About Us

We are Tucson's most memorable mobile art school. We offer hands-on 2D visual art classes for adults in drawing, painting, mixed media, or design within a studio environment or group setting. 

We are known for fostering an encouraging, supportive, and respectful environment that is warm, welcoming, and non-judgmental for adults at any skill level who want to practice, learn, or improve their 2D Visual Arts skills.

Our Services

Adults and ages over 16 (or accompanied by a guardian) at any level are welcome to register or enroll today!

‘Enable adults at any skill level to practice, learn or create the 2D Visual Arts within a group setting!"

Our Mission

We Offer

Hands-on 2D visual art academic classes for adults in drawing, painting, mixed media, or design within a studio environment or group setting.

Hands-on hybrid 2D visual art or open studio-type formatted classes with an informal framework to support independent study or social learning where adults may improve their skills, choose their own projects, or make meaningful connections.

Instructor one-on-one feedback for those who want to further cultivate, improve, or develop their 2D Visual Art skills.

‘Cultivate the Visual Arts Community of Southern Arizona!’

Our Vision

We Are Unique!

We are a mobile art school! We do not have a dedicated building. We hold classes or workshops in rented spaces around Tucson, Arizona, to support others who share our exact vision or the same worthy cause.

Our instructors do not endorse any specific artistic style or unique aesthetics. Individuals are encouraged to improve their skills with individual one-on-one attention and explore their own artistic style or creative abilities.

We work to (1) champion learner success, (2) embrace individual or unique aesthetics, (3) advance inclusion, and (4) cultivate the visual arts community.

We Love It!

Our roots are in human connection, and our unique culture has evolved organically. We pride ourselves on making the local community a better place. It's how we got started.

We operate as a small, member-managed, privately-owned business that strategically partners with other art-related organizations, non-profits, or small businesses to support and cultivate the local Visual Arts Community.

We now have a dedicated community of individuals who support us and enjoy learning, creating, and cultivating the 2D Visual Arts!

Here's what our students are saying...


From students or life-long learners who have attended adult studio art classes, workshops, or events with us!

Art Verve Academy is a wonderful, friendly place to learn and do art. The instructors are extremely skillful and knowledgeable. I find their classes exciting and so much fun. I highly recommend taking classes from Art Verve Academy!

Adele Abrams
Previously enrolled in watercolor classes.

Instructors are a talented group. They provide constructive feedback.

Pere' Summers
Previously enrolled in drawing facial features classes.

Great watercolor instruction and a wonderful community of artists to talk with and learn from.

Rebecca Miller
Previously enrolled in drawing and watercolor classes.

I had put down my art interest for more than two years. I needed something to 'kick-start' it again. I took two classes from Art Verve Academy.

They were 'Drawing the Human Head' with Christy Olsen and 'Exploring Watercolor Textures' with Stacy Egan.

Both of these classes & their instructors were very, very good & just what I needed to 'kick-start' my art activities again.

I would strongly recommend these classes & the Art Verve Academy!!!"

John Liebert
a.k.a. Artist Wannabe! Previously enrolled in drawing and watercolor classes.

Our Staff

Our Instructors love to share their techniques and are known for creating a supportive classroom environment.

Our Instructors love to share their knowledge. They are known for facilitating an encouraging, supportive, and respectful environment that is warm, welcoming, and non-judgmental.

For a list of our current instructors, click here.

Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.

John Steinbeck

The administration is responsible for planning events, scheduling, renting facilities, financial transactions, and maintaining accounting records.

The director provides, enforces, and evaluates academy policies or guidelines. Our current director is Christy Olsen.

Our Story

We didn't know we were a thing until we got the "verve." The definition of the word "verve" is the energy or enthusiasm behind expressing an idea.

Our Story

On one hot summer's day in 2015, a local art organization in Tucson, Arizona, received an unexpected donation.

After providing a dance every Saturday night since 1972, "Singles & Friends," a non-profit organization, donated their building fit for a dance hall to the Tucson Pastel Society (TPS).

Conveniently located at 1st and Grant with an ample open space spanning 1,832 square feet, this building was perfect for studio art classes and workshops.

Tucson Pastel Society (TPS) Building

Artwork by Stacy Egan

Upon receiving this generous donation, the Tucson Pastel Society, an existing 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, would call upon the surrounding community's aid to help raise maintenance funds.

In the spring of 2016, a small group of independent artists began teaching art classes at the site to help maintain and renovate the building and bring it up to city code.

Those classes were well received, students requested more, and the Art Verve Academy became a thing.

Verve is synonymous with vigor, defined as the energy or enthusiasm behind expressing an idea, and it is vital in the creative process! Whether they know it or not, artists need this stuff to keep creating. Notice how we said, "Keep on creating,"…

It's not an energy drink or a rock band…verve' is a noun synonymous with 'vigor' defined as the following:

  1. Energy or enthusiasm in expressing ideas, especially in artistic performance or composition. An example would be "the revival lacked the verve of the original musical." 
  2. vitality; liveliness

(Vermeer, Johannes. The Art of Painting. c. 1666. Oil on canvas. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.)

Have you ever taken a class and created something you liked or were really proud of, then thought, "I can do this!" You then proceed after the class with enormous motivation to go home or out into the world and create even more. You envision yourself creating a massive quantity of work or practicing day after day, honing your skills to become a master, only to find yourself a few weeks later staring at all of your art supplies collecting dust?

You may need the artistic verve!

Folks who create art, whether they are new to the process or masters, need inspiration, support, or a community in which to build. No one tells you that in art school, there is a romantic idea that you will graduate with your degree in art, step up a workspace, start creating, and presto. You become a professional artist!

On the other hand, for beginners or self-taught, there are so many reasons to create, but nothing seems to be happening in your workspace. It's similar to what's commonly referred to as writer's block but for visual artists. The secret ingredient is that a community or collective group of people is part of the equation, and you need that to be inspired, create with vigor, or get the enthusiasm behind an idea.

Whether you recognize it or not, you get the verve when participating in an art class. This event is why you get so motivated afterward beyond attending class or doing your homework. Art Guilds can also have the same effect. They facilitate events for people to draw or paint together.

History repeats itself over and over. Ever wonder why all those famous artists were always found hanging out with one another? A great example of this was the French Impressionists and their artistic movement. They all knew each other, hung out together, and sometimes even shared studio spaces. Together, they changed the world!

Some of the most famous artistic movements were spawned by art schools where the students collaboratively communicated ideas or inspiration with each other. The Bauhaus was a renowned art school in Germany and a perfect example of combining the visual arts with crafts. In the early 20th century, their students were responsible for the Art Deco movement and its incredible architectural designs that are now permanently reflected in New York's Chrysler Building.

These folks, with or without awareness, share artistic techniques and use each other as sounding boards for new ideas. Together, they formed the "verve" for one another, which motivated their community to continue to create over time. Barbara Streisand said it the best in the movie Funny Girl, "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world."

Take a workshop or class, or join our community to experience the "verve" that will propel your artistic journey forward!

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