Kids are natural artists! Their imagination flows effortlessly, and their passion for artistic expression seems endless. So, the news that two long-established local museums, The Lux Art Institute in Encinitas and the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park, are merging is music to the ears of budding artists and their families. The Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego, newly formed, hopes to be at the leading edge of experimentation, inclusivity, and cultural conversation. Read on to learn how you can experience all it has to offer with your pint-sized Picassos.

Youth and Teen Classes

The vision of The Contemporary Art Institute, San Diego, is to be a platform and a living laboratory of art and ideas. Similar to kiddos, the ICA aspires to surprise, excite, and challenge every assumption. That's why their six-week sessions for kids (ages 5-11) and teens (ages 12-17) are so fun and engaging. Choose from any of the following: 

Art for Kids
Instructors will lead students to learn diverse techniques, ranging from painting to drawing to 3D art and experience different modes of expression. Each week, students will be exposed to various artists and art historical trends while experimenting with their own innovative and playful ways to use watercolor, acrylic paint, and screen printing in both 2-D and 3-D designs.

Painting for Kids
An opportunity to bring a masterpiece to life! This course is designed for young artists who have a strong desire to create. In this session, students learn the fundamentals of painting, including how to manipulate color and various techniques. Students can learn to paint using a variety of media while incorporating aspects of composition and color theory.

Youth Ceramics
Parents, need a new set of dinnerware? Have your little painter design and create them for you! Sign ‘em up for Lux Art’s second youth ceramic painting course in the Education Pavilion. A range of glazing techniques will help your minion create bold and vibrant designs and colors. Students will learn the basics of clay, both with hand-building and wheel throwing. Hands-on instruction is provided. Students will be introduced to different methods and techniques and encouraged to develop methods of their own to produce tableware and sculptures.

Online schedule:

Community Events

Aimee Della Bitta

Family Days
All community members are invited to tour current exhibits, enjoy art activities for kids, face painting, and more when the museum hosts Family Days. These events often coincide with the end of summer camp so that families can check out their student's work which is on display in the Education Pavilion and Garden area. Fun for all ages, entertainment, and food trucks are often included. Check the website for all upcoming events. 

Artists in Residency Exhibits & Regional Artists
The Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego is dedicated to presenting experimental art and learning with a mission to question everything. The month-long residency program invites artists to live and work at the institute while they develop new projects. Regional artists both exhibit in the Linda Formo Brandes Gallery in the Education Pavilion and teach a variety of classes ranging from painting to bookmaking, to jewelry design. Course offerings change throughout the year, as different artists bring their expertise to the community.

Community Tours

Take advantage of the unique opportunity to explore art through an open dialogue with a trained instructor. Liaisons are on hand to the general public during open hours or available for reserved guided tours. Also, kids: pre-K through 8th-grade can request a tour that includes a docent‐led tour through the artist’s studio, exhibition areas, sculptural installations, and native landscape of the Lux grounds. Following the tour, students participate in a hands‐on art project related to the current exhibition(s). Groups are welcome during open gallery hours (Thursday & Friday, 1:00 pm–5:00 pm | Saturday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm). Tour bookings must be made at least a week in advance. Find more details here. 


Youth Camps

Youth and teen camps run all summer and allow kids to explore, make, and exhibit art in a museum setting. Each of the unique six weeks of camp focuses on different contemporary artists and themes. Campers create various projects using media of their choosing, including drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, printmaking, collage, and photography. The summer camp session culminates with a professionally installed art show in the Artist Pavilion and Education Pavilion. Students invite family, friends, and teachers to view work created during the camp.


—Aimee Della Bitta


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