Athenaeum's School of the Arts Student Testimonials—Spring 2020

Read testimonials from real Athenaeum School of the Arts students and see examples of their art works. You, too, can create art and join the Athenaeum's artist community!




Lori Mitchell

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art classes with Lori Mitchell on Monday afternoons or Wednesday mornings.


Diane Tindall

Instagram: @dtindall982020

Staff (Amanda) and instructors (Lori and Jill) were so patient and helpful in helping all of us become comfortable using the Zoom format. Any hesitation I had in using an online format was quickly put to rest and I quickly enjoyed the time to have fun and create with inspiring instructors!


Ron Jessee

I have spent 45 years as a high school teacher and administrator. I am currently a professor at CSUSM. Lori Mitchell is one of the finest instructors I have met. Her classroom management is of the highest quality. Lori's instructional methodology is in full alignment with the latest research in teaching and learning. Her interpersonal skills are filled with nurturing and care. Simply stated, she is at the very top of her instructional game in every way.


Lacey Colmore

The zoom class was great and Lori did an amazing job of giving us great things to create and so enjoyed the closeness of the class. It was such a success.


Carol Broad

The Zoom format was really successful. We were able to receive instruction and share work easily. We are a community of artists and that community came through.


Anne Finch

Generally, I can't take art classes because I live a couple hours from La Jolla, and it would be inconvenient to take a weekly class at the Athenaeum, but using Zoom has been great. Not only can I stay in my own studio, with all my supplies at hand, I don't have to make a long drive, find parking, etc. Zoom is a good substitute for the classroom.


Susi Graff


Instagram: @smgraff1

Twitter: @SGiraffe

Zoom was a great venue for Lori Mitchell's Pen and Ink and Watercolor class. Lori was able to both talk through her lessons and feature her demonstrations, both very visible to all. The day we had a live model was a bonus, because we all got the same view of the model (unlike in the classroom, where it depends where you sit). Although I would prefer to be back in the classroom, Zoom is an excellent alternative.


Gail Titus

Lori Mitchell is among the best instructors that I have had over my more than 30 years of studying art. The time that I spend in her classes pay excellent dividends for me as a full-time working artist. Her classes are as appropriate for the first-time art student as well as full-time professional artists.


Cindy May

Instagram: @2maymay6

The staff and instructor were very helpful in explaining how Zoom works and making sure each student was comfortable with the format for an art class. Although I prefer the physical studio, Zoom is the next best way to stay inspired and creative.




Stephanie Goldman

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Stephanie Goldman.


Robin Flink

Instagram: @1californiagirl

The online experience was better than I expected. It enabled us to get the same viewpoint for our portraits and this was helpful to see the way in which each student differed in their interpretation-when Stephanie critiqued each of us, the information was applicable to all of us since the pose was identical. This increased the amount of useful information I could take away from her evaluations. The models were also very professional and fun to draw. Great course!



Jain Malkin

I have now taken ten Zoom classes (not all at the Athenaeum) and find it to be a terrific platform with few problems. It is remarkably consistent and the functionality is great. They have anticipated what people would be looking for and have made it easy to use (for example, the private "conference" rooms). I also work with my private trainer on Zoom now. It is very user-friendly. I am looking forward to joining Ken Goldman's class which normally causes me to have to drive to Bread and Salt (near Imperial Ave.) and it is sheer joy to now be able to have the same class while sitting at my 27" monitor at my desk with great lighting and not have to leave home! A total win!


Kath Howarth

A much better experience than I had hoped for.


Pamela Foley

While not quite the same as "live" classes, Zoom classes help students to maintain and continue to use and improve their artistic skills as well as to enjoy being with their art class friends! Stephanie is ‘The Best!’ Stephanie provides the ultimate conditions for learning:  Clear instruction and demonstration, individual attention and feedback and an abundance of positive energy and encouragement!”




Jill Badonsky

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Jill Badonsky.


Karen Sage

Zoom is the perfect way to learn to do art. No one is looking at your ‘mistakes’ and you can get personalized help any time you want it. So easy!


