The Urban Atelier

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Atelier, from the French, is a private workshop or studio of a professional artist(s) in the fine or decorative arts, where a principal master and a number of assistants, students, and apprentices can work together producing pieces of fine art or visual art released under the master’s name or supervision.  From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the Atelier was the standard practice for European artists and common in other parts of the world.

By fusing traditional and modern elements of Ateliers of the past and present with an added focus on the needs of today’s urban communities, the Urban Atelier (UA) will provide underserved youth the opportunity to be exposed to the foundational skills and techniques learned in Ateliers across the country and around the world.

Our Mission is to encourage, promote, and cultivate the personal, social, mental, and emotional well-being of underserved youth and adults of color.  Through elements of traditional fine arts workshops and guilds; provide the foundational skills, techniques, and practices necessary to use art as a vehicle to pursue personal and educational pursuits within and outside of the arts; while empowering members of the community to develop and improve social and personal self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-expression through various forms of art and media.   

Our Vision is to be the first Atelier in the DC Metropolitan Area to serve as an urban, relevant source of Arts Education for youth and adults.

Providing traditional arts education is essential to our goal of preparing youth and young adults for success in the workplace and community.  As an alternative to the traditional outlets afforded to communities of color, The Urban Atelier is a resource for youth and adults to pursue careers and passions through varied artistic experiences including: Career Pathways education, Guest Workshops, Student/Artist Exchanges, Artist Talks, Museum/Institute Visits, and Student Showcases.

The Urban Atelier offers a comprehensive program of courses for students to gain the foundational skills of seeing, shape drawing, and sight-sizing to more advanced forms such as painting, illusions, color production, and murals.

The following information will provide additional information about our programming objectives, expected outcomes, and components for students.


Guided by the expertise of Resident Artist/ Instructor, Tramaine Wilkes, youth and young adults will gain traditionally inaccessible knowledge of necessary foundational skills to pursue careers in fine and visual arts through five (5) six week sessions of intensive art instruction for two (2) hour sessions, for 2-3 days/week.  The intensive programming will include instruction in Fundamentals, Core Drawing, Painting, Specialty, in addition to Uninstructed sessions. Program extensions will also include workshops by Local Guest artists and immersive excursions to local and out-of state educational venues.

Core Values:

  • Teach dedication to self and community through adequate attendance rates and respect of fellow artist community and instructor’s time with high expectations of timeliness, preparedness, and courteousness.
  • Develop patience through acceptance of the time and effort necessary to gain various artistic skills and respect for the creative process necessary to curate original artistic forms.
  • Cultivate willingness to learn through the adoption of a positive attitude in order to successfully acquire and learn new skills and approaches to creative expression.
  • Internalize fearlessness by accepting that valuable lessons are often from failure, but when applied properly success will follow.
  • Create safe spaces for students of all ages, levels, races, genders, and sexualities to comfortably express themselves and embrace their individual artistic journeys– regardless of the point of start or finish.


  • Introduce students to the foundational skills learned in traditional ateliers around the world.
  • With a focus on the urban community, provide students with artistic and cultural exposures that will educate, inform, and empower their personal, artistic, educational, and future occupational pursuits.
  • Provide students with viable career pathway options and resources for potential pursuits within and outside of fine/visual art forms and media.


Five (6) six-week sessions, 2-3 days/ week to include, two (2) hour class sessions.  Each session will include complimentary skill courses that will cycle in offering through the program year.

  • Session I: November 27, 2017- December 22, 2017
  • Session II: January 3, 2018- February 16, 2018
  • Session III: February 26, 2018- April 13, 2018
  • Session IV: April 30, 2018- June 8, 2018
  • Session V: June 11, 2018- June 30, 2018

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will learn how to source, create, and assemble tools necessary for varying art forms
  • Students will learn the basic, foundational, and fundamental skills learned in traditional ateliers
  • Students will be able to transfer the internalization of core values to apply in any setting, experience, or venue.
  • Students will discover and explore their artistic interests and creative passions
  • Students will learn to identify and pursue varying options for education/career pathways in fine and visual arts and other forms of self-expression
  • Students will gain skills that will prepare them to become productive citizens and potential entrepreneurs.


  • Students must complete the program application and provide necessary forms before participating
  • Students must exhibit an interest and desire to learn and/or improve basic and fundamental art skills and techniques
  • Students must be at least 13 years of age or older
  • Students are responsible for maintaining the condition of provided tools ( if lost or stolen, tools are replaced at the cost of students).
  • Students will participate in 1 field trip per six week session
  • Student to Teacher Ratio not to exceed 1: 6-10 with maximum of 2 Adults Drop-ins/class