Here is all the wisdom we can muster. Tap the bars to open the full text below.
We are absolutely positively sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that every question you could possibly have is answered here.
Q – Do you offer art courses for grownups too?
A – Yes we do! Check the sidebar titled, “Courses”. There are daytime and evening classes offered. We even have a “MOM & PRE” offering, which are tandem classes for moms and their preschool kids in separate rooms.
Q – Do you offer art courses for children younger than school-age, or special needs?
A – Yes we do! Our KidsART courses begin at age 4. See the on-going classes page for information. We also offer summer camps for 4&5, and 6&7 year olds. If you have special needs, please call or text Dennas or Betsy.
Q – Do you have discounts for siblings or more than one class?
A – Sometimes. Please read the policies page for information about applying for a 10% discount for an extra enrollments scholarship (for our school-year program only).
Q – Are supplies included in the tuition price?
A – For our KidsART classes (ages 4 & 5, or 6 & 7), yes, the supplies are included. For all of our classes for ages 8 and up, you will need to purchase a full set of supplies in addition to tuition.
Q – Do you sell art supplies?
A – Yes we do! Check the Art Supply page.
Q – What if I already have some art supplies?
A – Bring them! In class, however, we like for everyone to be using the same 10-color paint set for mixing, and the same quality of supplies. You can use your own supplies as long as you have everything on the supply list or something that is of equal quality or better, (such as a larger pallette pad). Brushes especially, should not be budget models that come with art sets.
Q – If I sign up, how do I know what’s going on?
A – Our Website (Articles & News Page). Bookmark it or save to your home screen. School closings will be posted here, and all events or class needs. We also send out emails and even text messages when something important comes up that you need to know.
We will always send texts for last-minute updates about closings so if you want to receive these, make sure you indicate so when you create your account on our parent portal. You can change these settings at any time.
Q – What is Open Studio?
A – This is our ONCE-A-MONTH (on the first Saturday of each month) free art session for our students (11 am -12:30 pm for ages 4-8, & 1-3 pm for ages 8 and up). We understand that some artists want or need extra time to work in our studio. Also, if you miss a class, you can get some instruction for making up the missed work or catching up on a project you’re in the middle of. There is a teacher, but it’s not a structured class. You can get some help as you need it. Sometimes the teacher is painting too. All 3 studios are open and you can drop in at any time during the 3 hours. It is usually on the first Saturday of the month, and is from 1pm to 4pm.
Q – What if I need to quit the art course sometime during the year?
A – Most yearly educational courses like ours are set once you sign up, but we do offer a 30-day cancelation before our cutoff date in February. If you have something big come up unexpectedly that requires you to cancel your enrollement, please use our 30-day advance notice CANCELATION REQUEST FORM. It’s hard to fill spaces after the course is half finished, and we really can’t find reaplacements for reserved spaces after February 20, which is our cut-off date for cancelations. Please read the policy section directly below for instructions and more explanation.
Cancelling mid-year is a big deal for the class, the student, and for us since the enrollment season is in the late Summer and early Fall. Please do not sign up for other activities later on, and then try to cancel your art course mid-year. Moving out of Middle Tennessee or family health problems are good reasons to need a cancellation. Most other issues can be worked out with scholarship or scheduling changes.
Q – How should I pay tuition?
A – There are two ways to pay the tuition after you’ve made your deposit and registration fee payment. You may opt to pay all the tuition up front, or split the cost into monthly installments. Most of our families use our no-cost monthly installment plan with a credit or debit card. You can set this up when you make your account log in and/or register for a class. The monthly drafts occur on the 2nd or 3rd of each month.
Q – Can I store any art supplies at the academy?
A – Yes and no, but that doesn’t mean we’re wishy-washy. We have a space for large pads and art boards, so those can stay. The rest of the supplies need to be taken with you each week since we do not have that much storage space. The cases have nifty handles and we give you a free bag too!
Q – Do you give private lessons?
A – We do not. There is really no need for private lessons. With art, private lessons means the instructor would have most of his or her time spent waiting on the artist to get to a stopping point. As an instructor goes around one of our small classes and teaches each student individually, it’s very similar to a private lesson. We also feel strongly that art is great when it’s also a social learning experience. There is nothing like support from friends.
Q – Do I have to pay for any classes that I miss?
A – This is another good question. The answer is a simple yes, but there are several reasons why. The main thing to realize, is that we offer art courses, and you are reserving the entire course of 36 lessons. We have monthly payments as a service to our students, because most people do not want to pay all at once for the whole course. We do not charge interest at all.
