Our Story

Our Story

Whether you are an absolute beginner, novice, or professional artist, you will find an experience with us that will take your skills to the next level.

Take a workshop, class, or join our community, to experience the “verve,” it will propell your artistic journey forward!

How We Got Our Start?

One hot summer's day in the year 2015, a local art organization within Tucson, Arizona received an unexpected gift...

A former non-profit organization, "Singles & Friends" provided a community location for seniors to meet. Their unique location included an open space dance hall with a disco ball and DJ, every Saturday night from 1972 until they decided to disband and donate their assets. After a long success over decades, the organization donated its entire building to the Tucson Pastel Society (TPS).

The Tucson Pastel Society (TPS) Building

Artwork by Stacy Egan

After receiving this generous donation, the Tucson Pastel Society, an existing 501(c)(3) non-profit organization would call upon the aid of the surrounding community to help raise funds to renovate the building, bring it up to city code, and transform it into an Art Center. Six months later in the spring of 2016, a small group of independent artists began to help TPS sustain its monthly maintenance costs and facility operations by renting the building to teach visual art classes.

The building conveniently located at 1st and Grant has a large open space that spans 1,832 square feet, perfect for Visual Art studio practice, classes, or workshops. Those classes were so well received by the participating students that they requested more classes be offered, again and again, thus the Art Verve Academy was born. We are now Tucson's unprecedented mobile art academy, a small private local service-oriented business that continues to support the vibrant arts community, the local economy, & other art organizations.

What's a Verve?

Verve is synonymous with vigor, it's defined as the energy or enthusiasm behind the expression of an idea and it is vital in the creative process! Artists whether they know it or not, need this type of stuff in order to keep on creating and 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 the expression of 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 really liked or were really proud of then thought to yourself, “I can do this!” You then proceed after the class with an enormous amount of motivation to go home or out into the world and create even more. You envision yourself creating a huge 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 be missing 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 create. 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 those who are self-taught, there are so many reasons to create but nothing seems to be happening in your workspace. It's a similar situation 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 are 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, when you participate in an art class, you are getting the verve. This event is why you get so motivated afterward beyond going to 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 of those famous artists throughout history 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 in some cases 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 famous 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, were all sharing artistic techniques and using 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, class, or join our community, to experience the “verve,” it will propell your artistic journey forward!

We work to keep the academy running however, we do not have a full-time staff. Our co-directors are responsible for providing instructional leadership, developing, implementing, and evaluating the academy’s systems, policies, or curriculum, among other tasks.

  • We communicate or correspond with both instructors and learners.
  • We rent facilities, schedule and facilitate classes or workshops.
  • We process financial transactions and maintain accounting records.