Our first studio opened in 1991 In Fort Langley BC, in Gasoline Alley. Our second one opened in White Rock BC. Our third one opened Walnut Grove, Langley BC.
The Neighborhood Art School began as The Fraser River Galleries Inc. in 1992. The Gallery took a unique approach to art instruction. It taught traditional, representational methods in the heyday of Post-Modern conceptualism. It had a casual class structure which allowed students to learn at their own pace. Students were taught one-on–one in a group setting by professional artists and the school offered grassroots arts instruction to students of all ages and levels. The “Neighborhood Art Studios” (NAS) concept resulted from the success of this approach and is now available to communities everywhere. The NAS studios are licensed to instruct according to the methods and programs designed by the Fraser River Arts School and Galleries Inc.
Pictured here (back row)are Artists R.T.Barrett, Lynne Davidson, Chris MacClure,
front row: The “Ice Lady” , a visitor, Artist Ken Robinson
Our mandate is to educate all persons in our communities who want to learn about art, regardless of age, ability or experience. We have a strong emphasis on the fundamentals of drawing and painting from observation. In the academic tradition, we teach from the genres of still-life, portraiture and landscape because these arenas offer the student every opportunity for skill development. When a student learns to “see like an artist” or solve problems creatively, and is able to use her or his materials masterfully, creative expression and style are a natural consequence. We believe that drawing directly from observation is the best way to hone these skills. This is not because art should or can be an imitation of nature, but because of the concentrated effort and understanding required to manipulate the materials for a “realistic” result. This is what is meant by our use of the phrase “classical art”. Later abstractions (any departure from a naturalistic effect) based on a strong technical foundation will be made meaningful and sensitive, because the technical skills will be in the sub-conscious.
Beyond a technical foundation, we encourage the development of art as a form of idea-expression and story telling. Our goal isn’t to dictate to our students our own tastes but to teach the students how to create for themselves. We should chat with our students about different kinds of art, art history, and about what pictures mean. For the average student, we will expand their appreciation of art, and a strong student will learn to find deeper meaning in their materials and methods.
Students of our program will be required to demonstrate a commitment to learning. In exchange, our instructors are committed to helping each student develop to the height of their potential.
The NAS applies this basic teaching philosophy to all students. We wish for all of our students to acquire the same basic skills. The difference from one level or another may be in difficulty of subject matter and language, but not in content. Beginners learn in the same classroom as advanced students.