Photo by Karina Love.


Welcome to Studio Programs at Virginia MOCA!

No matter your age or experience, we’re here to help you embrace your inner artist and enjoy exceptional and exciting hands-on art experiences inspired by the art in our galleries. Engage with a variety of artists, creative media, techniques, and themes to produce contemporary artworks filled with meaning.

Every exhibition cycle, we work with teaching artists to develop studio classes inspired by the art on view in our galleries. Our upcoming exhibition open February 9, Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature's Underworld, is centered around themes related to the natural world, the intermingling of art and science, environmental advocacy, and conservation. Read more about the exhibition.

*Class sizes are limited; early registration is encouraged.


These Studio Programs explore the themes, ideas, and techniques found in our current exhibition Collector's Edition, on view through December 31.


Ceramics: Hand-building a Collection

Thursdays, July 27–August 17 (Skip week of August 10) | 6:30–9:00 PM

Explore hand-building techniques to create a collection of three to five small forms, such as vases, bowls, jars, or small sculptures. Learn to balance variety and unity within your collection and select a personal theme. Studio sessions will focus on foundational skill including pinch method, coil-building, and basic surface techniques. The final session will explore glazing techniques to enhance your creations. No prior experience required. Unleash your creativity and enjoy the tactile experience of working with clay as you craft a unique collection of ceramic art.

Canvas Stretching Workshop

Saturday, August 5 | 10:00 AM–12:00 PM

Stretch your very own canvas for professional quality artwork. This workshop is for those who want to hand-craft every aspect of their artwork and a perfect opportunity for those looking to save money by avoiding the cost markup of ready-to-use canvases. Learn each step of the canvas-building process with simple-to-follow instructions. The process will include assembling the canvas frame and preparing the canvas surface by cutting, stretching, and priming. By the end of this workshop, you will leave with a 24x24-inch gallery-wrapped canvas ready for painting.

Drawing: Scratchboard

Saturday, August 12 | 10:00–4:00 PM

Scratchboard is a subtractive drawing process that involves scraping away at a dark surface with a sharp tool to reveal a lighter layer beneath. This dynamic drawing method can be used to achieve stunning levels of contrast and detail.

In this workshop participants will begin by walking the galleries at Virginia MOCA to see examples of high-contrast imagery. In the studio, we’ll practice with a variety of tools and techniques to get a better understanding of the range of effects that can be achieved with the scratchboard technique, learn how to transfer a reference image, and gain confidence in our drawing skills as we work under the guidance of an expert. Before the class is over, we’ll varnish our final works and discuss storage, care, and framing.

Abstract Painting: Collections in Color

Thursdays, September 14–28 | 6:00–7:30 PM

Experience the Collector’s Edition exhibition from the perspective of color. Examine how different artists use color in their work and how color impacts a collection. Mix your own colors based on your observations and use abstract mixed media processes to experiment with color techniques. Materials are provided though students are also welcome to bring their preferred painting supplies if desired.

Photography: Creating and Curating a Collection

Thursdays, September 21–October 12 | 10:00 AM–12:00 PM

Photographers, by their very nature, are collectors. Whether making images of birds or sunsets or people, photographers use their cameras to collect the things they notice about their lives. In this multi-week class, students will become archaeologists of their own work. Using weekly prompts as well as exploring the themes that already exist within their camera rolls, students will unearth the motifs, ideas, and subjects that make up the work they create.

Ceramics: Making an Impression

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00–4:00 PM

Explore the art of ceramics while connecting with nature and create a tray or tile with textured surfaces created using natural materials. We will begin by visiting the Collector’s Edition exhibition for inspiration and then take a short outdoor walk around the Museum to collect natural materials while embracing the practice of ethical and respectful collection. Back in the studio, we will delve into the art of composition and design and explore slab-building techniques to craft a beautiful tray or tile. Students will also learn essential ceramic skills, such as using a slab roller, applying surface textures, and finishing edges.


Ceramics: Handbuilt Homeware Collection

WORKSHOP FULL; join waitlist

Saturday, December 2 | 10:00 AM–12:30 PM

Work together as a family to create a collection of unique ceramic homewares with texture. Using clay and upcycled materials, we’ll learn to create bowls, trinket dishes, spoon rests, ornaments, and other useful homewares! This family workshop encourages the creative exploration of materials and is open to school-age children and their accompanying adult. All participants (adults and children) must register.

Ages 2–5 (With Caregiver)
1st Art: Building Blocks

Saturday, July 15 | 10:30–11:30 AM

Explore shapes and colors as we create colorful wooden block sculptures inspired by Collector’s Edition artist, Andrew Zimmerman. Students will select and paint their own wooden shapes and then assemble on to a wooden frame.

1st Art: Textile Treasures

Sunday, August 27 | 1:00–2:00 PM

Discover different types of textiles and build fine motor skills as young artists cut and paste pieces of fabric onto paper. Once complete, we will then practice weaving pieces of fabric into our weaving frame. We will also look to the artwork of Collector’s Edition artist Asa Jackson who uses textiles to explore time, people, and culture.

1st Art: Micro Masterpieces

Sunday, September 17 | 10:30–11:30 AM

Through magnification, discover a hidden world teeming with fascinating life forms. Inspired by the works of Collector's Edition artist Kelsey Brookes, young artists will observe and create drawings inspired by the extraordinary organisms they encounter.

1st Art: Landscape Love

Sunday, October 15 | 10:30–11:30 AM

Explore the fascinating world of landscapes inspired by the incredible artwork of Collector's Edition artist Rachel Burgess. Using colorful card stock paper, scissors, and glue, we'll bring our own unique landscapes to life. From rolling hills to magnificent trees, let your imagination soar.