• It is your responsibility to attend the course you’ve registered for. Tuition is not based on a weekly or even monthly basis, or there would be different amounts due each month.
• Life is hectic and full of things that call for our attention – all the time. For art course to be attended regularly, it needs to be a chosen commitment, instead of a decision that you make based on what is happening right before a class.
• Most Firstlight courses fill to capacity, and we often have people on waiting lists. It would be unfair for one person to reserve a valuable spot, and then not pay for it.
For all of these reasons, we charge the entire tuition for the year, regardless of classes missed. This is standard practice in all other course-style programs – for the same reasons.
Q – Can I cancel in the middle of the course?
A – We try to make this whole art class thing work without fundraisers. It’s not easy. However, one of the things we like to do, is help people when the unexpected happens. If you purchased one of our courses, but cannot finish it due to unexpected circumstances, we offer a 30-day cancellation notice and refund of remaining charges (only before February 20th of the school year). Send us this form, and tell us about your problem with continuing (moving, illness, other crisis situations). We’ll refund or stop your payment after 30 days. This allows us to find a replacement for your empty seat. If your reasons are purely financial, we’ll work as hard as we can to figure something out for you.
If you decide mid-term to sign up for other activities, please consider your schedule load before doing so. It’s not fair to people who couldn’t get a seat in your class, (or to us if we made your class work with just a few students), to cancel for adding other activities. Thank you!
Q – Why do I need to pay for 30 days after I cancel?
A – There are two reasons.
1) We are looking for committed artists, not a place for kids to just hang out. Since we can’t keep our doors open without full classes for the school year courses, we need for families to consider the decision carefully. Without a 30-day policy, and especially with our easy interest free monthly payment plan, it’s easy for someone to begin the year treating it as a month-to-month class, which it’s not. We’d hate for a person to only try us out for a month without that consideration, and then casually quit, taking a space in the class that other, more committed artists would have liked to have. Once courses are 1 or 2 months into the school year, many people will have looked elsewhere for after-school activities, and our courses may have empty spaces the rest of the year.
2) It can take time for another student to change their schedule and fill a vacant spot.
The good news is that you are encouraged to stay in the class for those 30 days and make more art!
Q – When do you close due to weather or holidays?
A – Weather-related closings are based on road conditions, and we wait as long as we can before canceling classes. We do not follow the Williamson County public school closings. They tend to close when there is no actual snow or very little, and well… kids like to get out for art class. However, if there actually has been snow, and there is ANY ice or slushy stuff on any roads, then we are usually going to be closed.
We will let you know via a TEXT MESSAGE that goes out to the classes meeting that day. Please opt in for text messages so you’ll receive these.
For holidays, you can see our calendar. We have 4 weeks off each year, and only one Monday holiday, Labor Day. Here’s the rundown:
- School-year session runs Mid August to the week before Memorial Day, which is 40 weeks total time.
- We have 36 weeks of curriculum.
- Labor Day we do not meet. We DO meet the Monday before Thanksgiving, to make up for Labor Day.
- We do not have classes the rest of Thanksgiving week.
- We take off 2 weeks at Christmas.
- We take off a week at the same time as Williamson County Schools for Spring break.
- There are no other Monday holidays after Labor day. We are here for all the others.
Q – How do I make up a snow day?
A – When we miss a class, we slide the curriculum forward. Then when we have a day of artists’ choice (usually towards the end of the school year), we will skip over that week since it can be made up much easier than a more critical lesson. For make-ups, we are open 9 Saturdays each year. Please come to these to make up for any missed classes.
Q – Is there child care provided during classes for younger siblings?
A – No, but we do have a small library room if you want to hang out. Space is limited. Siblings need to remain in the library, not in the classrooms. We have free WiFi.
Q – Why do you not use oil paints in art classes?
A – Acrylics offer a wider range of techniques and is much less expensive. While oil is unique and wonderful, it can also cause allergic reactions in many people, and is very difficult to clean up. It’s also harder to find good pigments and mediums that are non-toxic.
In advanced courses oils can be used – with a couple of healthly-minded restrictions.
Q – Can I stay and wait during my child’s class?
A – Absolutely, and we have some chairs, a small table and free WiFi. Just know that there’s not a whole lot of space and kids are coming and going. It’s up to you if you want to hang out with us or go run errands.
Q – What should I wear to class?
A – Everyone should try to wear old clothes that they can get paint on, or bring a smock or apron. In the winter, an apron doesn’t help keep paint off of long sleeves though. Plan for messiness! The best idea is to have a long-sleeved shirt for a smock in your art bag.
