Welcome to the Athenaeum's School of the Arts



Letter from the School of the Arts Director:


I am thrilled to have been appointed School of the Arts Director at the Athenaeum. The legacy of this school is one of meaningful connections between passionate artist-educators and their students, which has created a wonderful sense of community and dedication to our institution. As a longtime artist and educator myself, I resonate personally with the passion of artists who also choose to teach: the desire to share of oneself, deeply and meaningfully, to connect with others through beauty and craft and a dedication to lifelong learning and growth. Our faculty certainly exemplify this passion!


Our fall session’s offerings of classes and workshops not only include what you have grown to expect and love from us and our distinguished faculty, but some exciting new classes, workshops, and instructors.


We have some amazing returning faculty who are back after doing wonderful things in the community and around the world. Speaking of, Anna Stump will be back teaching a much-loved painting class and also a workshop about artist residencies, locally and worldwide. Also, Michelle Montjoy’s ever-popular visible mending workshop is back. Have you been following the @todomendingproject on Instagram? It’s really wonderful! We are also excited to have Suzanne LaFrance back teaching sculptural ceramic hand-building.


In terms of new faculty, we have the accomplished Victoria Kibildis teaching the popular craft of calligraphy while our adored usual calligraphy instructor is sadly suffering from health problems.


One of the jurors for the Athenaeum’s 28th Annual Juried Exhibition, Anthony Graham (Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego) will also be teaching a very helpful workshop meant to demystify the jurying process for group shows.


We are also thrilled to be adding several new photography classes to our offerings. Ernesto Rivera will be teaching iPhone photography for Instagram. Cliff Oliver will be leading a workshop on how to photograph your artwork with an iPhone. Louise Russell will be joining us to teach pinhole photography. And Suda House will be helping photographers discover their personal passions and really get focused with their work.


Last, but certainly not least, we have a delightful new set of workshops, led by Kevin Inman, with the whimsical title: “That’s MY Brush, Karen! Paint and Sip with Abstract Art” which includes wine and all the materials to make a unique mixed-media work of art in a social setting.


I want to close by announcing a very exciting new program to encourage students who live in the neighborhoods surrounding our Logan Heights location to take our classes. For the fall session, anyone who lives in the 92113 or 92102 zip codes will get a 50% 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