Young at art – Jan. 2018

Alison DeCoteau and Her son Elijah-who attends Bellowspring Elementary.


Children and families have many ways to get creative at Columbia Art Center

By Tracy Dye, January 2018

It was evening, so Abby Simcock fittingly went to work to create a sunset. Her tools of the trade were a palette knife and a spectrum of acrylic paints and gels to help create the hues she had in mind. Simcock chose a dime-sized amount of black paint, spreading it on her canvas and deepening the shade of one cloud to a rich violet.

This burst of creativity was part of the Multimedia Acrylic Painting class at Columbia Art Center, which welcomes students ages 10-14 whose skill level can be anywhere from beginning to advanced. During the six sessions, students use various mediums and gels and learn the characteristics, basic techniques and advanced image transfer techniques on various surfaces.

“I feel like I get to push my boundaries in this class,” said Simcock. “I’m always learning something new.”

The classes at Columbia Art Center are the right mix of being fun and challenging, good for children who want to explore and grow their artistic skills, as well as families who are seeking a great activity to complete together and then take home with them.

The full schedule can be found at Here are the highlights of what’s available in the coming months. For more information on any of these workshops, please contact Columbia Art Center at 410-730-0075 or

Developing Your Portfolio

Children ages 5-9 can go wild at the Wildlife Art 101 workshop, which is all about animals — from tiny insects to large mammals and everything in-between. Learn how to draw your favorites, starting with a simple pencil and progressing to other mediums such as colored pencil and acrylic paint. Sessions take place Mondays, Feb. 26-March 19, 5-6:30pm ($50 for CA members and Columbia Cardholders, $60 for non-members).

And kids ages 11-14 can develop their portfolio further with Drawing Series 201: Drawing From Observation. Using graphite and charcoal, learn technical drawing skills to assist you in observational drawing. Sessions take place Wednesdays, Jan. 17-Feb. 14, 5-7pm ($75 for CA members and Columbia Cardholders, $85 for non-members).

School’s Out

Columbia Art Center’s School’s Out Program provides exciting days of creative fun when school is out, sending kids home with cool projects. Kids ages 6-14 should pack a lunch, but they will also receive a snack and beverage later in the afternoon. Each session runs from 9am-3:30pm, with a different theme on each day. Upcoming sessions include Monday, Jan. 15; Friday, Feb 16; and Monday, Feb. 19. Please contact Columbia Art Center for each session’s topic.

For the perfect Sunday Funday, check out Super Sunday Art Workshops from 12:30-2pm. Advance registration is required. Workshops are $15 per child and $10 per additional child. Upcoming sessions are Jan. 21 (Cut Paper Shadow Boxes: Inspired By Nature, ages 9-14); Feb. 25 (Kandinsky-Inspired Tree Collage, ages 5-8); and March 18 (Metal Magic Embossed Picture and Decorative Frame, ages 9-13).

Family Fun

The second Sunday of each month brings a free Family Art Frenzy workshop from 1-3pm, where kids can experiment with mixed media. All ages are welcome; children younger than 8 must have a guardian accompanying them. Upcoming sessions are Jan. 14 (Colorful Winter Landscape); Feb. 11 (Sweet Stenciled Textured Heart); and March 11 (Crazy Pasta Sculptures).

Are you a grandparent? The intergenerational Grandparent and Grandchild Caricature Drawing Class will teach you and a child how to draw each other — using basic shapes and your imagination — and see how the face slowly comes together. Creative exercises will help you develop your technique. Sessions take place Saturdays, Feb. 10-17, 10-11:30am ($30 per pair, $10 for additional child).