Set some colored pencils, watercolor paints, or clay in front of a child and watch his eyes light up. The magic of seeing a rainbow of colors or feeling a piece of cool, tactile clay captivates kids, often for hours at a time. And they’re so proud of what they create, at times they make up imaginative stories to go with their imagery.

It is in this spirit Ah Haa created “After School Art on Demand,” a new program (for up to 12 students) that gives parents and children the flexibility to create their own curriculum. Available any weekday from 3 – 5 p.m., Art on Demand is a great way to gather with a group of buddies and work with an Ah Haa instructor to explore ceramics, painting, collage, jewelry, printmaking, and more.

“Since every age group has so many different offerings – sports, Girl Scouts, theater, dance – this special program frees us up to cater to what works with a young person’s schedule and interest,” said Ah Haa’s interim curriculum director and youth art instructor Jacey DePriest. “Parents come to us and we find an instructor for them. We provide the materials, the space, and we even pick up the kids from school. It’s a win-win.”

A flat fee for each two-hour class is charged based on the number of students participating: $150 for 1-2; $200 for 3-4; $250 for 5-8; or $300 for 9-12. In other words, tuition for a class of 12 students could be as little as $25 per person. It’s a great way for a group of parents to plan some creative time for their kiddos, or even design a special birthday party.

Ah Haa’s customized art classes are not just for kids. After School Art on Demand is an extension of “Create a Class,” an adult program which offers private classes for all ages, any day, any time, for only $200 for one-to-two people per two-hour session.

“Quite a few tourists take advantage of the program during the summer and winter seasons,” said DePriest. “If they’re only here a couple of days, they can have one of those days be an art class. Ceramics is a particularly popular private class choice. Sometimes we’ll have mom, dad and kids in here learning how to throw on a wheel together. Everyone makes a dish to bring home that will last forever.”

No matter if you are a resident or visitor to Telluride, Create a Class is designed for any level of artist wanting to explore just about any medium: metal smithing, pastel painting, bookmaking, hand-building with clay.  Your choice. You can even custom design a cooking class or learn how to do massage. (And a meal may be included with your class for a nominal fee.)

“Creating any type of art is so meditative, no matter what your age. And you always find out something about yourself in the process,” continued DePriest.

And for parents looking for ongoing after-school classes for their kids, consider two upcoming classes by the extraordinary Sally Davis: “Painting Up a Storm” for ages 6 and up, Thursdays, Nov. 8-Dec. 13, 3:30-5 p.m.; and “Puppet Making” for ages 8-10, Tuesdays, Nov. 27-Dec. 18, 3:30-5 p.m.

In Painting Up a Storm, students are encouraged to get colorful with their imaginations by using a variety of tools (even fingers) to apply paint to create one-of-a-kind works of art, large and small. The class culminates in a fabulous painting performance during which parents and friends get to watch a giant painting take shape right before their eyes. Similarly, students in Davis’s Puppet Making class will perform using the fantastic puppet characters they create out of paper maché, fabric, paint, beads, buttons, wire, yarn, glitter, and more. Their totally unique story is complete with sound effects and colorful scenery.

“I love Sally’s classes. Kids love her classes. She really does have quite a following,” says DePriest, noting Davis’s skill in involving a variety of ages in her classes to make a really dynamic and fun experience for all.

For more information about After School Art on Demand, Create a Class or Sally Davis’s upcoming painting an puppetry classes, contact the Ah Haa School at 970/728-3886 or visit the website, (Tuition assistance and scholarships are available.)

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