AGES 6–8

Character Creation: Trading Stickers

Saturdays, August 19 and 26 | 1:00–3:00 PM

Dive into the world of character design and collectibles as you create your own unique characters to be transformed into trading stickers. We’ll discuss our favorite characters, exploring their attributes and characteristics and then draw our own original designs. These designs will then be transformed into stencils, allowing us to bring our characters to life using marker airbrush techniques for final sticker creation. At the end of the class, you will have a collection of personalized trading stickers.

The Golden Mean

Saturdays, September 30–October 21 | 10:00–11:30 AM

What is the Golden Mean, and why is it so important? Patterns that repeat in nature, like this one, have helped artists to create balanced, harmonious, and proportioned works of art for centuries. We’ll explore this artful ratio and take inspiration from the artwork of Collector’s Edition artist Kelsey Brookes. Students will identify the sequence in nature using microscopes, play with paint, and get creative with color in the studio using modeling clay.

Artful Supporter: Mixed Media Portrait

Sunday, November 5 | 12:30–2:00 PM

Create vibrant, mix-media portrait drawings inspired by Collector's Edition artist Maizelle using oil pastels, paper, and tissue paper, Then, decorate a wooden photo frame to display your artwork as a cherished keepsake. Join us on this artistic adventure where we'll unleash our creativity, express gratitude, and celebrate those who uplift and inspire us through the power of art!

AGES 9–12

Pieces of Mind

Saturdays, September 30–October 21 | 1:00–2:30 PM

Dive into the world of art, science, and community inspired by Collector’s Edition artists Washington Silvera, Do Ho Suh, and Asa Jackson. Explore landscapes, water, and the mysteries of nature's relationship with humanity, and design your own treasure box containing a secret terrarium. Using gel slabs, students will also create cyanotype prints in vibrant rainbow colors, incorporating typography to express individuality and memory. We’ll also collaborate on a large tapestry representing our Hampton Roads community by cutting stitching, collage, and painting.

The Secrets of Sensory

CLASS FULL; please join waitlist.

Saturday, November 18 | 10:00 AM–12:00 PM

Explore the connection between mindfulness and creativity. Inspired by the sensory art of Jesse Fleming and the conceptual assemblage style of Asa Jackson, students will study these Collector’s Edition artists and work together to create an immersive sensory space, designed to ignite your senses. Through the interplay of light, color, sound, touch, and even smell, we'll elevate the artistic experience to new heights.

AGES 13–17

Screen Printing: Limited Edition

Saturday, July 22 | 11:00 AM–2:00 PM
Saturday, November 18 | 11:00 AM–2:00 PM

Register (November) →

Create your own print variation of an original work of art while learning about the purpose and value of art prints. Students will discover the step-by-step process that leads to a successful silkscreen print and explore various techniques to personalize images, infusing them with their own artistic voice. Through hands-on practice, students will master the art of pressing an image through silkscreen printing and develop the skills necessary to produce high-quality prints of original work.

Ceramics: Tealight Houses

Saturdays, October 28–November 18 | 10:00 AM–12:30 PM

Brighten your home with ceramic tealight houses. Tap into your “inner architect” by creating a collection of luminaries. We’ll use slab-working techniques to roll out pieces of clay into flat sheets. Using templates students will cut and shape the pieces to create a house, customizing it with doors, chimneys, and windows for the tealight to shine through. Experiment with different shapes, sizes, and textures to create a whole neighborhood! After firing, glaze your houses with decorative colors of your choice. Bring photos of our own home or images of buildings for personalized inspiration to create a meaningful collection of luminaries.


The Cohen Memorial Fund at Virginia MOCA offers a number of scholarships for children and teens to participate in art education. Everyone deserves to express their creativity. Through these scholarships we hope to provide an understanding and appreciation of the arts to anyone with an interest—regardless of financial situation—and to recognize and encourage artistically gifted individuals.



Registration & Studio Policies

Register online, by telephone, or in person. Tuition must be paid at the time of registration. No student is considered registered until all fees are paid. Successfully registered individuals will receive a confirmation email from our system. Please reach out to confirm your registration if you do not receive a confirmation email for any reason. Students will be notified in the event of a cancellation.

Registration deadline is 5:00 PM, seven days prior to the course start date unless otherwise noted.


Refunds are available only if a course is cancelled by Virginia MOCA due to low enrollment. Students cancelling enrollment before the registration deadline (7 days prior to the course start date) will receive a tuition credit voucher which can only be applied to another class at Virginia MOCA.


Currently, Virginia MOCA is only accepting payment by credit/debit card online or over the phone and Tuition Credits from previous Studio Program sessions. To apply Tuition Credits, call 757-425-0000 x338 or email kendall@virginiamoca.org.


Financial aid scholarships are available thanks to The Cohen Family Memorial Fund. Registrations for approved scholarship applications will be made by Virginia MOCA staff. You can also email kendall@virginiamoca.org or call the education department at (757) 425.0000 x338 for more information.


Additional Policies

  • Adult classes are for students ages 18 and up
  • Adult students provide their own materials unless otherwise noted
  • Virginia MOCA attempts to reschedule any course that is cancelled
  • Substitute instructors may be hired without advance notification
  • Minimum enrollment for all courses is seven students unless otherwise noted
  • Most classes are held at Virginia MOCA. See course descriptions for exceptions
  • Studio activities may be photographed for Virginia MOCA promotional use
  • Mask wearing inside the studios is encouraged and masks may be required at the discretion of the instructor



Make art your thing

Get to know our community—there’s a little something for everyone.



Explore the Galleries

Learn more about the current exhibitions, dig into our archives, or see what is coming up next. As an ever-changing Museum there is always something new to explore.



Create with us

Head back to the learning resources page to check out everything else you can do with us.