OUR SCHOOL

 35+ YEARS OF ART EDUCATION 

Our Vision

Drawing out the artist in everyone through the practice of studio arts.

Our Mission

We teach how to see and create through drawing, painting and sculpture. We offer classes, workshops, exhibitions and programs to engage, connect and bring people together with a fresh approach to traditional studio art. We encourage artists to grow, explore, learn together and create art that is personal and relevant. 

Our VALUES

Students with Mary in Classroom.JPG
SERVING ALL ARTISTS

we teach for all levels of proficiency, from beginners to the most advanced.

Mevlin at Resource.JPG
RESPECTING ALL ARTISTS

we embrace all artists from our richly diverse and global city.

See and Be Seen DC.JPG
ENCOURAGING PERSONAL GROWTH

We emphasize the artistic vision, process and pursuit over the final product.

IMG_3764.JPG
ADVANCING THE ARTS

We seek to serve our city and region through our core aspirations: leadership in the studio arts, excellence in instruction, and belief in the creative spirit.

Teaching Approach

Washington Studio School (WSS), founded in 1985 through the efforts of Lee Newman and Joey Kossow, is a community of artists and students dedicated to the standards of a perceptual fine arts tradition and its relevance to the present. WSS faculty members are all practicing artists with strong academic credentials. They share the philosophy that through learning to observe life, to translate the visual through a comprehensive understanding of drawing, painting and sculpture skills, gives the artist a thorough foundation. Concepts, techniques, visual language, and art history are reinforced in every course, and are enhanced by the unique mentoring of the instructor. Pictorial examples, in-class demonstrations, and group critiques are employed to advance a student’s understanding of the components of visual elements, ideas, and composition.

 

WSS offers three 10-week terms per year and a condensed program of intensive workshops and short-classes during the summer months.

History

OUR SCHOOL 

The heritage of WSS is set in the years around World War II when a group of individuals met in the attic of the Phillips Collection for lively discussion and debate about the rapidly evolving directions of art. Led by Law Watkins Sr, the group began taking on students and conducting studio classes in the “Studio House” located behind the museum. In time, the museum needed the Studio House space for the museum, and the group moved on to American University (AU) to develop the AU art department. In the early 1980s, sensing a loss of a unique visual arts education in the DC area, former AU faculty members and students along with other artists, founded WSS as a nonprofit institution in 1985. 

OUR SPACE 

Washington Studio School is housed in a 1909 townhome in DC’s historical district of Sheridan-Kalorama and was designed by Nathan C. Wyeth, a premier architect in Washington.  Mr. Wyeth designed the first Oval Office in the White House during the administration of President Taft, and co-designed the Old Senate and House Office buildings. Today, the front room on the ground floor and the second floor library of the 2129 S Street NW, townhome are two of the few remaining Wyeth interiors.

 

The Biddle family purchased the building in 1910 for their residence when in Washington, DC.  It was owned and used by the Biddles until Holton-Arms (a private all girls school) purchased the townhouse in 1945 to serve as an adjunct to the Holton-Arms main building located at 2125 S Street, NW. Our second floor library room once served as the classroom for art history. Holton-Arms moved to Bethesda in 1967.

RECENT PRESS
IN 2019/20 WSS:
SERVED

+2,700

STUDENTS AND VISITORS FROM D.C. AND THE WORLD
 
AWARDED

$10,000+

SCHOLARSHIPS AND WORK-STUDY OPPORTUNITIES 
EXHIBITED

53

ARTISTS

OFFERED 

38

FREE PUBLIC PROGRAMS TO STUDENTS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC

To read our 2019 Student Survey, click here.

To learn more about our school, read our FY2018FY2019 and FY2020 Annual Reports. 

To learn more about our impact and our community, click on the button below.