Q – Do you offer scholarships?
A – Yes. We have an application that can be obtained by emailing using the tab below, and asking specifically about it. Scholarships are awarded based on need and talent, and cover half of the tuition for the year. We get a lot of emails so put “enrollment scholarship” (without quotes) into the subject line. You might also want to call or text. Actually, you should call or text. Often.
Email form for scholarship – write “scholarship” in the subject line.
This is not that gobbledey-gook that lawyers write. We didn’t even hire one. Please read, because this is your guide, full of things you need to know.
We worked hard to make our policies understandable, and maybe even a little bit fun. If you need to, you can call or email with further questions.
1. The school-year classes at Firstlight are 36-week courses and have a full tuition that is due upon registration – unless you opt for our no-cost monthly payment plan. Please understand that if you pay monthly installments, you are not paying month to month for classes. It’s an installment plan to pay for the entire course. Monthly-plan drafts use a credit or debit card, and occur on the 2nd or 3rd of each month.
When you register, just choose which option you want. It’s set to the monthly payments by default, but you can switch it to pay the full year by using the drop-down menu option. There is a small savings if you choose to pay up front. The software pro-rates the amounts automatically.
2. Siblings or any second and third classes/students will receive a 10% discount on school-year classes (not available in the summer).
3. It’s your responsibility to attend your classes. No refunds can be made for classes that are missed because that would pretty much make us go bye bye. We have a cool thing though; all students may come into our open studios for free! These take place once each month, most often on the first Saturday of the month. They are there so you can catch up if needed, or just to enjoy working on art projects! Ages 4 – 7 or 8 (KidsART classes) are in the mornings 11 am to 12:30, and ages 8 and up are in the afternoons from 1 – 4 pm.
Please read our Frequently Asked Questions section above for more information. We have tried a zillion ways to make everything work and this is it. Really it is.
4. Temporary supplies will be available in the room so if you forget your case or bag, chill.
5. Please don’t let your children run out to the car without letting the teacher know parents have arrived! We will freak out. Children and teenagers cannot be left unattended at the school to wait after the school is closed. We will sit there with them until we hand them off to you. No joke!
AND ALSO, please do not park along the sidewalk to wait or go get your child. This blocks other people from parking, leaving, and even pulling into our facility from the street. Instead, please use a designated parking spot. Thank you.
6. Feverish dripping-nose kiddos will be quarantined, prayed over, and sent home. Try your best to avoid this scenario.
7. Closings: All Weather-related closings will be posted on our website Student Homepage, on twitter, and facebook. If you have classes that day, you’ll receive a TEXT MESSAGE if you’ve opted in for them.
We do not always follow Williamson county weather closings, as they tend to be a bit, shall we say, jumpy? about snow and ice. If there is NO snow or ice, we are here. Also, if the snow or ice comes at 5 or 6, we may close even if school was in session, since everyone will be driving students home after dark. Ice + dark is not a good equation and we do not want you sliding around on it.
8. Our holidays, Christmas & Spring break are the same as Williamson County Schools. See the calendar. The week of Thanksgiving we have classes only on Monday, and the rest of the week is off. We do NOT close for Monday holidays, except for Labor Day.
9. If you can’t finish your course – We need 30 days advance notice on or before our cancelation cut-off date of February 20th using our CANCELATION REQUEST FORM. We understand when things happen unexpectedly. We just ask you to TALK to us if something big comes up. Please call Dennas at 615-202-6426. Please read our Frequently Asked Questions (Q & A) also on this page, for more information, and look at our detailed cancelation explanation at the bottom of this page in the colored area. Appropriate reasons for cancelling a course after you purchased it and have used it for several months are thing such as moving out of the middle TN area or family health problems. Changing your class/schedule or applying for a scholarship can solve most any other problems that arise.
Whatever you do, please don’t attempt to make any changes in your class by speaking to one of us in person, especially when classes are going or ending, or starting, or about to start, or well, any other time. Let us make it clear; all verbal communication will be forgotten immediately by visual people like us. (“who was that I just spoke with?! didn’t they have a purple shirt?) Only by using the cancelation request form can a tuition be refunded or payments stopped. And only before our cut off date. (ok, if something really freaky happens, call. We are pretty understanding folks).
11. Permissions. Unless you let us know otherwise, in the act of registering for a course, you give Firstlight permission to reproduce photos of your artwork that has been created in the classroom, ONLY for use in promoting Firstlight Arts Academy and our sister curriculum site, ArtSquish.com in our advertising, promotions, and web pages. We do not have any interest other than that.