable with the process of painting larger canvases. Douglas delivers sound principles of painting that are an incredible foundation, and whether a beginner or a person who has never ever picked up a brush, it will make sense. The class includes interesting and memorable discussions on all the basic elements of painting, including composition, massing, building form, light and shadow, and depending on your own style, knowing when a work is finished (learning how to not overwork your painting). Douglas’ approach to painting large canvas is very simple, and he helps you walk through various steps and stages so you can manage and maneuver through larger canvases. Plan to paint and complete one large painting each day – a floral, seascape and landscape. Click here for additional information.

Short lunch break – but better to bring something and work right through! 


Painting Seascapes in Oil

Douglas David

Friday/Saturday/Sunday | October 25 – 27 | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM | Three Classes
Fee: $350 non-members / $335 members

Register Here

An incredible Workshop to teach you about painting the wave and the sea! This workshop will cover the basic principles of oil painting with regard to painting seascapes. After the basics are covered, students will start by painting a wave and several seascapes in various atmospheric conditions throughout the 3-day workshop. Each day’s demo will include simple discussions on composition, massing, building form, light and shadow, near and far, capturing and developing atmospheric distance, and depending on your own style, knowing when a work is finished (learning how to not overwork your painting). Demos and individual discussions/instruction will allow students of all skill levels to grow and develop at a rate that is to their comfort. Plan to produce several studies and at least one or two larger paintings. Click here for additional information.

Short lunch break – but better to bring something and work right through! 



Suzanne Flavin Scholarships

The Old Town Art Center offers need based financial aid through the Suzanne Flavin Scholarship Fund. Financial assistance is provided for the complete cost of a class and is offered to no more than two students for each full session – one watercolor class and another in any media. To apply, please complete the application found here or visit the OTAC (1763 N North Park Avenue) to pick up a copy.  Recipients will be announced two weeks prior to the start of the next session.