Welcome to the Athenaeum's School of the Arts



Letter from the School of the Arts Director:


Our faculty and students continue to impress and amaze me with their creativity, hard work, and enthusiasm in our classes! This summer we had 19 online classes via Zoom video conferencing and one plein air painting class in the great outdoors. Students reported loving the online format, even those who were initially hesitant. Faculty members have been so creative and resourceful in making the most of the format with things like live close-up demos, guest speakers doing artist talks from their studios, and life models joining via Zoom (which students love, since everyone has the same view).


The most amazing thing about our online classes is that nothing is lost in terms of the sense of community that our faculty members and students are known for. Everyone genuinely cares for one another and is invested in each other’s creative journey.


For the Fall Session, which runs September 21–November 15, all of our classes will be online. In addition to the classes you have grown to love from our distinguished faculty, we have some exciting new classes and instructors.


Suda House is returning to teach her much-loved photography portfolio development class, It’s Personal: Seeing Your Photographs/Finding Your Voice, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Stan Goudey has added an Acrylics for Everybody class on Monday and Friday mornings in response to overwhelming student request.


On Wednesday afternoons, artist-educator and registered art therapist France-Marie Haeger will be teaching a new class entitled Art for Inspiration, Expression, and Healing, for which she wrote, “The art process has a particular ability to open us to new perspectives by engaging the creativity that lies at the core of each human being. It enriches our life, uplifts our spirit, and enlightens the path of those who enter the journey of discovery and self-expression regardless of the level of expertise.”


Accomplished artist, educator, and gallery owner Lauren Siry is joining us on Monday mornings to teach an innovative class called Failure as an Art Form, for which she wrote, “What happens when we shut off our own critical voice that prevents us from taking risks? Embrace failure as part of the artistic process!”


Another new faculty member we are thrilled to welcome to our Fall Session is the delightful and talented Christian Garcia-Olivo, who will be teaching a much-requested Introduction to Drawing class. Based on personal experience, he promises that anyone can learn to draw!


Our incredible print studio at the Athenaeum Art Center in Logan Heights in now available for day use for a fee. Please contact Sibyl Rubottom at srubottom@ljathenaeum.org to learn more about this exciting new program.


Look for a list of our Fall classes in this mailer, with detailed information on our website: ljathenaeum.org/art-class-calendar. As always, please reach out to me with any questions, comments, or concerns. Athenaeum staff members continue to work from home, so the best way to reach me is via email: adahlgren@ljathenaeum.org.



Amanda Dahlgren, School of the Arts Director


Since its inception in 1986 as part of the long-established Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, the School of the Arts has grown to reflect the artistic spirit of the San Diego art community. Our mission at the school is to provide educational arts programs which offer meaningful art experiences for all ages and to fulfill the library’s goal of having a depth and accessibility of resources and programs found nowhere else in the region. The School offers classes at two locations: La Jolla (1008 Wall Street) and at the Athenaeum Art Center at Bread & Salt (1955 Julian Ave, San Diego, California). Athenaeum students learn the history, traditions, and principles of the fine arts. School faculty are experienced artists as well as outstanding educators, dedicated to inspiring students of all backgrounds. The School provides the opportunity for individualized instruction in its intimate class sizes, allowing students to develop their own styles and artistic identities. Appropriate for the full range of student abilities and ages - beginner, intermediate, and professional artist - the School's curriculum includes courses that focus on helping students to develop technical skills, creativity, critical thinking, respect for diverse aesthetic and intellectual views, and the pursuit of excellence.


The School of the Arts currently offers weekly classes and weekend workshops during fall, winter, and spring sessions. Summer classes are typically scheduled in one-week blocks. Courses include drawing, painting, (oil, watercolor, acrylic, encaustic), sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, letterpress, book arts, photography, mixed media, floral design, and new media. The School publishes a quarterly brochure, listing scheduled classes, workshops, and other Athenaeum events. The class schedule is also listed online.


For more information, please see our class schedule online or in our printed brochure.


If you register for an art class online, note that our class registration system will list the class as “tickets.” Please feel free to call us and order over the phone if you have any concerns. 


For information regarding the Athenaeum School of the Art's policies regarding enrollment, payment, refunds, cancellations, art supplies, referrals, and scholarships please see our Policy section. For further information, to register, and/or recieve a copy of our current brochure, please call 858.454.5872


Financial support is provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for the Arts and Culture.








Have you ever had the joy of helping another student pursue their dream to create art? If you would like to support a student scholarship, please contact Amanda Dahlgren at adahlgren@ljathenaeum.org or (858) 454-5872. Scholarships funded by a private donor have most recently helped two emerging artists at the Athenaeum.


“Nostalgic Still Life class has helped me gain more painting skills and the confidence that I need in order to continue my journey in becoming a successful artist. It was an honor being part of the class.”
–Desiree Lawrence, scholarship recipient


“Nostalgic Still Life painting class was a rewarding experience. The class covered more than just the basics of painting and of a successful composition. We had art talks discussing art as a business and tips on how to go out into the art world and sell. A very rewarding moment from class was the one-on-one talk with the instructor discussing goals with our artwork.”
–Karina Velasco, scholarship recipient