Firstlight Art Academy

Become The Artist You Dream About

Personalized Art Instruction for Kids, Teens, & Adults

Join A Class At Any Time

A program just for you

Classes for all ages and all skill levels.

Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced

Find more information about the classes and our curriculum further down this page.


In one word, our program is all about


School Year Programs

Our Small Program

Classes meet once a week for an hour and a half. Supplies are included.
These lessons preview concepts and techniques in the older classes.


4 and 5

Age Group


6 and 7

Age Group

COST: $1110/yr ($116 monthly installments)

SUPPLIES: included

Our Big Program

Classes meet once a week for an hour and 45 minutes. Supplies are needed.


8, 9 & 10

Age Group


10, 11, & 12

Age Group


13 – 18

Age Group




(Includes Intermediate: Creations and Advanced: Expressions)

COST: $1227/yr ($129 monthly installments)

SUPPLIES: Around $215 including a case

Our Cartooning Program

Classes meet once a week for an hour and a half. Supplies are needed.

Toons 1

10 – 12

Age Group

Toons 2

11 – 14

Age Group


13 – 18

Age Group

COST: $1227/yr ($129 monthly installments)

SUPPLIES: Around $115 including a case

Learn More About Cartooning Lower on the Page

All Courses* include

10 FREE passes to our Saturday open studios

Open Studio $5 - Now EVERY Saturday During The School Year

  • KidsART for ages 4 - 8
    11:00 am to 12:30
  • Everyone else ages 8 and up
    1:00 to 3:30 pm
    Kids, teens, and adults all have separate rooms

No supplies? No Problem, it's only $5 more to use ours.

Open Studio is available to Everyone!*

Please sign up for a session using one of the buttons below, based on your current registration status.

Everyone must sign up for Open Studio sessions. Thank you!

*We do not currently offer an Open Studio time for Special Needs Students. We hope to in the future.

Give us a call. We're happy to answer your questions.

how to sign up

for our programs

Schedule of School Year Classes

Pinch/zoom the graphic to enlarge

The 2019-20 School year courses run

August 19 – May 22

You may join a class at any time.

Designed by Artists, for Artists

Classes for all ages and all skill levels.


We are a safe place for first-time artists, or anyone who has never had training before. More than that, at Firstlight, beginning artists discover and practice the critical things that make art work – the Foundations. The lessons are clear and simple. Our Foundations course, for your first 2 years, includes 72 individual lessons covering everything an artist needs to feel competent. Techniques are presented with detailed demonstrations and well-designed projects. Artists will use these foundational insights every day as their skills grow.

But these lessons are not scaled down or simplified. Our Foundations curriculum is based on college-level art school curriculum. We have made things easier to understand, and more concrete, but still robust. So Foundations is also important for intermediate level artists who have not been at Firstlight before.


Foundations is also essential for artists who have worked and even taken lessons elsewhere. We have insights and techniques that are simply not found in other programs, and allow artists more freedom to express themselves as they grow.

After our Foundations course, artists move into creating a greater number of finished works in our Creations level. Because it’s important for Foundations to be reviewed, the Creations students stay in the same classroom so they hear the lessons again, and can even help other students. It’s been discovered recently that teaching helps you learn even better than repetition. The 72 Creations lessons are more challenging versions of the Foundations course, with more room for self-expression too. It’s like an athlete lifting more weight.


Artists who want to move towards a higher level are encouraged to continue moving up to Expressions. Students work with their instructor to create a vision and work on their portfolio. The instructor coaches you through your projects. Young artists who are working towards art schools get help with admissions letters and portfolio requirements. Many of our advanced artists have been in the program for 8 years or more, but the ultimate goal is to move away from needing lessons and into your own studio.

Learn more about our curriculum and approach further below on this page.


Supplies at Firstlight

Supplies are always available at our studio at

15% off the MSRP.

All students in our Big Program must have specific supplies during each class. Visit our supplies page to get all the information, including our online order form and a downloadable checklist to see if you already have some items.

What folks say about us

Ann, adult student

The art class is the high point of my week. The teachers are great at helping us each at our level of experience. We have lots of fun, and try all different types of projects. It is a very encouraging atmosphere

Parent of 6 year old

“Art class is the highlight of his week!”

Hannah, Parent

“They both said they loved all the activities and couldn’t point out a favorite.  We most definitely will take part next summer and can recommend it to others wholeheartedly. Thanks for everything.”

Parent of 12 year old

“When I pick her up from class, she asks me if she can have art class every day after school!

Shea, Parent and student

I realized not only that she was being taught the same things I learned in art school, but that she was getting it – at only age 9. Your ability to translate it into fun for kids is wonderful.”

Allyson, Parent of 9 year old

We feel so blessed to have discovered first light.  She enjoys class so much”

We’re in Cool Springs

And pretty easy to get to.

Address in Cool Springs:
1710 General George Patton Dr
Brentwood, TN  37027

Tap the maps to enlarge.

Give us a call. We're happy to answer your questions.

student work

Oh yeah, they’re fantastic
(tap an image to open viewer)


We Use





Oil Pastels








Brush & Pen Ink

Pastel Blending

Canvas Painting

Watercolor / Paper




We have many sources of reference materials, including a small library, an image bank, and a still life object library. Subject matter may be carefully chosen to facilitate a specific project or up to the student to choose.

Students are encouraged to bring other media and try new techniques, especially after they’ve moved up to Creations and beyond, including Oil Paints, Digital Media, and Colored Pencils.

how to sign up

for our programs

“I started Firstlight in 2006, because we needed a community art school that focused on each student’s goals.”

Dennas Davis

Firstlight's original curriculum Is groundbreaking, yet grounded in the classic methods.

Fun And Encouraging

"How-To" lessons are easy to understand

Variety of lessons holds your interest

Artists' Choice gives freedom for self-expression

Knowing what to do leads to confidence

Strong Curriculum

Essential techniques are always demonstrated

Lessons are designed for every age group

We've tested and refined the curriculum for over 13 years

Insights take the mystery out of creating art

A Training Approach

We take the long-term path, to really learn art

Small classes with 10-12 students

One-on-one mentoring during class

36 weeks per school-year, meeting once a week

Designed For You

Join a class at any time on our cycle

30 classes to choose from

Free Open Studio every Saturday

Supplies are available any time, and always at 15% off the MSRP


About The Toons Classes

Toons is for beginners, and also for students who have been working on their cartoons, stories and even their style, for some time. The class of first-year cartoonists covers the basics. Students learn how to develop characters, create strong images, backgrounds, draw from reference material, and create good speak-bubbles. Modeling clay is used for character development with 3D visualization. Several fun projects, like a movie poster or TV show title-screen, help students apply their skills. At the end of the year, they will create a short comic book. Please call for availability, since this class fills to capacity earlier than most.

Toons 2 is for older first-year students and advancing 2nd year students. The projects and instructions are similar to Toons 1.

Advanced Toons continues the same theme of developing characters and working towards a personal style. The projects are more challenging, and we do some projects as a team, just like professional cartoonists do. We’ll work on heads, hands, arms & legs, as well as body stance and action poses. The regular Toons class must be taken previously, or a portfolio can be submitted to bypass that course if the artist has already develped their work and is in high school. It is also good to have taken Foundations for two years, but is not required.

how to sign up

for our programs

Create your account and sign up for a class today!