Your kid’s art projects are no longer confined to your kitchen table, thanks to the new “Artisans in the Atelier” workshops at The Gillispie School in La Jolla. Now they can create masterpieces in a serene, sun-drenched setting that’s akin to a coastal, French-inspired deck. They’ll experiment with different mediums ranging from edible finger paints and bubble wrap to natural objects like berries and shells. Ready to find a workshop suited for your little Monet? Oui, s’il vous plaît! Read on!


Inspired, not Instructed
These child-led workshops are designed to allow kids to express themselves freely. There are no constraints on their artistic process. Instead, they’ll stumble upon welcoming invitations that are scattered throughout the coastal artisan create-a-space. The art materials are used as invitations that spark an interest in each blossoming artisan. Every medium will playfully challenge their senses as they create with paint, earthy materials and items that are generally used for sensory exploration. This is an experience where it’s completely acceptable and encouraged for the child to lead and you to follow. Gillispie’s artists are not prodded to move to the next invitation if they’re content with the one they’ve already chosen.


Paint by Numbers: Workshops Designed for All Ages
Artisans in the Atelier workshops are divided by age groups to offer artistic experiences at varying levels. The exception to this is their drop-in exploration program (details below), where preschoolers mingle with children up to age 10.

Toddlers and Twos
You and your little one will embark on a child-led scavenger hunt in the atelier. The French describe an atelier as a space where inspiration and creativity are instantaneously lit and The Gillispie School has created just that. In fact, all workshops take place in the historical atelier, so all ages will get the chance to do as the French do. But for this program, littles will get to extract some natural color from real berries, they’ll hone their hand-eye coordination and they’ll even get to make lots of noise with bubble wrap. The options are really endless here.
Time: Sat.’s 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Mar. 11, 18, 25 and Apr. 1, 15, 22
Cost: $150/session
Ages: 0-2


Threes through Fives
Preschoolers will use materials that are increasingly more thought provoking in this workshop. They might paint on a canvas, use math in an artistic manner or make mini models of their favorite toys out of clay. Since the workshop was designed to encourage the use of their investigatory skills, they might walk away feeling like Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes.
Time: Sat.’s 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Cost: $35/workshop
Ages: 3-5

Open Atelier: Art Exploration
Catering to artists up to 10-years-old, the Open Atelier asks for you to give a 24 hr. notice of your drop-in. The activities are often tailored just for your kid, so there’s often a feeling of private instruction. The offered supplies for this workshop are limitless, as are the possibilities for their artistic expression.
Time: Wed.’s 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $35/workshop
Ages: 4-10

Insider’s Tips: Workshops are limited to 12 kids per session, so register in advance. Dress your artist in worry-free clothing so his/her process won’t be hindered by worry of making a mess.

Artisans in the Atelier
The Gillispie School Atelier
7380 Girard Ave.
San Diego, Ca

–– Jeannette Swanson

Photos: Savonia Guy