Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The Tuolumne County Arts Alliance will offer its first session of spring break classes in the fundamentals of art during the week of March 24 to 28.

The alliance's annual summer arts camp has been very successful and last summer there wasn't enough room for all the students who wanted to attend.

The spring break week of "Arts Sampler" classes will allow students age 8 to 12 to participate in a similar experience.

"Just as learning a language is easier at an early age, children's minds are more open to learning proper skills and techniques in the arts as well," said Michele Tennant, administrator of the Tuolumne County Arts Academy, which includes the Kids Arts Studies Academy, or KASA.

"Each day of our Arts Sampler classes will offer a unique opportunity to experiment with and gain basic skills in many different art forms," Tennant said.

Classes will include dance, taught by professional dance instructor Michelle Adair; music, offered by Arts Reach to Schools administrator Louise McPeeters; mask making, with sculptor Christine Spracklin; drawing, with artist Irene Taylor; and basic animation, with web designer Laurie Livingston, along with classes in print making and more.

"This wide variety of classes offers children the chance to foster new talents and discover which arts appeal to them most," Tennant said. "Many of our future workshops will build on the skills taught in our sampler classes and attending our day camp will fulfill the prerequisite for those workshops."

The Arts Academy offers a variety of classes for adults as well, Tennant noted.

"In addition to our Life Long Learning Classes, we will soon be offering dance classes and Master Classes in oil painting with professional artist Michael Severin," Tennant said.

The Arts Academy is at 251 S. Barretta St. on the historic Sonora Dome campus.

For registration information, call 532-2787 or 532-3234 or visit

The Tuolumne County Arts Alliance is Tuolumne County's designated public agency for the arts, and works in partnership with the California Arts Council.