Youth art classes for fall: we’re so excited!

September 2018

Hello Friends,

Breathe. You made it! The heat is diminishing. The kids are back at school. The uncertainty (also read as adventure) of summer is over.  So, now what?

After running over 100 classes this summer that change each week and offer a multitude of surprises, I know I’m more than ready to get back into a routine. This may be the same feeling so many of our children feel – they’ve been on vacation, in summer programs, with friends and family; each day was a new adventure and now they are headed back to their scheduled school life. Research tells us this type of plasticity is very healthy, so I’ll embrace it.

The question is how do we make learning fun and effective the whole year through, in both the context of summer programs and during school. Many of you have heard of the 10,000-hour rule. Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that you can achieve mastery by spending 10,000 hours on something, largely based on the research of Anders Ericcson. By creating a routine for practice, children can develop skills at a fantastic rate. Imagine the results if your child were to do one of these exercises each day for a year

However, I would also posit that practice is not enough. It is how you practice and how you learn from that practice. You must do things differently, make mistakes, get feedback, apply changes, persevere, and adapt.  

This is how I want to proceed into the school year, not only in how we program at the Arts Center, but in how I continue to develop as an artist, educator, and human being.


Neal Barbour

Director of Youth Education



STEAM Program Selected for Harvard PEAR Study 

Exciting news! The Lawrence Arts Center’s STEAM program was selected to participate in a national study on effective STEAM programs by Harvard’s PEAR Institute.  We are proud to not only be recognized at the national level but also to be contributing to the data proving the importance of art education. The results will be shared in early October and we are looking forward to sharing them with you.

Reimagined STEAM Program

We are happy to announce that we will now be offering one week sessions for elementary students focusing on STEAM specific activities! These sessions are designed around specific themes to offer a blend of art, science, and engineering with an emphasis on expanded exploration of materials and technology. Click on the following course listings to learn more about our new offerings and for enrollment details!

Sept 10-17 Become A Bug       

Sept 17-20 Science of Screenprinting

Oct 8-11 Upcycled Kites                                                                           

Oct 15-18 Break the Internet                                                      

Nov 12-15 Digital Arts Playground       

Dec 3-6 Illusionists      

Inventor Grrls with Kate Horvat 

Calling all talented middle-school young women! We are running our second year of Design/Build Workshop class in partnership with Bowersock Dam, Gould Evans Architecture, and Lawrence Creates Makerspace. Conceive, invent, and make different projects with other young girl inventors in this very fun Creative Youth Development program.  Make artwork and prototypes that involve expanded media, cutting edge technology, and experimental processes as you devise solutions to community problems as well as realize ideas and designs of your own. Click here to enroll!

Building the Next stARTup Cohort

Over the last two years, we’ve had thirty high school artists work toward and execute solo exhibitions in Lawrence galleries. The third stARTup cohort begins September 5.  Work on studio practices to make pieces missing from your portfolio while learning valuable entrepreneurial skills to boost your visibility such as website development, grant and scholarship writing, show setup, pricing your art, talking to galleries, and more.  stARTup helps develop your future as an artist with professional guidance on practices from artists and specialists in the field. This program has another section in the spring and each artist who completes the program will have a culminating Final Friday solo show at a downtown gallery in Lawrence. This year we have two full scholarships as well as financial aid available. This class will fill; please email with a letter of intent and three images of artwork.

Exciting Elementary Classes Starting in Ten Days

We’re gearing up our studios to begin fall classes, many of which start the week of September, 8th. Looking for a new challenge? A range of courses are debuting this Fall across all age groups and mediums.

5-6 Year Olds
Monarch Magic

Elementary (1-5 grade)
Family Mixed Media Madness, Creative Prints, Clay Play, Sew Fun, Jewelry, and Anime-zing!

Middle and High School Classes
Artist Studio MS and Advanced Filmmaking

We’re excited to offer this new line up, in addition to our core classes, and to remind you that financial aid is available!

White Riley Peterson Fellowship

Join us in congratulating Neal Barbour, Director of Youth Education, for being selected as a White-Riley-Peterson (WRP) Fellow!

“It is so important for young people to have access to high-quality academic enrichment opportunities during afterschool hours and in the summer – and we need policy leaders who can make that happen. The White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship is leading the way in developing afterschool advocates, future policymakers and advisors across the country. I’m so proud to welcome 16 more leaders to this outstanding program,” said former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.

Neal has been selected alongside 15 other national educators in the field of afterschool and expanded learning programs by the Riley Institute at Furman University, to participate in a 10-month initiative to develop state-level policy projects in conjunction with ¬their respective statewide afterschool networks, and the National Afterschool Alliance. We’re overjoyed at this accomplishment, and to have Neal at the Lawrence Arts Center as an arts education ally. Read more …