The structure of the typical school year conditions us to view summer as a time away from learning. What’s great about being an adult is breaking that pattern and turning Mobile’s steamiest season into your own educational greenhouse.

The Mobile Museum of Art has a range of classes perfect for picking up new skills, running the gamut of creative mediums.

In late May, Val Webb teaches botanical illustration, in which participants will learn how to tone and texture paper, then paint with gouache and colored pencil. The class includes tips on creative hand-lettering and creating narrative sketchbook pages. The class will work from actual plant specimens, including heirloom flowers, vegetables and herbs. All levels of art experience are welcome; those enrolled should bring a sack lunch for the Saturday class.

An illustrator of 11 children’s books, Webb is best known for her drawings of garden and nature subjects. Examples of her work can be seen at

She will teach two sessions: Friday, May 22, from 1 until 4 p.m., and Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Cost is $180, $150 for museum members. A list of needed supplies can be found on the museum website.

A puppet-making class taught by Elizabet Elliott and Susie Bowman will take place in mid-June. The multidisciplinary workshop will incorporate drawing, sculpting, painting, set design and performance.

Classmates will team up and design a script around a short story or fable. Set design, costuming and marionette construction will culminate in a performance to live music. No prior experience is necessary.

This class for ages 15 and up runs June 8 through 19, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The final performance is June 29.

Cost is $180, $150 for museum members.

A screen printing class taught by Duane Knight runs July 20 through 24, from 10 a.m. until noon. The five-day course covers the entire process and includes image preparation, screen development, printing and various applications. Students who want to keep their screens may purchase them at Alabama Art Supply, otherwise all materials are included.

The class for ages 15 and up is $150, $120 for museum members.

For the musically inclined or curious, John Milham will teach a drumming class July 20 through 24, from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. The percussion camp will teach students about instruments from around the globe. Campers will get a chance to play rhythmic games that build their “inner” sense of time while playing together. Another component will be Milham’s “nature jam,” where participants get a chance to create an audible scene reproducing the sounds of water, wind, rain and thunder, blowing leaves and trees, and animals. Students will also learn about various world rhythms and ensemble performance.

This class for ages 7 and up is $85.

A drawing workshop focused on replicating the human form will be taught by Ron Thomson July 27 through 30, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. It covers the tools and knowledge essential to drawing and painting from a live model and is for beginning to advanced artists.

The workshop will focus on drawing. Basic anatomy, proportion, rhythmic balance of weight and muscle groups will be explored. Some days will be painting sessions teaching how to use a limited palette of colors to create beautiful skin tones and expressive paintings. Students can choose to paint in oils or acrylics. The workshop is appropriate for beginners and advanced artists alike.

Students are asked to bring a sack lunch. Classes will eat together and continue their workshop discussions.

Cost of the class is $255, $225 for museum members.

Susie Bowman will teach a clay workshop August 3 through 7, 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day. The class will use coil, pinch and slab methods for building pieces. It will meet again on August 14 from 3:30 until 5 p.m. and August 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. for glazing; final pick-up of finished pieces will be on the following weekend.

The class is $155, $125 for museum members.

For more information, go to

Congressional contest winners announced
Congratulations to local winners of the First Congressional District Art Competition. A field of 133 participated from high schools across Southwest Alabama.

Siobhan Johnson of Mobile won first place for her work “Brotherhood’s Past.” Her piece will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol, and the St. Paul’s senior is invited to attend a Washington, D.C., reception this summer.

Grace Jeon, also of St. Paul’s, placed second with her work “With My Sister.”

Lillian Bower, a Robertsdale High School student, won third place with “The Dream Jump.”

Andrew Zhang of Mobile’s Alabama School of Math and Science placed fourth for his work “A Selfie Portrait.”

Honorable Mention awards went to Anna Alford (St. Paul’s Episcopal School), Christopher Barbosa (Baker High School), Kirsten Lundy-Powell (Theodore High School) and Madison Standland (Fairhope High School).

All of the pieces were displayed at the Mobile Museum of Art as part of National Youth Month.

More than 650,000 students have participated in the Congressional Art Competition since it began in 1982.