We all remember how thrilling it was when your parents hung your latest popsicle-stick masterpiece on the fridge. “Look at our little Van Gogh!”, they may have squealed. If you were like me, your art never got any better. But I still loved art class. It was my favorite hour of the day, a time where I could squish paint between my fingers, create flying purple unicorns, or glue three sequin eyes on my playdough dog.
Creating art fosters creativity, instills confidence, helps develop problem solving skills and gives us an outlet for self-expression that memes and social posts just can’t fill, especially for children. But with art being cut from school curriculums across the country, what are we to do? Will there be no more three-eyed playdough pups? Are our refrigerators doomed to a life without art forever?
Thankfully, no. For those of us in Baton Rouge, there’s Art Academy. This art-centric company teaches children and adults how to express their creativity through a variety of visual arts. It was founded in the home of Bekah Duplechin, an LSU instructor in Visual Communications, and has seen rapid growth as parents in the area have seen the benefits that art can have on their children and families. Today, Art Academy gives professional art classes and workshops from their new spacious location on LA Hwy 44. (As a bonus, it’s close to a nail salon and a Mexican restaurant, giving you plenty to do while your child takes lessons. Manis and margs, anyone?)
There are a variety of ways to get in on the art action. You can register for weekly classes that teach a variety of skills in painting, drawing, and sculpture to ages 6-12. There are also fun adult workshops in things like hand lettering, art journaling, and holiday ornaments to help foster creativity and teach you all about the wonders of self-expression. Or, book a private birthday party or special event, where your group can have one-on-one instruction for up to 2.5 hours (and you won’t have to decorate).
The lessons at Art Academy are in-depth and teach you the techniques of the trade. “The classes are always a learning experience,” says owner Bekah Duplechin. “There’s always going to be a lesson, whether on shading or proportion, etc. It’s not just concepts. I want to teach them individuality and help them build self-esteem.”
One thing you’ll really love about Art Academy is the impressive roster of instructors. The classes and workshops are lead by real-life artists with years of experience and education in their craft. They make art accessible to artists of all skill levels, from the Picassos down to those who struggle with stick figures (guilty as charged). Their instruction can show you how to use art as a means of self-expression and create pieces that you’re truly proud of.
"Art Academy teaches skills that go beyond just becoming a better artist," says Duplechin. "Learning to build confidence and develop a creative mindset can open yourself up to a better quality of life."
For more information, call (225) 276-8229 or visit their website.
Photo Credit: Erin Martin Bryan