Welcome to the Athenaeum's School of the Arts



Letter from the School of the Arts Director:


As I write this, we are four weeks into our Winter Session and the School of the Arts is thriving, thanks to our dedicated faculty, students, and staff. Close to half our classes sold out this session, so we are adding some more choices for the Spring Session to help avoid disappointing our valued students. With that said, if there are classes or instructors of particular interest to you, please make sure to register early!


We have added another section of Jill Badonsky’s hugely popular Wild Abandon in Sketching and Watercolor, this one at AAC on Thursday mornings, and another section of Open Lab Printmaking on Wednesday afternoons for everyone who wants to take advantage of our incredible Print Studio to work independently.


Frol Boundin’s sold-out silk-screen class has also been a great success, so we are offering it again and also adding a two-day silk-screen workshop called Power Up with the accomplished multidisciplinary artist Claudia Cano.


We are also excited to offer a new class that many of you have been asking for: Introduction to dSLR and Mirrorless Photography. This is for those who have invested in a “fancy” camera but are too intimidated to take it off auto mode. We are thrilled to have the dynamic Ernesto Rivera teaching this class!


And it is a pleasure to welcome Alex Leon who will be teaching Plein Air Watercolor Painting. The first class will be held at our La Jolla location and then will meet at nearby locations for on-location, hands-on learning.


Michelle Montjoy is back, after an exciting artist residency at Brush Creek Arts in Wyoming, with her workshop that sold out in the Fall Session: Tattoo Your Clothes/Visible Mending.


Finally, we are continuing to reach out to our neighbors who live in the areas surrounding our Athenaeum Art Center (AAC) location in Logan Heights. For the Spring Session, anyone who lives in the 92118 (Coronado), 92113 (Logan Heights, Mountain View, etc.), or 92102 (Golden Hill, Grant Hill, Sherman Heights, etc.) zip codes will get a 25% discount on any class located at the AAC (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