Art Classes

School Year Program

Kids | Teens | Adults | Special Needs

Tap the tabs below to learn all about our art classes.

You can join a class Today!

Firstlight is all about training artists.

“They just love doing art!” This is what we hear all the time, and that’s great, because it’s all about enthusiasm. We get students who have never held a brush before, as well as more advanced artists who are already selling their work. No matter where an artist is on their journey, if you want to know how to express yourself like a pro, we’re here for you.

We have a powerful curriculum we’ve developed for over 15 years. Students move up from level to level, learning and refining insights and techniques. Our students have proved over and over that anyone who loves art can make it to our expressionist level – and realize their own personal vision.

Our classes may be traditional, but we think the way we teach is revolutionary. We’ve figured out how to make college-level art concepts and techniques, super-easy to understand – for every age.

And instead of class critique, we carefully direct and encourage our students individually as much as possible.

It looks like we’re doing pretty well. We’re proud and humbled to have brought over 2000 students through our studios, with many students continuing beyond our top level, into our coaching classes for many years afterwards. (Read the testimonials below.)

The Course terms are a full school-year each.

  • Classes meet once a week

  • 36 lessons each school year

There are two paths to follow.

  • Traditional Art

  • Cartooning Art

Guide to our Courses, and levels.

Traditional Art – YEAR A and YEAR B

Each lesson is independent of the others, so students can begin on YEAR A or B. All students in each course are doing the same year at the same time, even if some are a level ahead of the others.

4 Courses for kids, teens, and adults
(cartooning and special needs are farther below)

Our Small Program (age 6 & 7)

KidsART course

2 full school years – 72 fun lessons just for ages 6 & 7.
Young artists do creative and engaging projects that help prepare them for a lifetime of enjoying art.
Both levels are in the same classroom

AGE 6: Kidsartist – 36 lessons

Kids will have a blast and get to make tons of art to show everyone. (year A or B)

AGE 7: Kidsartist – 36 lessons

Kids continue to have fun while learning core concepts and techniques. (year A or B)

Our Big Program (8 and up, teens, & adults)

FOUNDATIONS course – 2 years (year by year commitment)

2 full school years – 72 individual lessons
Everything an artist needs to know is introduced, explained, demonstrated, and practiced.
Foundations students are often with Creations students in the same classroom

YEAR 1: Apprentice level – 36 lessons

You’ll understand how to draw and paint using several key techniques. (year A or B)

YEAR 2: Builder level – 36 lessons

You’ll feel comfortable and confident in all the basic techniques and artistic insights. (year A or B)


2 school years – 72 additional lessons
FOUNDATIONS is required
Review of Foundations curriculum, but with more artists’ choice, challenges, and practice.

YEAR 3: Creator level – 36 lessons

You’ll create your own works, improving your accuracy, composition, and color mixing. (year A or B)

YEAR 4: Master level – 36 lessons

You’ll finish your exploration of all the basics as you discover your style and preferences. (year A or B)

EXPRESSIONS course – Advanced

Advanced personal coaching lessons- for as long as you want.
Artists pursue their own vision and self-expression, with periodic review of foundational skills.

YEAR 5 & up: Expressionist level

You’ll be creating your own body of finished artwork, improving and honing your skills.
Students who want to attend higher education art schools will work on their portfolios
for submission, as well as personal support and letters of recommendation.

Cartooning Art

AGE 9 & UP

Toons classes begin with Toons 1. Students learn the basics of drawing, modeling, expressions, and various objects that build up a vocabulary of cartoon elements to work from. Toons 1 can be taken for several years because we change the curriculum projects each year. Older students can begin or move up to Toons 2, and progress into more advanced projects and character development. They progress to Advanced Toons 3 and can take this class for several years. We change the projects often, and students work on their own style, structure, 3D form, and strong character-building techniques.


  • Toons 1 – age 9 – 12

  • Toons 2 – age 13 and up

  • Toons 3 – Advanced


Special Needs For Young Adults

Use the button further below to learn more about this exciting program.

How we do this art thing.



There are 3 things artists need: 1) Essential Insights, such as how to draw accurately, composition, and color mixing. 2) Foundational Techniques needed for drawing and painting. And 3) Self-expression. We build-in space for personal expression at every opportunity, because that’s what artists crave. We know this because we’re artists!


