About Us

We are Tucson, Arizona's most memorable mobile 2D Visual Arts school, known for fostering cooperative, encouraging & courteous experiences for adults at any skill level.

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

John Steinbeck

Our Services

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

Hands-on 2D Visual art adult classes in sketching, drawing, painting, or mixed media within a studio environment or group setting.

Creative Pathways or Social learning that supports creative individuals, where they can make meaningful connections, practice, or improve their skills.

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

We do not endorse specific artistic styles or any unique aesthetic. Individuals are encouraged to improve their skills with individual one-on-one attention and explore their creative abilities.

‘Enable adults at any 2D Visual Art skill level to learn or create within a community setting!"

Our Mission

We are atypical because we do not own or have a dedicated building. We hold classes or workshops in rented spaces around Tucson, Arizona, to strategically partner with or support other art-related non-profits, organizations, or small businesses.

We operate as a small member-managed privately-owned business that partners with others who share our vision or the same worthy cause in supporting the Visual Arts Community of Southern Arizona.

Our roots are in human connection, and we pride ourselves on making the local community a better place. It's how we got started in 2016.

We now have a dedicated community of individuals who enjoy learning and practicing the 2D Visual Arts together.

Our unique culture has evolved organically and continues to cultivate the Visual Art community of Southern Arizona.

‘Cultivate the Visual Arts Community of Southern Arizona!’

Our Vision

Learn how to sketch, draw, or paint face-to-face within a group setting in various mediums, techniques, or subjects. 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.

We do not own a dedicated building. We rent spaces that include the following. Click on each for detailed information on each location, i.e., parking.

Tucson Pastel Society (TPS)

Tucson Pastel Society (TPS)

Address: 2447 N. Los Altos Ave. Tucson, Arizona 85705
Parking & Entrance: Park behind the building and enter through the back door next to the parking lot.

International Wildlife Museum

International Wildlife Museum

Address: 4800 West Gates Pass Boulevard. Tucson, Arizona 85745
Parking & Entrance: Park in front of the building and enter through the front door. Turn left into the cafeteria.

Yume Japanese Gardens

Yume Japanese Gardens

Address: 2130 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, Arizona 85712
Parking & Entrance: Park in front. Enter the through the door from the parking lot. If the lot is full, please park behind the shopping center on the southeast corner of Grant Road. Do not park on the street.

On Location

On Location

Address: Will be provided before the first session.
Parking & Entrance: Will be provided before the first session.

Our Staff

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

Jill Bauman

Jill Bauman

Teaches drawing, colored pencil & acrylic.

Stacy Egan

Stacy Egan

Teaches watercolor and urban sketching.

Lisa Larrabee

Lisa Larrabee

Teaches drawing, painting & design.

Christy Olsen

Christy Olsen

Teaches drawing, painting & design.

Teresa Tipton

Teresa Tipton

Teaches abstract art and mixed media techniques.

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 after the "verve." The word is defined as the energy or enthusiasm behind expressing an idea.

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 that 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 you participate 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 with each other. 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 that combined 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" it will propel your artistic journey forward!

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