While there is no shortage of outdoor activities in the city, we also love to sit down and get messy with art. Busy schedules sometimes prevent us from committing to a series of classes, but lucky for you, there are lots of drop-in art classes to go around. From open studio painting to crafting on a Sun. morning in the park, there’s something for everyone on our list of favorite drop-in art classes.

photo: Purple Twig

Purple Twig

If you’re looking for some artistic collaboration with your littles, Purple Twig in Eagle Rock is a great option. This lovely storefront hosts a number of class series and camps but also offers two open studios per week that are meant to foster collaboration between parents and kids. “Painting Fridays” are from 1-4 p.m. every Fri. (unless otherwise noted) and for ages 2 and up. The folks at Purple Twig offer a variety of painting materials to help teach budding artists loads of painting methods.

“Painting Fridays” are $15 per child or $27 for two. Drop-offs are allowed for kids age 5 and up for up to two hours at a $35 rate.

They also offer “Open Studios” on Sat. Each month there is a different theme so one month you may be working with clay, the other with yarn and string. Everyone is encouraged to experiment, think creatively and stay as long as they’d like. Materials can be used any which way and there are also markers, cardboard, fabric, paint, and paper to use. Classes are recommended for ages 2-9 (with parents).


Sat. “Open Studios” are $15 per child or $27 for two. Drop-offs are allowed for kids age 5 and up for up to two hours at a $35 rate.

Purple Twig
2038 Colorado Blvd.

photo: LeTania Kirkland Smith

Barnsdall Art Sundays

Art is a language for all and Barnsdall Art Park embodies that fully with its “Barnsdall Art Sundays.” These free art workshops are held every Sun. (except when noted) and are open to all ages. This is a great place to bring friends, family and to create a collaborative experience with your littles.

Classes are taught by the well-versed teachers at the Barnsdall Art Center and every week presents a different theme that pulls from international traditions as well as cultural themes that represents the diversity of L.A. Your little artists will have the chance to explore textile art, painting, sculpture, clay and lots more.

Afterward be sure to hang out on the gorgeous lawn adjacent to the Hollyhock House (an architectural marvel built by Frank Lloyd Wright) and let them run. Bring hula hoops, balls, bubbles and all the accouterment and enjoy a satisfying Sun. morning. Once they’ve worked their energy you can even take a tour of the Hollyhock House ($7 for adults, $3 for students).

Workshops are held Sun. from 10 a.m.-noon and are free.

Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd.
Online: barnsdall.org

photo: PLAY


Located in Mid-Wilshire, Play been providing art, music and play opportunities for littles up to the age of 5 since 2005. Play offers mixed media art sessions throughout the year as well as two types of open studios.

“Messy Art” is an open painting session for budding artists and their folks. All materials, including smocks, are provided. Offered Mon. 10 a.m.-noon, Tues. 10:45 a.m.-noon, and Fri. and Sat. 10:45 a.m.-noon.

Play also offers “Stories and Art” on Thurs. mornings from 10-11:30 a.m. The session begins with a story and then after, kids are encouraged to create art inspired by the story. Depending on the book the folks at Play will even use the colors, textures, and themes from the book as a jumping off point. If your babes love to have a book read to them followed by some messy art time this just may be the ticket.

Classes are $14 per child or purchase and Art and Play card for 5 drop-in visits for $55.

5814 W. 3rd St.
Online: play-losangeles.com

photo: LeTania Kirkland Smith

Boone Children’s Gallery at LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is an incredible L.A. resource. Situated on the same campus as the iconic La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA offers access to an amazing permanent collection and rotating exhibitions that will keep everyone coming back for more.

The Boone Children’s Gallery is yet another reason to visit. The gallery is included with admission, which is free for all children (one adult gets in free too per child) 17 years and younger, through LACMA’s NexGen program. The gallery will set you up at a table with beautiful tempera cakes, brushes, unlimited paper as well as markers and colored pencils. They even have high chairs for the smallest artists. The hardest part will be pulling your little painters out of there.

LACMA also offers “Andell Family Sundays” in the L.A. Times Central Court. Each event features an artist-led workshop and family-friendly tours based on special exhibitions. This is also included with your NexGen admission. Check the website for schedules.

5905 Wilshire Blvd.
323 857-6010
Online: lacma.org

photo: Ben Gibbs, courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center

Family Art Studio at the Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Cultural Center always has great exhibitions and programming on schedule and, in case you didn’t know, they also provide a great opportunity for the entire family to get together and make art.

Tied to the center’s theme of universality and collaboration, the family art studio encourages families to come together and ignite their creativity for good.

The center is currently gearing up for their Annual Puppet festival in Apr. where you can make your very own hand puppet in preparation. The instructors provide examples, guidance and lots of material many of which are recycled. The family studio is included with admission and open Sat. and Sun. (except Apr. 29). The studio is open Tues-Sun. during summer months (Jun. 12-Aug. 12).

Admission cost $12 for adults, $7 for kids 2-12.

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Online: skirball.org

photo: PAINT:LAB


Located in Santa Monica, this studio is dedicated to the medium of painting and drawing. The space offers a regular series of drop-off art classes and camps for kids ages 6 and up.

For the drop-in crowd, the studio hosts “Open Lab” every day for all ages. Paint, brush, easel, studio space and clean up are included. Kids 5-12 are $15 plus the cost of a canvas. Kids 4 and under are $15 and includes up to five sheets of paper. Adults are $20.

PAINT:LAB also offers “Family Sunday” where the whole crew can get a deal. From 10-4 p.m. up to four family members pay $50 for lab fees plus the cost of a canvas. Spend a Sun. morning creating and then head toward the ocean and enjoy some natural inspiration.

And if you’re looking for a date night solution, PAINT:LAB is well known for its “Brushes and Bites” series, which is guided painting for adults with refreshments. There’s one idea to keep in your painter’s back pocket.

1453 14th St.
Santa Monica
Online: paintlab.net

photo: Meri Cherry

Meri Cherry

This art studio in Tarzana is one of the latest additions in the area and is full of inspiration. Owner, Meri Cherry (yes, her real name) left a job as a K-2 teacher four years ago when she felt she had lost her connection. Soon after she was teaching art at a Reggio inspired school but before she knew it, requests for private lesson were bountiful and she decided to open the studio.

Meri Cherry offers private lessons, toddler playgroup art classes and themed workshops (think large scale murals for kids) to name just a few.

Open studio space is offered for kids 3 and up who want to take their time and tinker with a huge variety of materials like hammers, nails, paint, clay and more. Drop-in if you’d like to join your little in moving outside the lines and pushing boundaries of creation. Open studio is Tues. and Wed. from 3-5 p.m.

Open Studio is $20 per child. Packages of six for the price of five are available online and in person. Drop-off available for children 5 and up.

Meri Cherry
19237 Ventura Blvd.
Online: mericherry.com

Where do you go to get your family art on? Let us know in the comments below!

—Kim Orchen Cooper & LeTania Kirkland Smith


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