Museo Art Academy has been raising the bar in art education for over 9 years. And it's all because of our founder and president, Marci Knutsen. Marci is a fellow art lover and experienced businesswoman. Along with the teachers and directors you see at the academy, Marci keeps Museo running behind the scenes. We sat down with her to learn more about her background and interests.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I love spending as much time as I can with my family. My husband and I live in Sammamish and have two fabulous kiddos; one is a freshman at the University of Washington and the other is a freshman at Eastlake High School. They’ve all been very supportive in the development and growth of Museo Art Academy and I am incredibly grateful for all of them!
I have an adorable dog, Mozzi (part German Shepherd, part Golden Retriever), who I spend a lot of time with. He’s almost always by my side! I enjoy working on home remodel projects and spending time reading/learning, painting, drawing and skiing.
What's your artistic background?
I’ve been a designer since I was a kid. I think my first official gig was designing a logo for my girl scout troop around the age of 9. I then became a “professional” when I created some corporate branding work for several small businesses as a teenager. I have a BFA in Graphic Design and Visual Communications from Cornish College and worked as a designer, art director and creative director prior to moving into marketing. My fine art strengths lean toward traditional illustration, acrylic painting and pottery which proved to be very helpful in developing the curriculum for many art education programs.
What made you want to start an art academy?
Art has played an important role in my life from a young age; always drawing, painting and hand-lettering since I can remember. I endured a very abusive childhood and attribute art to "saving me". As a young adult, I had been heading down a self-destructive path when I enrolled at Cornish and my life changed. I completed a series of conceptual pieces that forced me to finally process, and thankfully begin to overcome the emotional damage from the past. Understanding first-hand how important creative skills are in a child's healthy development, I didn't hesitate when the opportunity came along to provide art classes to kids.
What is your favorite part about Museo?
I'm very proud of the fact that Museo Art Academy steps in where a lot of schools drop off. We avoid taking the "cookie cutter" approach to art-making in a group where it's all about the product, or end result. Instead, we focus heavily on the process and provide instruction in conceptual exploration and skill-building which cultivates creativity and individual expression in each of our students.
Who is your favorite artist?
I honestly don't have one. I'm drawn to the more modern artists—Picasso, de Kooning, Calder, Rothko and others; always intrigued by use of unique materials, color and texture but I also have a tremendous appreciation for the cultural story-telling aspects of the classical artists.
What do you see in Museo's future?
Museo Art Academy will continue to grow with our students. We're regularly adding new media and techniques to our curriculum in response to our students' interests. We have several students who have been with us for many, many years and we're honored to be able to experience their creative journey with them. We'll be expanding our access to students by opening additional locations as well as establishing an online class program in the near future.
What advice would you give parents? Students?
Students will benefit by listening closely to their instructors and asking questions when something isn’t clear to them. Even if a technique is confusing or complicated, it pays off to stick with it—practice, practice, practice. Buy a sketchbook and use it everyday. Once you have some good foundation skills established, it’s a lot easier to move into new ways to express yourself effectively.
I encourage parents to actively support their child’s learning process. Get involved. Chat with your child’s instructor regularly to better understand the work they’re doing in class and then do what you can to help apply those learnings to the everyday experiences around you. It’s fun and easy. For example, if your child is learning about warm and cool colors during art class, spend five minutes on the drive home identifying examples of each.
Wanna hear some awesome news? We've added a new class to our roster. The new clay wheel class is starting on February 5th! We currently teach polymer clay and hand-building classes each week. But there has been so much demand for wheel throwing that we created a brand new class to fill the need.
Everybody should throw on the wheel at least once in their life. It's a very mesmerizing, hands-on experience. And the beautiful thing is that kids can have fun whether they create a perfect vessel or not.
Here's more information about the class starting on 2/5/16:
CLAY WHEEL CLASS
Time: 5:20-6:20 Fridays
Class Size: min 2, max 6
Fee: $95/mo (4 classes) and deposit. Firing fees will be assessed and charged separately.
Designed for beginners, this class offers a general overview of the ceramics process through combined hand-building and wheel throwing work. Students will learn and experiment with a variety of pottery-making techniques including slab and coil forms, surface design, glazing, firing and 1:1 training on the potter’s wheel.
If you're interested in learning how to throw, as well, we offer adult art workshops. Learn more about them here.
We loved the Winter Break Camps back in December so much that we decided to do another one this February! When school lets out for mid-winter break, we'll be here ready to make art all day long. We'll take advantage of no-school days with 3-hour classes over the course of 4 fun days. Each class session will cover a one or two different projects in various art media.
We offer two sessions of camp from February 15-18. You can choose the morning camp (from 9am-12pm) or the afternoon camp (from 1pm-4pm) or BOTH! For students who want to attend both camps, we offer a supervised lunch break, as well.
If you're not an existing student who attends weekly classes, don't worry! This is a great opportunity to learn about a lot of art in a short amount of time. We welcome all friends, old and new.
Learn more about camp and sign up here. Register ASAP to secure a spot, as this is one of our most popular camps. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Have you ever been to the Wine Walk downtown? It's a fun "first Friday" series that offers wine tastings and fun events at various venues throughout downtown Issaquah. We're happy to partner with the city to provide fun art projects at each Wine Walk this year from February through June.
The first night is on February 5th. We'll be in the library making fun linocut prints. Stop by to say hi and make one yourself!
