Welcome to the Athenaeum's School of the Arts



Letter from the School of the Arts Director:


Thank you to our dedicated faculty and students for a wonderful fall session of passionate teaching, engaged learning, and meaningful connections between all of us who share a love of art and personal growth.


I am looking forward to another inspiring session of classes and workshops this winter at both our locations. We will continue our tried and true offerings of classes from our veteran faculty, along with exciting new classes, workshops, and faculty.


It is with mixed emotions that I announce Irina Gronborg’s well-deserved retirement. Irina was the very first faculty member ever hired at the Athenaeum School of Arts and has been a phenomenal part of our family for over three decades. We will miss her dearly! Irina has handpicked her replacement, and so we welcome the accomplished Jean Krumbein, who will be teaching drawing in Irina’s regular slot on Monday mornings in La Jolla.


Jill Badonsky comes to us highly recommended by our very own Lori Mitchell. Lori was most impressed with Jill’s unique methodology when she took her workshop having heard Jill’s keynote lecture at SketchKon last year. According to Lori, “I was so thrilled with her ideas and how she really DOES help you to get past your self-consciousness. It’s something that every single artist can use.” High praise from one remarkable artist and educator about another! Look for both a one-day workshop and a six-week class from Jill.


Congratulations to Suda House who has a solo show and will be taking the winter session off. In her place, we are thrilled that renowned photographer and gallerist Donna Cosentino will be teaching the popular class: It’s Personal: Seeing Your Photographs/Finding Your Voice.


We are excited to add to the ceramics offerings at the AAC. Not only will Suzanne LaFrance continue to teach sculptural ceramics, but we have hired the creative and energetic Pierre Bounaud to teach functional pottery: unique and beautiful bowls, plates, cups, mugs, vases, etc. Both are passionate artists and educators who work with all levels of students, sharing their love of hand-built ceramics.


Amanda Kachadoorian is a widely exhibited painter and sculptor who was recently named Artist-in-Residence at Bread & Salt. Besides her own art practice, her passion is helping other artists to market themselves—for example, taking them through the process of writing an artist statement and biography; creating marketing collateral, like a website and business cards; and applying for open calls, grants, and residencies. We are thrilled that she will be offering her expertise in a class called Self-Marketing for Artists at the AAC on Sunday afternoons.


Thanks to a grant from the County of San Diego, we have expanded the equipment and supplies in our AAC Print Studio so that we can offer the popular and fun silk-screen technique. We are excited to welcome back talented printmaker and educator Frol Boundin to kick off our silk-screen offerings with the Saturday afternoon Introduction to Silk Screen class. And we look forward to expanding this curriculum in the future.


Given today’s seemingly constant negativity in the news, many of us are feeling powerless and frustrated. From that sentiment comes the germ of an idea to use art to overcome those feelings. Award-winning multidisciplinary artist Katie Ruiz will help students explore the rich history of printmaking as a form of resistance while speaking their mind through art. All political viewpoints will be welcomed! Join us for The Art of Resistance on Sunday mornings in the AAC Print Studio.


Finally, we are reaching out to our neighbors who live in Coronado. For the winter session, anyone who lives in the 92118 zip code will get a 25% discount on any class located at our Athenaeum Art Center (while scholarship funds last).


We will see you at the School of the Arts!

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.



 Take our School of the Arts survey so that we can offer you a better art class experience.








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