We not only train our students, but we constantly train our teachers as well. Every lesson we have is fully written out, with video demos, slideshows, examples, teacher talks, and PDF prints of all our exclusive worksheets and carefully chosen reference photos. Every bit of each lesson is all on one web page that teachers can see at a glance. It’s so good we sell it to other teachers.


The curriculum is designed to be interesting as well as challenging. We don’t spend more than one or two weeks on any project, and we don’t overwhelm with too much information. Every lesson stands on it’s own, so missing one doesn’t slow anyone down, and it’s easy to make up at one of our Saturday Open Studio sessions (once a month this year). They’re free for registered students!


  • Drawing
  • Palette knife
  • Pastel Blending
  • Opaque layers
  • Glazes
  • Hatch Shading


  • Pencil
  • Charcoal
  • Ink
  • Oil Pastels
  • Acrylics
  • Watercolor
  • Clay
  • Colored Pencils
  • Markers

Whether you want an ONLINE or in-STUDIO class, we have both!

Our new HYBRID CLASSES (shown with a large pink border), can accomodate either in-STUDIO as well as ONLINE students – with an extra teacher assisting the online students. In-studio students will have the familiar classes we’ve always done, while online students will enjoy the remote connection to a real class. (Students register for only one version of the class. Transfering to the other version mid-term is fine if there is room.)

LEARN MORE about the class names and courses with the courses tab above.

Essential Supplies

We’ve known people who quit art because they didn’t know they just had cheap supplies. Bad supplies always frustrate artists. High prices can frustrate parents and.. well, artists. Since we’re artists too, we do our best to provide great tools at the lowest prices we can. We work on it! We really do.

Small program students (age 6-7) This year, because we can’t share supplies, each student will have a $50 supply fee for the year, which includes a personal hard-bound sketchbook and their own dedicated pencils, markers, watercolors, oil pastels and brushes.

BIG PROGRAM (age 8 +): Every student must begin the year with a FULL YEAR’S WORTH of art supplies. This is so we’re not calling parents and selling things during class – when we really want to be teaching art. Imagine hundreds of students needing items every week – for 36 weeks!

Get your art supplies now.

Order from Firstlight using our easy order form with the black button below. If you’re not near us and attending online, use the red Blick.com buttons. They’ll send you to a list you can order for home delivery.

LOCAL FROM FIRSTLIGHT: If you’re getting supplies from us – for a local ONLINE or in-STUDIO class – use the black Firstlight button.

If you’re a new student, just get the whole kit & kaboodle using the full sets at the top. But if you’re returning, you can use the order form as a digital check-list to figure out exactly which items you need more of for a full year’s worth of supplies. Then send us the order form and we’ll put it all in a bag for you – ready on your first day of class!


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Order supplies at Blick.com if you’re outside our area:


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Get your own. You’re welcome to look for supplies anywhere, but we do want these exact items and pigments or you won’t be able to follow our curriculum. Just FYI, we know which items are good enough to spend a bit less on, and which ones don’t work unless you spend a little more. Artists should not be frustrated by tools or paints that simply don’t function well.

Download a PDF supply list for Foundations (also higher levels) with descriptions.

Download a PDF supply list for TOONS with descriptions.



We try to keep this simple too.

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$1227 for the Big Programs – Traditional & Toons. (monthly installment plan payments: $129)

$1110 for the Small Program – KidsART ages 6 & 7. (monthly installment plan payments: $116)

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$30 per year

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$217.95 for a full new set of traditional supplies with case

$114.36 for a full new set of toons supplies with case

$50 KidsART supply fee (kept in the classroom)

Use the red REGISTER NOW button below to head over to our Customer Portal, which is run by a big whoop-de-doo software company. If you have any big whoop-de-doo problems with it let us know, and we’ll make things happen.

Because our lessons can be taken in any order, you can join a class at any time. Check the portal or call for availability.

Select different TABS above to learn about our Courses, Levels, Teaching, Schedule, Cost, and more.

Ready for an amazing art class?

Our registration section shows current availability.

Call us at 615-678-6745

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”

student work

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

Ages 4 – 7 Student Artwork

Ages 8 – 12 Student Artwork

Ages 13 & Up Student Artwork

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

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