Activate the Left Side of Your Brain at These Art Classes Around Pittsburgh

December 7, 2020
GiftYa
jason wolfe

Art is everywhere if you know where to look. You can even find it inside of yourself. Think about every time you’ve spotted a beautiful stranger on the street or stopped to admire a squirrel as it scales the trunk of a tree or even marveled at the storm clouds rolling into the city faster than you thought was possible. Whatever it is that gives your pause, whatever lights that admiration deep inside you - that is a burgeoning artistry.

Young woman doing sculpt

The next time you find that admiration for something beautiful building up inside of you, think, maybe, of how you might be able to release it back into the world. Think about taking an art class. Pittsburgh is home to more art classes than we know what to do with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all be a good fit for you. Whether you want to work with textiles, paints, clay, pastels, or even glass, there’s an art class out there for you. Below are some of our favorites around the city.

About GiftYa

Everyone deserves to express their creativity when the urge to be an artist is almost too much to contain, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. It’s not so much the technique of working with different mediums that the average person struggles with, but, more appropriately, the costs that come with working with those mediums. Whether you’re just hoping to buy a canvas and some acrylics and paint at home or you want to take an art class with a professional instructor, artistry doesn’t come cheap.

That’s why GiftYa is about to be your new greatest asset. For the past several years, GiftYa has been working diligently to partner with local and national companies to help match you up with vendors near you with their e-gift cards. Unfortunately, GiftYa is not currently partnered with local Pittsburgh places currently offering up some art classes, but that can change pretty easily. Speak to the instructor of your favorite art class about partnering with GiftYa, and hopefully art will soon become affordable to people who never dreamed of it!

Workshop PGH

Yes, knitting is art, and we will die on this hill. Image courtesy of Workshop PGH Instagram

5135 Penn Ave | Garfield | workshoppgh.com

Art is about more than just making something pretty. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with creating something so attractive that you’re tempted to cover up the kids’ fridge art with it, art is about the process of making something you’ve never even dreamed of making before and marveling at the process of learning something new.

That’s what they’ll tell you at Workshop PGH, where they pride themselves on creating a space where anyone, from any walk of life can come in to learn something new. Whether you want to learn knitting, woodworking, sewing, or even the classics like painting and drawing, they have a class for that!

Each of their instructors are appropriately trained on the safety surrounding their trade, so you can sign up for a class, learn a few tricks from people who have been doing this for years, and create something using materials that are entirely new to you. Discover your newest passion here at Workshop PGH.

“They have classes on anything and everything you could imagine from jewelry to marbling to sewing to woodworking to plant classes!! So many options!!!” - Yelp Review

Phipps Conservatory

Ever wanted to learn how to draw like old botanists did? Now’s your chance! Image courtesy of Pixabay

1 Schenley Park | Oakland | phipps.conservatory.org

Phipps Conservatory is known for many things (most notably the Home for the Holidays light-up exhibits they feature in their botanical gardens during winter), but did you know that they also offer up art classes? 

If you enroll in their Botanical Arts and Illustration Certificate program, you’ll have the chance to participate in up to seven different art classes that will teach you how to accurately represent different botanical species you might see out in nature through your art.

Designed specifically for people who are seeking art classes purely to scratch that creative itch, the art classes here at Phipps Conservatory focus on teaching you two distinct things about drawing vegetation: the botany of the plants you’ll be drawing or painting for scientific accuracy and artistic mastery for making it look pretty.

In this program, you can choose between two different paths, the both of which I just mentioned. Painting and drawing are your only options when it comes to these classes offered up by Phipps, but you will be learning how to make some absolutely phenomenal artwork.

“Only planned on staying a few hours at most. Once inside ended up spending the entire day. Whether you are a garden lover, art lover, food lover or architecture lover, this place is for you.” - Yelp Review

Little House, Big Art

A container doesn’t determine how creative you can be...if this little house ever fills up, take your art outside! Image courtesy of Little House, Big Art Instagram

938 Haslage Ave | North Side | littlehousebigart.com

The name says pretty much all you need to know about this tiny art studio in the North Side. Located in a little house in a residential neighborhood, this is the perfect place for people who want to get artsy but prefer to do it in a place that feels like home.

They offer up traditional classes here, such as spinning clay on the pottery wheel and painting, but the amazing thing about the folks here at Little House, Big Art is that they are incredibly flexible - which means that they’re more than willing to make adjustments to their typical lesson plans to fit the needs of what you want to learn.

Even better? They encourage you to get as messy as you need to here, which means you can splatter paint, wipe your clay-caked hands on any aprons, and even take a crayon to the walls if that’s what’s going to get your creative juices flowing. They won’t mind!

“This place is amazing.  Elizabeth was such a wonderful host and so very helpful to all of us.  The space is quirky and full of imagination and possibilities.” - Yelp Review

Pittsburgh Glass Center

A glass mosaic will look great in your kitchen window! Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Glass Center Instagram

5472 Penn Ave | Friendship | pittsburghglasscenter.com

With all of the traditional mediums of artwork at your fingertips, it’s easy to forget about some of the lesser known, but still immensely beautiful mediums that are waiting for you around Pittsburgh. Take glass, for instance.

At Pittsburgh Glass Center, they work solely with glass as a medium - and whether you’re just there to observe for the first day or you’re ready to dive right in, they can teach you anything from making mosaics out of shards of glass to glass blowing.

If you’re not familiar with glass blowing, it involves sticking a chunk of glass into literal fire and shaping a piece of art out of it as the excess melts away. You can participate in short-term “make it now” classes or choose instead to take several classes over the course of a workshop where you’ll learn about all of the little intricacies that go into making art out of glass.

They’re really big on safety here at Pittsburgh Glass Center, so you can be rest assured knowing that you’re in good hands, even as you’re working with fire and shards of glass.

“We had a quick tutorial on safety and a demonstration on the start to finish process of creating your glass piece. We then were paired up with a master glass maker who helped us create our piece.” - Yelp Review

Union Project

It’s time to paint with a purpose and make some new friends. Image courtesy of Union Project Instagram

801 N Negley Ave | East Liberty | unionproject.org

Behind some of the best art studios is a great backstory - and an even better mission. Great might not be the word we’d use to describe the backstory behind Union Project, but that’s part of what makes their mission so compelling at the end of the day.

Located in East Liberty at the convergence of several different neighborhoods with varying racial and socioeconomic backgrounds among their residents, Union Project has made it their mission to bring all of these people with differing worldviews together through community-wide art classes.

You can work with ceramics - either creating them or painting them - and at the same time, learn the stories of people who have an entirely different history to your own. As they say in their mission statement: “We believe that art can create change and help us build a more inclusive, empathetic, and just community.” Join the mission today.

“Bobby & I had a blast working with the clay and making our own ceramics. Everyone from the instructor to the others enjoying the open studio offered to help us and gave us great tips!” - Yelp Review

Everyone has the creative spark inside of them that’s just the beginning of creating something truly beautiful, but not everyone is quite sure where they should start. These are some of the best art classes offered up around Pittsburgh. Let us know which one earned you a masterpiece for your home in the comments below!

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