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 – no class is larger than 10 students per Chicago guidelines. 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 or pastels. 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.  

Limited Fall offerings available now. 

The Old Town Art Center will offer classes at half the normal capacity, in keeping with CDC, State and City guidelines. Only one class will take place per day. The Center will be thoroughly cleaned after each class. Students must wear masks and maintain proper distancing at all times. Sanitizing stations will be provided. We do request that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to refrain from attending class/visiting the Center. 

Fall classes are offered for 10 and 5 week sessions, note the timelines listed below. Registration is required. Scholarships are available. If you plan to pay for 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 ten-week session
  • There are no refunds after the 1st class
  • Classes with fewer than five students may be cancelled – class size is limited to ten students. (Note: if the City of Chicago Department of Public Health changes the guidelines, we will follow whatever they recommend.)
  • 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 

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 send an email to  

Figure Drawing Studio

Image by P. Renaud

Mondays | September 14 – November 23 | 12:00 – 3:00 PM | Ten Weeks 
No Class: November 2
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.




Oil Painting

Joe Taylor

Tuesdays |  September 8 – November 17  |  10:00 AM – 1:00 PM  |  Ten Weeks
No Class: November 3
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members

Register Here 

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 Newman

Wednesday | October 28 – December 2 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Five Weeks (No class Nov 25)
This class will be offered on-line to current pastel students only.
Fee: $140 non-members / $130 members

Register Here

Kathleen will provide a demo/slide show covering a specific pastel technique or approach. Students will have their easels set up and paint along during the class or work on their own. Afterwards, Kathy will take a 5/10 minute break from the computer and then set up “office hours” for individual sessions concerning your own work, focus, etc. She will determine a fair amount of time for each and you will have a number when you sign in to the class, so everyone will have a turn. Others can listen in to the critiques if they would like, everyone learns from everyone else, or you can work on the assignment or your own individual work. 


Acrylics – Drawing to Painting

Vivian Visser

Wednesdays | September 23 – December 2  | 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM | 10 Weeks (No class Nov 25)
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members

Thursdays | September 24 – December 3  | 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM | 10 Weeks (No class Nov 26)
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members

Register Here

Begin a new course of expression. This workshop encourages students to interact by exchanging ideas, visions, and knowledge about art. Vivian will take everyone through the basics of using acrylic paint as a medium. You will learn about techniques, styles, and composition. In addition, color-mixing, paint application, brush strokes, tools and more will be discussed in this workshop.  Everyone is welcome.


Oil Painting 

Marie Kirk Burke

Wednesdays | No Summer Schedule  |  1:30 – 4:30 PM | Eight weeks
Fee: $215 non-members / $200 members


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.


 Oil Painting

Joe Taylor

Wednesdays | September 9 – November 11 | 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

Thursday | October 22 – November 19 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Fee: $140 non-members / $130 members
Note: Due to capacity restrictions, no new students will be allowed at this time. 

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. 


Watercolor Painting

Tom Francesconi

Saturdays | No Fall Schedule  | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | 
Fee: $275 non-members / $260 members


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.


Open Studios

Fridays No Fall Schedule  | 10 AM – 1 PM
No Instructor

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





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.