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Our Story


From the book by our director, Cherene Raphael, "Raising Artistic Children":

"I opened The Art House in 1987 in a small one room business complex.  I knew from working in the public schools that fine art was not being taught and needed to be.  I knew artistic children needed support.  I DIDN"T know if parents would recognize the need, but I had to try.  I taught classes and my seventh grade daughter was the receptionist.  We opened with 20 students, most of whom were children of friends.  Within 6 months, we had 50 students and today we operate at our max of 450 students/week.  I developed my own curriculum based on what I knew my 4 children were capable of and what I wished someone had taught me.

I developed a teaching method based on LOVE - not educational "buzz words".  It came to me naturally as a mother wanting to help her child.  Together we look in awe at color and painting styles that breathe life into our souls and discuss how artists use their visual tools.  I present artists at the top of society rather than the grunts, and watch artistic children spark with dreams and imaginations that before were left untapped.

I've heard the methodology that says thou shall not teach art to children, studied it and have the degrees to prove it, but I don't believe it.  Children can and need to be TAUGHT art.  It's not enough to be a facilitator and provide materials.  Children want to know HOW to make art.  They need lessons that are structured and flexible at the same time. They need lessons that allow for the diversity that's possible within a structured framework.  I teach skills children need to express themselves.  I support their individuality and applaud their creativity.

An artistic child is an endoskeleton in an exoskeleton society  Our schools spin with computerized urgency, quests for academic excellence and athletic mania, while the talents of artistic children are rotting on the window sill.  Artistic children don't fit prescribed molds.  Their talent isn't recognized so what good is it?  And if no one is listening to their quiet voices why should they talk, why should they draw?  And what becomes of their self-worth?  And what have we, as a society jeopardized? ARTISTIC CHILDREN ARE BLESSED AND THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW IT.  THE ART HOUSE was created to help parents understand artistic children and champion their cause."

Cherene Raphael,  BA English, MA Fine Art, CA teachers credential k-12