Breaking out the serious tools for a blacksmithing class at Mesa Arts Center.
Breaking out the serious tools for a blacksmithing class at Mesa Arts Center.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

10 Cool Art Classes in Metro Phoenix

Figuring there's at least a bit of artist in all of us, we went in search of some of the coolest beginning art classes and workshops for adults in metro Phoenix -- and found a little something for everyone, from blacksmithing to printmaking. We appreciate the lure of affordable options, but suspect some of you wouldn't mind splurging on the fine art of forensic facial reconstruction at Scottsdale Artists' School or glassblowing at Mesa Arts Center. For artists, we've got news of several places with classes for upping your entrepreneurial game.

See also: Arizona Commission on the Arts Grants Fund 13 Innovative Projects

Shrinky Dinks Jewelry

One of our favorites costs just $5 and takes only an hour of your time, but it's a chance to work alongside artist Kyllan Maney -- best known to many for collaborations with Lauren Lee that include mural art at Mesa Urban Garden. Turns out Mesa Arts Center does a variety of "Spark Studio Sampler" workshops to help folks get a flavor for their art class offerings -- and Maney is doing two "Shrinky Dink Jewelry with Kyllan" workshops for Mesa Arts Center in March. We figure if anyone can bring the fine art to Shrinky Dinks, she's the one.

Mastering Photography

Photographer Stephen Gittins, founder of a working photography studio and gallery called Capture 12 in Roosevelt Row, launches a five-week "Winter Series" on Saturday, February 21. The first three sessions cover basics, composition, and lighting. The fourth week is a "night crawl" that gives students a chance to use their new skills in urban Phoenix settings, and the final week is focused on critique.

More fun with blacksmithing on the Mesa Arts Center campus.
More fun with blacksmithing on the Mesa Arts Center campus.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Blacksmithing: Shield Building

Bring out your inner superhero by learning a bit of the ancient art of shield making. During a weekend workshop starting the end of January at Mesa Arts Center, you can build yourself a classic wooden round shield. Samuel Troxell will teach participants basic blacksmithing and woodworking technique, and how to connect steel to wood. Alas, the sword-making class is sold out this time around, but perhaps it's best to put the shield before the sword.

The D-I-Y Interior Design Process

Maybe you're keen on helping your friends decorate, but find they're oddly unappreciative of your design skills or aesthetic. Do them a favor, and check out the do-it-yourself interior design class at Shemer Art Center. The four-session class with Mackenzie Collier starts January 28, and we're thinking it might be especially fun for those of you with a thing for sharing design inspirations and achievements via Instagram.

Mobile Photography

Now that smart phones have become a camera of choice for snapshot enthusiasts, there's a photography workshop at Mesa Arts Center dedicated to teaching folks how to make the most of using their iPhones, iPads, and Android devices for taking pictures. The six week workshop with Jaime Glasser starts on Thursday, January 29. It's an especially nifty choice now that more art venues, including the Phoenix Art Museum, are starting to encourage social photography in some exhibit spaces. But let's be clear: blocking others' views at concerts and such to snap pics with your iPad is still decidedly uncool.

Learning the fine art of glassblowing at Mesa Arts Center.
Learning the fine art of glassblowing at Mesa Arts Center.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Printmaking: Reliefs

Wendy Willis teaches a workshop in making relief prints that's designed for both beginners and artists who want to learn how to work with newer materials. The weekend workshop, taking place later this month at Phoenix Center for the Arts, includes instruction in printmaking with Gomuban, borco board, and sintra.

Jewelry: Earrings

Fans of Michelle Startzman, whose jewelry we've spotted recently in exhibitions for galleries at Tempe Center for the Arts and Phoenix Airport Museum, can take a two-day beginning jewelry workshop with the artist come April at Mesa Arts Center. We've seen Startzman demonstrate her skills at both Mesa Arts Center and Shemer Arts Center, and admired several of her earring designs at the ASU Art Museum shop.

Creative Photo Transfer

Maybe your photos are so fabulous you feel inspired to transfer them onto other objects. That's where David Miller's workshop at Shemer Art Center might come in handy. It's a one-day Saturday affair taking place in April, and features instruction in four different techniques: Xerox transfer, alcohol transfer, heat transfer and cyanotype.

Drawing: Cartooning

If words are starting to feel inadequate for conveying the depth of your sarcasm or skepticism, consider taking David Miller's eight-week cartooning class at Mesa Arts Center, which starts in early March. He'll be teaching basic methods of cartooning and building your own strip with original characters -- which might be your best chance at garnering fame for your ornery feline that refuses to perform on YouTube.

Mosaic Heart

We noticed this class is perfectly timed for those of you seeking unique gifts for Valentine's Day. During a single day workshop with David Jarvinen at Phoenix Center for the Arts, you can create a mosaic heart for one of the loves in your life, from parent to partner. The workshop takes place on Thursday, February 5.

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