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 each individual student the amount of attention required. The focus is entirely on the visual arts – through drawing with pencils/charcoal and painting with oils, watercolor, pastels or acrylics. Figure Studio is open to all (these are drop-in classes and no advance registration is necessary).

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. Workshops are added periodically. Classes are offered during the day, at night and on weekends.  A full class schedule will return in the Fall with studios, pastels and more.

Register Now for Winter Art Classes!

Watercolor and Oil/Acrylic classes will be available for 10 weeks (unless noted otherwise) beginning in January. Registration is required. Scholarships are available. If you plan to pay for a class at the first session, please call the office (312.337.1938) to place a registration hold for the class you would like to attend – this will help us to ensure minimum/maximum attendance.

Art Class FAQs

  • OTTA membership is open to all
  • Up to two art classes can be made up within a session
  • There are no refunds after the 1st class
  • Classes with fewer than five students may be cancelled – class size is limited to sixteen students.
  • Students provide their own supplies
  • Scholarships are available – please scroll down for complete information
  • If you would prefer to pay by check or in person, please call the office (312.337.1938) to reserve your space.

Suzanne Flavin Scholarships

The Old Town Art Center offers financial aid through the Suzanne Flavin Scholarship Fund. Financial assistance is provided for the complete cost of a class and is offered for each full session – 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.


Representatives from OTTA may take photos of participants and/or their artwork during class sessions. These pictures are for OTTA use only and may be used in publications and/or website. Please notify us if you would not like photos to be taken of you.


Art Classes 

Please note:  If you have any questions or run into any problems attempting to register, please send an email to or call us at 312.337.1938.

Figure StudioPencil drawing of woman sitting down facing the side


Returns in the spring.




Beginner Drawing

Morgan Lyons

Mondays | February 6th – May 22nd | 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM | 14 Weeks
Fee: $280 non-members/$270 members – Seniors, additional $10 off with code: senior (for those 65 & better)

Drawing is a skill that can be of value to anyone. Whether you are an artist who feels held back by your drawing ability, or someone who wishes to take on a new discipline, this class is for you. The mission of this class is to provide you with a strong foundation to drawing. Throughout the 14 week course, Morgan will teach you the step by step process of copying a drawing by master draftsman, Charles Bargue. The traditional methods that you will be introduced to will help you to better see distances, lengths, angles, and the effects of light on a surface. With this kind of practice, you will start thinking in a different way and improve your sensory and motor skills. We will go back to basics; pencil on paper. You can expect patient, focused instruction from Morgan, and valuable insight to take with you outside of class. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see just how much you are capable of. *Please note that there is no class on February 28th or April 3rd.


Workshop – Color Mixing, Value Study & More

Painting of dress on a hanger with one strap off of the shoulder

Marie Kirk Burke

Tuesdays | January 31st, February 7th, 14th | 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM | 3-Day Workshop

This class is for all levels. This workshop will cover color theory, color mixing and color value. We will start with the basics creating a color wheel which will include primary secondary and tertiary colors. From there we will explore contrasting colors, harmonies and values. We will use these studies to create a simple still life at the end of this course. This workshop will work with oil paint, acrylic, and pastels and oil pastels.






Oil & Acrylic PaintingUnfocused painting of people on the street surrounded by dark buildings

Joe Taylor

Tuesdays | January 10th – March 14th |  10:00 AM – 1:00 PM  | 9 Weeks
Fee: $275 non-members – $265 Members – additional $10 off with code: senior (for those 65 or better)

*Please note that there is no class on February 28th.

Wednesdays | January 11th – March 15th | 6:30 – 9:30 PM | 10 Weeks
Fee: $300 non-members – $290 members – additional $10 off with code: senior (for those 65 & better)

Students take on projects of their own choosing. 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.


Pastel Painting

Kathleen NewmanPainting of a lake surrounded by trees

Wednesdays | January 11th – March 15th | 10 AM – 1 PM | 8 Weeks
Fee: $240 non-members – $230 members – additional $10 off with code: senior (for those 65 & better)

Master pastelist, Kathleen Newman, will demonstrate how to create inspired paintings using the beautifully expressive medium of soft pastel.  Beginning with photo reference,  she will demonstrate how to break free from details and specifics, how to simplify and use shapes of light and dark to compose meaningful paintings with color and emotion.  She will demonstrate her preferred method of toning sanded papers prior to painting and proceed to teach layering and direct painting techniques in pastel.  A supply list will be sent upon registration. *Please note that there is no class on February 1st or 8th. 



Watercolor Painting

Kathleen Newman

Thursdays | January 12th – March 16th | 10 AM – 1 PM | 8 Weeks 
Fee: $240 non-members – $230 members – additional $10 off with code: senior (for those 65 & better) 

Welcome to the fluid world of watercolor!  Kathleen’s ongoing watercolor class provides instruction for beginners and continuing students in learning the methods of watercolor application. She will provide demos and individual instruction throughout your practice of mixing color, layering color, painting wet into wet, and teaching the many ways to put the paint down on paper. Watercolor is a wonderful medium to use for sketching, journaling and creating finished paintings. We will explore it all!  A complete supply list will be sent upon registration. *Please note that there is no class on February 2nd or 9th.


Becoming Confident with Oil Paints

Morgan Lyons

Thursdays | February 9th – May 18th | 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM | 15 Weeks
Fee: $300 non-members/$290 members – Seniors, additional $10 off with code: senior (for those 65 & better)

In this class, you can expect to learn about the potential of oil paint, and why this beautiful medium has been used by some of the best artists in our history. Morgan will teach you the basics of working with oils: from making the first drawing marks, to mixing and matching colors, and to building layers to create a desired impression. The class will be attempting to copy the work of a Renaissance master: in this way you will improve your drawing skills and gain confidence in your ability to recreate what you see in paint. The class will cater to your personal artistic goals: towards the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to replicate an image of their own. The purpose of this class is to provide you with the technical painting tools that you can use to express your unique artistic voice. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see just how much you are capable of.



Watercolor Painting

Tom FrancesconiPainting of house in a yard, unfocused background

Saturdays | January 7th – March 11th | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | 10 weeks
Fee: $300 non-members – $290 members – additional $10 off with code: senior (for those 65 & better)

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 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.