Chuck Laughlin

Zoom opens up incredible opportunities to take a class with family and friends who live in other cities. A fun way to enjoy the experience together.


Susan O’Brien

 Jill’s course and teaching style lends itself to online. It’s fun, personalized and she is so dang ‘positive.’


Candy Cumming


Instagram: @cummingcandy

Jill did an amazing job of making her class enjoyable online! I’d certainly take another online class with her.



Carla Fox

I had not had much experience with watercolors or formal art classes and was really happy with the practical introduction to creativity and some very basic techniques to start watercolor painting with pen drawings. There was limited time for a lot of technique training but lots of hands on practice. The online class format was new to me and at times cumbersome but class would not have been possible otherwise. It was also much easier than driving from La Mesa where I live. I would be interested in what others thought of the experience.


Katherine Johnsen


Instagram: @auntie_faffy

Imagine enjoying your learning in the comfort of your own creative space with all your favorite things around you. Zoom classes are the next best thing to being in a classroom because they are get to see everyone and connect via discussions, questions, sharing, show and tell, breakout sessions and you get personal attention. Video demonstrations and presentations are very easy to view. I enjoyed the ZOOM classroom very much...the bonus is I live over 2000 km away from where the course was offered. Lucky Me!


Diane Tindall

Instagram: @dtindall982020

Staff (Amanda) and instructors (Lori and Jill) were so patient and helpful in helping all of us become comfortable using the Zoom format. Any hesitation I had in using an online format was quickly put to rest and I quickly enjoyed the time to have fun and create with inspiring instructors!




Rivian Bütikofer

Spring 2020


Denise Paccione


Instagram: @denise.paccione

I’ve found my Zoom art class to be even more productive and inspirational. The class is more interactive—inspiring and supporting one another. It’s also much easier to ask questions and get feedback from the instructor—and from other participants. Best of all, no traffic or parking fees.



Ma Nelly Barquin

I so enjoyed my online class I couldn’t believe it. The interaction with my peers and the teacher’s control of the class was wonderful!




Sharon Carol Demery

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Sharon Carol Demery.


Bella Bishop

Sharon’s Alla Prima class was instructive, inspirational & so fun!


Josephine Von Herzen

What fun to have this class online. It was very interactive with our teacher Sharon and the other students as well. I really appreciated being able to continue my art learning during this difficult time!




Stan Goudey

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Stan Goudey.


Anne Finch

Being able to take an art class while being in my own studio is the best. No long drives, no searching for parking, no carting art supplies, just fun from the comfort of home. Best silver lining of the quarantine!


Caroline Hightower

I am very appreciative of the Athenaeum's quick, creative and flexible response to the COVID 19 pandemic. You have organized a wonderful selection of classes and with a variety of delivery systems. Your teachers are to be commended for their courage to try something new, for their creativity in presenting lessons in this new format, and for their love of ART and their willingness to move forward into this new COVID 19 world.


Judith Langhoff

At first, I thought a Zoom art class would not be for me, but now, after taking one thru the Athenaeum, I find--not only do I love the fact that I don't have to drive in traffic, find a parking space, and tote all sorts of art supplies--but the extra time I have not traveling gives me more time to play around with my art supplies! Also, if the chance for me to travel comes up again, I can STILL attend a Zoom class, no matter where I may be.




Pat Kelly

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Pat Kelly.


Farrah Golchin

Amanda and Pat did an excellent job.



Jennifer Meek

I have taken three on-line classes so far, with three different instructors. Each has their own approach, but it works! They use cameras for "hands-on" demonstration and use PowerPoint, which has drawing and painting tools, for "whiteboard" demonstrations and to display e-mailed student work for critiques. Zoom is easy to use and there is a short lesson at the beginning of the session to be sure all students know how to use it.


