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Free Art Workshops on the Eastside: Barnsdall Art Park’s Family Day Workshops


Barnsdall Arts/FOJAC and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation, with the Junior Arts Center, offers free family art workshops every Sunday. Open to children and adults of all ages, each workshop focuses on a different cultural theme using various media formats.

A few weeks back, Aria and I checked out the program. The day we visited was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day theme. Using watercolors as our medium, we were told to create something inspiring. The classroom, instructors, and other participants created an environment for creativity (and actually held my daughter’s attention)! We had a lot of fun and we would definitely go back.  Here are five reasons why you should visit, too!

1. It’s free

Barnsdall Arts/Friends of the Junior Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality art programs to educate and enrich the community through the arts. The free family art workshop is a sponsored program that provides quality art education to nurture creativity, teach art skills and instill an appreciation for art in the community. There is no need to bring anything! They provide all the (good quality) art materials.

2. It’s a drop-in workshop


There’s no need to RSVP, and because it’s a drop-in workshop, you can arrive anytime during the workshop (10am to noon) and stay as long or little as you want. That makes it a good last-minute plan or and event you’ve had on your calendar for weeks.

3. It’s a lesson in global studies and art


Each workshop focuses on different eras, cultures and holidays. Think of it as a history, global studies, and art lesson rolled into one! Upcoming sessions feature shadow puppets in Bali, Chinese New Year dragon puppets, and Pueblo clay pots from the United States. You’ll also find a map in the room with pins on the various countries and cultures they’ve explored.

4. The instructors come from a wide variety of artistic backgrounds

There is always at least one instructor and almost always an assistant at each workshop. In addition, Shelah Lehrer-Graiwer, the executive director is also present. (College student volunteers are often on hand, too.) The instructors, which vary from week to week, are professional artists from teaching, working, or other varied backgrounds.

5. It’s a beautiful place to spend a Sunday and a great place to meet up with friends


Barnsdall Art Park sits up on a hill in East Hollywood, right on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s by far one of the best places to view the Hollywood sign, which is clearly visible from the grassy area in the front. My daughter and I had a lovely picnic after the art workshop, and we saw other families play football and fly kites. Barnsdall Art Park is also the site of the famous Hollycock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, and the Junior Arts Center.

Tips for your visit:

• There is an indoor classroom and outdoor area with seating for the art workshops

• Check their website before you go— they are sometimes closed for special events (for example, they were closed on February 14 because of the LA Marathon)

• Attendance varies per week, although print-making projects are very popular

• Workshops take place at JAC Studio 1, which is down a set of stairs (or a ramp if you are taking a stroller)

• From April through August, Barnsdall Arts hosts a similar free weekly event on Saturdays, called Griffith Park Grows Art

• Barnsdall Arts offers a party space with art instruction; visit their site for details


Location: 4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Hours: Sundays from 10am to noon (closed for some holidays and events)

Admission: Free

Website: barnsdallarts.org


This article was also published on Mommy Nearest