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Top 5 Best Art Schools in NYC - CourseHorse

By Jenny Tobin | Published 6/27/2012

Tap into your artistic side with the immersive programs taught at New York’s most loved art schools. Whether you’re a DIY freak or an aspiring photographer, our list of schools will give you the creative fix you’ve been longing for.

Painting on Wall

Creativity can be expressed in a number of ways, but true art advocates know that nothing is more expressive than a hands-on project. The arts have existed for far longer than any language in human history and some would argue that it is stronger than any form of verbal communication (van Gogh really didn’t care to hear what anyone had to say). Art still plays a huge role in many people’s lives in one way or another and it isn’t leaving anytime soon. Luckily, New York is a pretty prime spot if you’re into basically any type of art – that’s why some of the best schools are located here! From pottery and jewelry design to painting and woodworking, our list of NYC art schools offer an abundance of programs for all levels of creativity and experience. Now you just need to find your school, book choose a class, and be sure to tell the instructor we said “yellow!”


La Mano Pottery

Chelsea, Manhattan

For those with a curiosity for clay, La Mano is a one stop shop for doing it all. Wheel throwing and hand building classes are plentiful in supply, but La Mano also does some unique clay oriented classes such as their Silver Clay Workshop, as well as having kids and parent/child pottery classes. Having been in the business for more than 20 years and operating one of the finest pottery studios in Manhattan (in the heart of Chelsea, no less) is one thing, but they manage to make it all work with small, intimate classes, free practice time, and knowledgable teachers and assistants at the ready to give you personal attention. Whether you just want to blow some steam off after a long day, re-decorate your shelves with some self-made conversation pieces, or get deep into the world of becoming a master potter, La Mano has you covered. Just make sure you don't wear your favorite jeans, clay and cleanliness don't exactly see eye to eye!

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Making Jewelry

EatMetal, Inc.

Hoboken, New Jersey

It’s said that nothing makes a statement like the perfect accessory, but what about a hand-crafted artisan accessory that you made yourself? The jewelry classes offered at EatMetal, Inc. will teach you how to design and create your own uniquely fabulous jewelry for weddings, casual wear, or any other occasion that you want to add a little bling to. In these workshops, you will work within a small group to create something one-of-a-kind in an intimate setting. EatMetal, Inc. offers two types of classes: Intensive workshops and DIY workshops. Intensive workshops are taught by visiting artists who are masters in metalsmithing and jewelry design; classes are mostly technique-focused and range from 1 to 5 days. The DIY workshops are great for group events and recommended for those who are new to jewelry design. In these 3-hour workshops, students will go through the process of creating their own piece of jewelry from start to finish and will leave the class with a new (totally brag-worthy) accessory. If you’re looking for some creative, hands-on fun, this may be the perfect school for you.

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Art Studios at JCC Manhattan

Upper West Side, Manhattan

The JCC is a staple of the Upper West Side community, boasting an enormous building which is home to a variety of events, fundraisers, daycare programs, exercise programs, and so much more... but did you know they also have an incredible arts program (cooking too, but that's another story)? Having a large facility and ample funding goes a long way for an art school, and the JCC makes good use of what they've got by offering programs as diverse as shoemaking to soldering, from silk painting to pottery. It's the perfect place for someone who just loves to explore their creative side and get their toes wet with new ideas and artistic concepts, or for someone on the prowl for a new hobby. All of this nestled in one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in Manhattan, a stone's throw away from Riverside & Central Parks and of course the Natural History Museum. Why not make a day of it all?

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Woman drawing

Pratt Institute

West Village, Manhattan & Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

If you’re serious about art and want to make a career out of it, the Pratt Institute may be the perfect fit for you. Students that attend classes at this school are looking to build the skills, techniques and professionalism required for success in the art industry. The high-quality programs offered at Pratt will prepare you to thrive in a competitive field and be a leader within your profession. The faculty at Pratt Institute are industry professionals whose work and artistic contributions are recognized globally. Some examples of the programs they offer are accessory design, painting techniques and mixed media. All of these courses are geared towards aspiring artists with goals of acquiring the necessary skills and mannerisms to be successful. If you’re dedicated to making art your career and need a little help in the process, check this school out.

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Stained Glass

Valeria Divinorum

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Are you intrigued by light and color? What about geometric designs? If you said yes to either of these, keep reading. Valeria Divinorum specializes in beautiful stained glass designs using the famous Tiffany Technique. In these 2-hour long workshops, you will work through the process of designing and completing your own piece of glass in a step-by-step format. Create your own glass patterns, smooth the edges and solder them together in this “glassy” hands-on experience. Grab a friend, bring your teen (ages 12 and up!) or make it a solo learning experience - you’re sure to have a blast no matter what.

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