Jean Snow

I would create another category higher than excellent. Truly outstanding. Pat's embracing of the new Zoom format has shown her depth and breadth of knowledge, and commitment to teaching even more fully. I feel fully mentored by a MASTER! Considering the format is completely new, I feel that Pat Kelly is continuously working hard to master and extend the usefulness of it. I think that she has been able to impart her knowledge - especially that which is important and understandable by advanced painters more effectively in a group setting with this format because of being able to bring in lots of additional resource materials to the presentation. Also, she can bring resources into her presentations that are specific to each student's projects and cover a lot of material by having the students send her photos of their work prior to the class. She is also digitally annotating student works as we watch to illustrate ideas for improving our paintings.


Kathleen Kriegman

Pat Kelly is an EXCEPTIONAL instructor, in person or on Zoom. She is an artist of note who can break down just how to paint, both Directly as in Plein Aire, or Indirectly, as in the Classical Method of Values and Glazing to a finished painting. I'm very happy she lives within the range of San Diego. This course on Zoom has given Pat a format where she can use Power-Point to explain what Plein Aire is and give illustrations of Artists. but she also can critique our work with the images we send to her and her use of correcting with a marker just where we can improve. The whole class benefits with these critiques.




Ernesto Rivera

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Ernesto Rivera.


Jill Murray


Instagram: @stem_girlz

Twitter: @stem_girlz 

I was amazed at how well the Zoom course was developed and managed. I'm thankful the online opportunity presented itself just at the time I needed it. Once we're back will be great but I think online courses should be available also.


Adriana Heldiz

So much of what is happening in the world is out of our control right now. But having the opportunity to learn and improve a skill we’re passionate about is a true luxury. Online classes can be scary, but I encourage you to take a leap of faith for all those who can’t.




Dr. Cliff Oliver

Spring 2020


Adele Fader

The Zoom format made it extremely easy to learn and experiment with the material. I think it's an ideal combination of the social experience of being in a class and the privacy and comfort of being in my own home.


Robin B. Luby

The Zoom format actually made it easier for the class to meet since we didn't have to leave home. We were able to submit our photos for critique online as well, and that made it much easier to see everyone's work and learn directly.


Robyn Bottomley and Glenn Gutridge


Loved it. We are all finding our own way.


Robyn Bottomley and I took Cliff’s class… excellent. It has opened my iPhone to new creativity. ZOOM is for every skill set. It is perfect for presentation and interactive training. I was able to immediately apply Cliff’s recommendation and see results. Cliff is an excellent instructor.





Michelle Montjoy

Spring 2020


Mark Pullin


Instagram: @mbpullin

Interesting ideas and information shared by the instructor and fellow students. Fun!


Anne Porter

While Zoom itself depends on our own computer's cameras and our techno-abilities, it provides a forum where the companionship and class-room experience is fully present. I don't know what I would've done during the darkest days without these classes.




Sharon Carol Demery

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Sharon Carol Demery.


Chuck Laughlin

Zoom means you can take the class anywhere... even when traveling. And friends, in different cities, can join you... making the class even more fun.


Robin Nordhoff

The zoom format lets you enjoy the instruction without the hassles. I am able to continue my journey remotely. I’d love to have the lectures presented on Zoom also.


Karen Sage

Take a Zoom art class! You don’t have to haul your art materials to a location only to discover you forgot something. Zoom is so much easier.


Pauline Beausoleil

Instagram: @PBeauArt


I have taken this class in person and on Zoom. I have enjoyed both immensely! The zoom class is so convenient and easy to use--anyone can join and it is not overly technical to get started. I would love to have the option for both formats in the future.


Sue Alper

I personally thought the zoom format worked very well. I will be signing up for two more classes.


Suzanne Kuempel

I loved the zoom format. I live in Texas and my sister takes from Sharon. I’ve been very impressed by her work since she’s been taking from Sharon. As a result of Covid 19, Pauline told me about the class. I got to have the great instruction with my sister and loved every minute of it, since I don’t live in La Jolla. I have enrolled to take her color theory class coming at the end of June, got my daughter to join in as well. 👍👍👍. Hope it is also on zoom.