Being the awesome and supportive parent that you are, you're always looking for new ways to connect with your child. If your son or daughter can't get enough of all things art, you might consider adding art journaling to your list of projects to try out in the upcoming year. Art journals are essentially visual journals that combine sketches and writing. Your child might already keep a sketchbook to organize drawings, but they can take it to the next level by turning their sketchbook into an art journal with words and pictures intermixed.
The best part about this project is that you can do it with your child! Read on to learn more about how to start an art journal and ways to bond with your child by getting involved yourself.
We're so happy with the turnout of our first ever Manga Night at Museo. Manga Night is our newest Friday Night event (in addition to Pizza & Picasso and Masters Night). Over 20 people showed up to learn about Character Design with Miss Sarah! Students learned about body proportions and manga styling, then created their own characters with markers and watercolors.
Seating is already limited for our next Manga Night on February 12, so be sure to sign up early. If you're interested in diving deeper into the world of manga, check out our weekly classes here.
We love when new people sign up for art classes at Museo. It means more and more parents notice something special in their children and decide to nurture it. As part of our Enrollment Drive (which lasts the entire month of January), we're giving away ONE FREE DROP-IN CLASS to all new students.
If your child is already a student at our academy, this is a perfect chance to invite a friend (or 12...the more, the merrier!) to see how we operate. You can pick up referral cards (pictured above) at the front desk, or simply tell your friends to register online. The referral card isn't necessary to enroll, but it is a nice physical reminder of the free class. This offer is only valid for brand new students.
What do I get out of it?
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our January Enrollment Drive has officially begun! Students can win an ART MEGA PACK valued at over $200 if they refer the most friends who sign up for weekly classes. All referrals are still eligible for the ongoing referral discount.
Basically, all you have to do is tell everyone you know about how awesome Museo is! If they sign up as your referral, we'll take note of it. At the end of January, we'll tally up all the referrals and give the prize to the student who refers the most new students.
Want to see what the mega pack looks like? Come on in to our studio to see it on display in all its glory. Or check out the picture below.
We love living in the Pacific Northwest. But after so many days of rain, your kids might be bouncing off the walls with pent up energy. When you've exhausted all of your go-to activities and resources (and there's still 3 days until art class), it's Museo to the rescue! We've come up with a compilation of fun art activities to keep your creative child happy on that 8th (9th, or 10th) day of rain.
As a parent, you want to expose your child to a variety of activities and interests at a young age. That's why you bring them to art class (and/or dance, sports and music lessons). You encourage their artistic abilities because you saw a spark of talent in them early on. Or maybe you simply want them to enjoy art and explore their creativity. Whatever your reason for enrolling your child in art class, we appreciate your support. Artistic children thrive when their parents recognize and foster talent.
As the new year begins, you may wonder what 2016 will bring for your child when it comes to art. Will their drawing skills improve? Will they make new friends with similar interests? Will they understand how colors convey feelings? Will they learn about history through the context of art? Will they learn how to express their emotions better via the artistic process?
While our teachers work hard to foster all of these facets of art education, there are things you can do to encourage your child to grow in art this year. Here are 4 simple ways to make 2016 your child's best art year yet.
If your child is enrolled in weekly art classes, they're off to a good start. But if art is truly how your child processes the world around them, they might crave more art time during the week. Set up a space in your home where your child can go anytime to create art freely.
You can put a small table or desk in a corner of your kitchen or their bedroom. Keep a small desk organizer filled with art supplies on the table for easy access. Some good (and clean) options are white and colored paper, crayons, colored pencils, stickers, washi tape, cardboard, string, tissue paper, cloud clay, and pipe cleaners.
No need to set up a dedicated "art time". Allow your child to choose when and how they create, and it will become a place of self-guided learning and growth.
Give Them a Sketchbook
Artists use sketchbooks to jot down ideas, keep a visual journal, or practice drawing skills while out and about. If you notice your child constantly drawing, give them a sketchbook to keep their drawings organized. It's fun to look back on an old sketchbook and see how much they've improved. Not to mention, sketchbooks hone observational drawing skills.
Sketchbooks are best used on the go. Your child may draw a dancer while waiting for their sibling at dance class, or sketch a tree at the park. They could observe people at the airport and practice figure drawing. Older children might jot down a thought and draw the most memorable thing from that day. Sketchbooks can be as varied as the artists who draw in them.
Praise the Process, Not the Product
Maybe your child really loves art but is too young to bring home stunning pieces just yet. Or maybe their behavior and mood improves when they take art classes, but they're not there for the end product. How can you encourage this type of artist?
As with all young artists, you should praise the process and not the product. You might notice an improvement in line quality, painting skills, or focus. Or maybe their teacher commented on an improvement in listening skills and speaking out of turn. Give praise for small victories that aren't necessarily related to the quality of the final project. Your child will learn that art has inherent value besides aesthetics.
Bring Art Alive
Nothing is more exciting for a young artist than seeing "real" art in person! Make a point to go to local museums and galleries. Chances are good that your nearest museum offers tours where children can engage in artwork with the help of a museum professional. Even if you don't go on a guided tour, walking through the museum together will expose your child to a more tangible art world outside their art classroom.
Thank you for investing in your child's artistic future! Let us know how you encourage art in your home in the comments below.
Sharing our love of art education, one post at a time.