It’s been said that creating art can be good for the soul and for mental health, but what if you think you don’t have any artistic aptitude? That’s where local classes and teachers can step in to help you reach your potential.

A variety of classes are held locally, and for people who don’t have experience or feel they don’t have the “talent,” – you can still benefit from taking a class, says Theresa Hultberg, the programs and exhibitions manager for the Paseo Arts Association in Oklahoma City.

The Paseo Arts Association in Oklahoma City offers a variety of art classes in different mediums, all across the district. Photos courtesy the Paseo Arts Association

“Creating art isn’t always about the final product,” she says. “It’s about expressing yourself and taking a moment away from the daily stressors we all experience to have some fun and explore color, texture, material and shapes. Creating something with your hands will engage your senses, get you out of your thoughts and ground you in the present moment. People often feel a sense of accomplishment when it is all done.”

The Paseo Arts Association hosts artist-taught workshops and classes on a rotating basis, and all events are hosted in the Paseo Arts and Creativity Center. 

“[Everyone] can visit the galleries and studios in the Paseo Arts District,” says Hultberg. “Many of our businesses offer classes, including Su Casa (needlepoint), Prairie Arts Collective (stained glass), Paseo Pottery (ceramics), JW Jewelry and Home (jewelry), Paseo Arts and Creativity Center (watercolor, sculpture, alcohol ink, acrylic pour painting) and Paseo Gallery One (various mediums).”

No matter the medium you choose, you’ll be greeted warmly by the pros. 

“All of the teaching artists in the district are extremely welcoming, and our spaces are accessible and casual, creating the perfect space to relax and create,” says Hultberg.

In Green Country, the Tulsa Art Center is a hub of creativity for art novices and pros alike. 

“The Tulsa Art Center is an art-centered, educational community where experienced Tulsa artists inspire students of beginning levels of all ages to achieve their creative goals,” says Marie Sullivan, the center’s owner.

The Tulsa Art Center has classes for adults and children, and all can enjoy courses in a low-pressure environment, says Sullivan. Parents who homeschool their children will also find valuable art resources at the center. Art “parties” can also be scheduled.

“We offer acrylic painting, color pencil, watercolor and drawing,” she says. 

As for gaining confidence in art, Sullivan offers some insight. 

“Everyone is born with talent until they start thinking they can’t do it,” says Sullivan. “During our classes, we start each beginner with the basics and help them learn the necessary techniques they will need to paint their piece.”

Art and Mental Health

Why does creating art help the mind? 

“Because of the expressive nature of creating art, people are able to process their thoughts and emotions by making something with their hands that is uniquely theirs,” says Hultberg. “Both creating and observing art can reduce stress and empower people through their interpretation or relation to artwork.”

She continues: “Depending on personality, adults may find any one of the types of artwork we offer relaxing. We’ve had some popularity with acrylic pour painting, as it is a simple technique and participants get to play with color and patterns of the paint without the use of brushes.”

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