Sara Matta

Taking Sharon Demery’s class (Going Abstract) in the ON-LINE format is just as inspiring as the regular studio experience and it is a whole lot easier on the students. I loved having no commute time and not having to pack up and transport my art supplies both ways. The technology took a little bit of getting used to, but no-one needs to be intimidated by it. I think the instructors may have to work a bit harder at ensuring and encouraging the broad participation and transmission of enthusiasm among students, since we can’t wander around and engage with each other. But with an attentive instructor, much of that great interaction is still possible on Zoom. I hope the Athenaeum will keep the on-line option going after we’re ‘back to normal’.





Ken Goldman

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Ken Goldman.


Ingrid Turner

I have been thrilled to be able to take their classes (just finishing Ken's class, and adding Stephanie's at the end of the month).  I live in Orange County and am not able to attend local San Diego classes. This was a marvelous opportunity for me to study with these two wonderful artists from the comfort of my own home. I really enjoyed the Zoom format. In our class we had a different live model each week. Our teacher worked alongside us, demonstrating as we sketched/painted. We could watch him as well as work ourselves. He was available to help with any questions and look at our work. It was a wonderful experience. What a gift! Thanks to the Athenaeum!


Jain Malkin

It is so comfortable working in my own studio and taking a class. I have a large monitor and Zoom has worked out flawlessly. You can click on any of the other participants and see what they are doing and also watch the instructor demos. And no parking issues!


Mary Lynn Price

Zoom worked very well for me.


Nancy Phillips

Art Classes on Zoom offer greater flexibility. The instruction is both personal and inspiring. You can watch the instructor do their demonstration and do your own painting at will going back and forth without hesitation. Individual critiques and group critiques are up to you. Great versatility.



Stephanie Friedrich

 Having Zoom classes with Ken & Stephanie has been an absolute life-saver during this crazy pandemic. Even the occasional technological glitch hasn’t phased them, or the students. Ken and Stephanie always find something creative and positive and their classes are so rewarding. Ken has a great way of finding the positives in your work and using that to develop other strengths.





Jeff Yeomans

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Jeff Yeomans.


Alison Howard

Love that I can still enjoy an art class and learn from the comfort of my own home!


Brent Jacobs

Excellent one on one critiques.




Sibyl Rubottom

Spring 2020


Learn more about the current Fall Session art class with Sibyl Rubottom.


Anne Porter

In addition to wonderful art training, we signed on for a Zoom training and it made everything so much easier. This class was a two-fer!


Beth Manke


Instagram: @bethmanke

I was interested in the collage class (when it was slated to be offered in person) but could not attend as I live in Long Beach. When it shifted to an online format I was able to join. At first I wondered how we could fill 3 hours of time together on Zoom, but the time flies. We learned new techniques, shared our work (easily done using the Share Screen function), and spent time collaging in real time. The online format also allowed other artists to join our class to talk about their work, something that would have been difficult to accomplish if we met in person as many artists don't live locally or would not have been able to make the trip to the studio. Doing the class online also allowed us to see "inside" the artists' studio. We were able to see Sybil's studio and the ways she organizes her work space. Other positives include no commute time, a relaxing environment where we all had access to our own tools at home. I'm a big fan of the online class. Keep them coming as I will continue to register!





Pierre Bounaud

Winter 2020


Dina Zuanich

Instructor was excellent, patient and informative, Pierre was awesome. I loved how thorough Pierre was in explaining the science or chemistry behind the various materials, i.e. why you approach it this way or that. He was someone that has such a good balance between the creative and the science.


Bina Patel

A very supportive and friendly instructor... Learned a lot in a fun environment.


Amy Williams

Instagram: @artsygirlamy

Pierre was great at helping us all develop our hand-building skills. He was awesome at showing us how to shape and form our projects by using different techniques and tricks. He was patient and knowledgeable with all aspects of design, function and process, and was willing and able to offer helpful suggestions and insight on our creations. His class was fun and informative.



Nichole Condon

Pierre was informative and knowledgeable but beyond that, he listened to students' questions/comments and responded with further information or demonstration, or both. He is very approachable and extremely patient - he is also realistic when helping students to set goals for the class.



Athenaeum's School of the Arts


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.