A welcoming place to try your hand at art.
If you find the idea of forming a lump of clay into something that resembles a pot intimidating, you are not alone. Most Studio School newcomers are nervous during their first class, says director Anna Cox, whether it’s in ceramics, drawing, painting, writing or the fiber arts.
“These are all classes that are geared towards utter beginners,” said Cox. “I’ve kind of made it my mission to make people feel comfortable here.”
Housed in a former lightbulb factory, located behind the Oklahoma Contemporary museum at 11 NW 11th St. in OKC, Studio School offers a rotating schedule of art classes for adults. Cox encourages students — people of all ages, many of whom are successful professionals — to leave any notions of perfectionism at the door.
“I think people get on YouTube, TikTok or Instagram and they see artists making things and they think that it should be quick and easy — and you should get it right the first time. But, I mean, that’s not indicative of what an artist’s process actually is. It’s really the opposite of that,” she said.
Studio School classes come in all shapes and sizes. There are quick, one-and-done classes like “Date Night on the Wheel” where couples spend a few hours creating a piece together, inspired by scenes from the movie Ghost. For more in-depth instruction, Studio School also holds four- and eight-week sessions. Area partnerships often bring live animals, locally sourced wool (from Mollie Spencer Farm) or baked treats (from Quincy Bake Shop) into the curriculum mix. Watercolor painting and sewing instruction are popular choices, and ceramics — Studio School’s flagship program — often has a waitlist.
Ceramics instructor David Stevens says he is thrilled about the opportunity Studio School creates, an opportunity he says didn’t exist in the community even five years ago. Personally, he is eager for everyone to learn about working with clay.
“I’m all about education,” Stevens said. “I’m gonna give you all the knowledge I have. You’re not going to absorb it all — but I’m going to give it to you, because if you can understand this material, you can do anything you want with it. That’s my goal.”
Though it may seem intimidating at first, students soon realize that Studio School is a friendly, laid-back community. It’s a place where people can come, create and “be themselves,” according to Cox.
“I want people to know that they’re welcome here, that we don’t expect anybody to have any kind of skill and that it’s a very judgment-free space,” Cox said. “We’re here when people are ready, when people feel like they want to do something like this. We’re going to hold space for you.”
For current course offerings, go to oklahomacontemporary.org/learn/studio-school.