10 Best Art Classes in Santa Fe

Creative Travel Experiences in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Looking for things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico?  Santa Fe is in the top 10 Cities for Art Lovers in the WORLD (2022) by Travel+Leisure magazine, and deemed a UNESCO Creative City for good reason: it is home to a plethora of cultural goodies, such as the galleries on Canyon Road, Meow Wolf, SITE Santa Fe, The International Folk Art Market, and Indian Market, to name just a few. A multitude of artists called Santa Fe home, and many offer classes in their area of expertise.

Now more than ever, travelers crave connection and unique experiences. If you live in or are traveling to Santa Fe and are looking for painting or art workshops near you, then check out this list of experiences that will connect you intimately with local artists.

The 10 Best Art Classes in Santa Fe

Santa Fe has art workshops offered in a wide variety of media and disciplines. From writing to plein air drawing to culinary arts, Santa Fe offers a class in almost every creative pursuit. Here is a list of art retreats and workshops I recommend:

1. Abstract Painting Classes for All Leve: Santa Fe Painting Workshops

Andrea Cermanski teaches fun, engaging abstract acrylic painting classes to all skill levels and ages in her downtown Santa Fe studio and gallery, just one block from Canyon Road. Her goal is to show you how approachable painting can be with a few key techniques, basic principles of design, and a dedicated teacher under your belt.  She has sold her work in galleries on Canyon Road, New Orleans, and Tubac, has 30 years painting and 20 years of teaching experience. She offers 2-hour classes, 3-day painting retreats and 4-week abstract painting workshops for locals.

2. Traditional Drawing Classes for Beginners & Advanced Students: Ryder Studio

The Ryder Studio, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers courses in life drawing, portrait painting from life and still life painting. Classes run from two to twenty-four weeks, and are open to students of all levels, ages sixteen and up.

3. Pottery Classes: Baca Street Pottery

Located in the Baca Street Arts District, this studio offers a variety of class options, including Family Clay Play, private workshops, and hosted events such as birthdays.  Professional potter Andrew Sanders hails from England and has taught ceramics around the world, including in Holland, Switzerland and Australia.

4. Encaustic Workshops: Jorge Luis Bernal

Jorge Luis Bernal is an artist and teacher who has been teaching in Santa Fe since 2013. Encaustic, also known as hot wax, was practiced by Greeks as far back as the 5th century BC.   Bernal not only teaches encaustic, but also cold wax and ceramics in his Santa Fe studio.   His work is inspired by the New Mexico landscape.

5. Culinary Classes: Santa Fe School of Cooking

Located in downtown Santa Fe, the Santa Fe School of Cooking is an internationally acclaimed, recreational culinary school and Market, specializing in foods of the American Southwest for over 33 years.  Learn how to make some of our local favorites, such as red and green chile sauce, tamales, and rellenos.

6. Photography: Santa Fe Workshops

People from all over the world take classes at Santa Fe Workshops. I took 2 photographic workshops, and both were taught by professionals in their fields. From fashion photography to capturing the Southwest landscape, Santa Fe Workshops is definitely a gem in our community! Many of the courses are week-long, so if you are looking for a shorter photo class, check out my recommendation below.

7. Photography: Photo Creative Workshops

David Hoptman has an impressive resume. He has been an artist and commercial photographer for more than thirty years with clients ranging from Architectural Digest to main-stream publications like Travel and Leisure, Elle, and Art in America.  He also taught at the university level in New Mexico and in Italy. David offers two workshop choices for tourists who want to spend a day or less shooting and learning: the Photo Instructional Tour in Santa Fe, and the Half-Day Chimayo Tour.

8. Textiles: Miriam’s School of Weaving

Miriam has been weaving for 40 years and teaching for 20.  She has a degree in art, and teaches students not only the basics of getting started weaving, but also more advanced topics such as color. Here classes run Monday through Friday, and she is located in the downtown area.

9. Writing Retreats: Land of Enchantment Writing

Janna Lopez offers retreats, classes, and therapeutic writing sessions. You can choose to spend a few hours or few days with her, and regardless she promises to get you profound writing results. She has life-long experience in writing, has written several books and hosts her own podcast.

10. Plein-Air Pastel Classes: Art Adventures in the Southwest

Jane Shoenfeld is a trained artist who offers personalized art adventures that focus on the beauty of the southwest landscape, from 
canyon sunsets to adobe architecture. She offers a variety of workshops in a range of dry media, such as pastel and pencil.

Other Art Schools in Santa Fe

  • Institute of American Indian Art

    Some of the most famous names in Native Art have come out of IAIA. With a beautiful campus and state-of-the-art studios and equipment, IAIA is perhaps the best art school New Mexico has to offer. They also have a museum in downtown Santa Fe that is the country’s only art museum that exhibits and collects work from progressive Native American artists.

  • Santa Fe Community College

    SFCC offers credit and non-credit classes. Their art studios are amazing and well-equipped, and they still offer film photography! I had top-notch instruction at the community college when I took 3-d art, photography and design classes.  If you are able to commit to a several-month long class, then you are sure to have many excellent class options and teachers to choose from.  Highly recommended!

  • Make Santa Fe

    Make Santa Fe is an amazing non-profit that offers tools, resources and classes in a community studio setting. Their goal is to be a hybrid between art, industry, craft & science. The digital and technological equipment available for use is without parallel in the city. According to Make Santa Fe’s mission statement, “MAKE Santa Fe is, in part, motivated by the emerging maker movement that leverages digital technologies to remake manufacturing and job skills while simultaneously reconnecting us to our roots in creative problem solving.” Pretty amazing. Check them out.

  • Santa Fe Art Institute

    SFAI mostly focuses on artist residences and cultural exchanges among artists. They offer a wide array of art talks and programs. SFAI is “an independent arts organization forging critical inquiry and cultural exchange among artists, creative practitioners, and the broader community. We support and amplify dynamic artistic practices that engage complex social issues, inspire individual transformation, and inform collective action.” Impressive, huh? Give them a visit for sure!


    I am an artist out of Santa Fe, New Mexico who has been painting for almost 30 years. I love to teach first-timers as well as experienced painters who need a creative reboot. My work has been displayed in several galleries around the country, and I have a Bachelor’s in Art History, a Master’s in Art Education, and had my work in a show juried by Judy Chicago. The idea of getting more people painting makes me light up as I want to inspire more people to express their creative selves and tap into a place of joy and calm.


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  1. […] Also, if you are looking for unique things to do, check out this article about the 10 best creative travel experiences in Santa Fe. […]

  2. […] Also, if you are looking for unique things to do, check out this article about the 10 best creative travel experiences in Santa Fe. […]

    • Robert Heckler says:

      Hello my wife and myself will be coming to Santa Fe from Nov. 4-Nov. 11 and I would like to do an oil painting workshop. I am a representational painter so would prefer not abstract. Is there anything you can recommend for me please?

      Thank you very much.

      Robert Heckler
      514 688 2002

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