Art Classes

Curriculum &
Course Descriptions
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Art Instruction for Kids

Why families choose Cherry Court Studios: enrichment, early advantage studies, year-round art instruction, creative instruction for home-schooled, gifted instruction, specialized art instruction for middle school, scholastic recognition, portfolio development, preparation to apply to selective colleges, scholarship recognition.

What type of student attends Cherry Court Studios? There is no type! You will see a casual artist seated next to an artist building a scholastic portfolio. At CCS, instruction is individualized. Each young artist is working toward a very personalized set of goals. Students at all skill levels will find a supportive environment, easy to follow lessons, and the joy of exploring their own creative path.

During the school year, classes meet once a week, 14 weeks per semester. Each class is 1½ hours long. Students may also attend an optional 45 minute open studio each week. Classes meet weekday evenings, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon. Summer classes meet for 7 weeks. Each class is 3 hours long.

IMAGINE, for students entering grades 5 & 6

Young artists in upper elementary will labor intently for hours creating images that have captured their imaginations.

It might be robots, anime, horses, or action figures. Though subjects vary, the intent is the same – working very hard, erasing as needed, until one is able to render a chosen image with the same skill as the original artist. Just as a young Michelangelo spent hours sketching classical statues at the local park, young artists of the 21st century sponge in the art of their own culture. They are often inspired by cartoons, animations, advertisements, video games, book illustrations, and movies. This is an excellent beginning.

Art lessons for this age are designed to provide the broadest and richest art experiences possible. After all, the more visual experience an adolescent amasses as a foundation, the richer the palette of ideas available for building one’s own unique personal style. At Cherry Court, young artists take many exciting visual journeys through time and space.

Whether the treasures of ancient China, animals of the African savanna, the amate bark paintings of Mexico, Picasso’s distorted images, Jim Henson’s Muppets, Henri Rousseau’s fantasy jungles, or the haunted forest on the way to OZ; all are colorful stops at Cherry Court’s IMAGINE program for upper elementary. The question both students and teacher enjoy exploring anew each week is “What are the possibilities?”

CLICK HERE to view our students’ IMAGINE art gallery.

Spring Classes, 2020

Spring classes begin Tuesday, Feburary 4, 2020. Fourteen classes meet Tuesdays 5:00 to 6:30 pm or Saturdays 2:30 to 4:00 pm. A 45 min. open studio is available following each class for those who like extra work time. Students will draw, paint, and create in three dimensions. They will expand their creative zone by exploring a variety of artists, cultures, and art disciplines. Spring semester offers seven exciting lessons:

  • Skaters and Skiers – A Study of Figures in Action
  • Chinese Brush Painting on Rice Paper
  • Thinking Like Picasso: The Abstract Musician
  • Jungle Dreamscapes Inspired by Henri Rousseau
  • Covered Bridge Painting
  • Gnomes and Their Homes Sculpture
  • Mexican Amate Bark Painting

ART CHALLENGE is for students entering grades 7, 8 and 9

Cherry Court Studios is the only after-school art program in the greater Pittsburgh area to offer middle school families:

  • A curriculum for grades 7 – 9.
  • Goal oriented, sequential lessons.
  • Lessons that appeal to and challenge ages 12-14.
  • A strong foundation in both design and drawing.
  • Individualized instruction.
  • Lessons oriented to the high standards of Scholastic Competition.

Unfortunately, many middle school artists reporting to class each fall will not see the inside of an art room for weeks, months, or even an entire school year. Pennsylvania schools, by law, need only provide students with 18 weeks of art instruction from the beginning of grade 7 through the end of grade 8. Therefore, young artists are forced to sit out most of this critical stage in their creative development, a time when motor skills are maturing rapidly and creative energy is set on maximum — a time when quality art instruction will have the greatest impact. In other disciplines, gifted students are perfecting their skills. The next Dorothy Hamill is skating. The next Tiger Woods is golfing. And the next Yo Yo Ma is practicing his cello. But for Pennsylvania’s middle school artists a continuous program of art instruction does not exist.

What is more difficult, community art programs seldom offer instruction tailored to the developmental needs of middle school. Twelve-year-olds are grouped with elementary students. Thirteen-year-olds are forgotten, offered cartooning, or placed with high-schoolers. Quality art programs for middle school are hard to find. That was until Cherry Court Studios opened its doors in 2006. Since then, creative students are demonstrating how early advantage studies, dedication, hard work, and family support are earning Pittsburgh students outstanding senior portfolios and admission to selective universities.

Our program: Kids in middle school love a challenge. That’s why video games are so popular. Cherry Court’s ©ART CHALLENGE for Middle School takes kids on a quest to complete 14 EXCITING CHALLENGES, starting with the simplest and progressing through more and more complex levels of creative problem solving. The prize is a completed million-dollar (perhaps priceless) portfolio. ART CHALLENGE takes advantage of students’ rapidly developing motor skills and abundance of creative energy.

A personal journey: Young artists receive their empty portfolios on the first day of class. Students begin the first Challenge, working at a pace comfortable for them. The average student will complete six Challenges in a semester. Some with busy academic and extracurricular schedules may complete less. Others may find the time to finish seven or eight Challenges. Teachers and classmates provide inspiration, encouragement, and feedback. But within this supportive environment, each student progresses in a direction suited to his/her personality, aspirations, and unique world view.

Sample Challenge: ART CHALLENGE 7 is called: A Surreal Experience.Students take pencil in hand to create a surreal dreamscape in the style of Salvador Dali. Part of the Challenge is to sketch three-dimensional cubes, cylinders, and spheres using perspective, a source of light, shading, highlights, shadows, and cast shadows. Beyond that point, students must engage their imaginations to consider the creative possibilities. Should they create a mysterious board game, a room in another dimension, or something intergalactic?

©ART CHALLENGE for Middle School is an innovative instructional package, developed and implemented at Cherry Court Studios in 2006. It is one of the few programs on the market today that meet the developmental needs of middle school students: designed by a veteran educator, tested for years in public school classrooms, expertly crafted to build skills from basic to complex, offering individualized Challenges designed for students to work at their own pace, complete with instructional packets and richly illustrated example artwork.

Click HERE to see the complete course outline.

ART & TECHNOLOGY is for students entering grades 8 and up

This course is available to students in grades 8 and above who have completed at least 12 Challenges from the ART CHALLENGE program.

Students create art in two computer programs: Adobe Photoshop and CorelDraw. The first is a bitmap program which manipulates photographs. The second is a draw program based on vectors.

Computer art has evolved so rapidly that it is regarded as fine art all by itself. It is fun for young students, who have grown up in the computer age, to push the limits of what can be created.

This course will be arranged as a 1½ hour tutoring session meeting at the same time each week. If students do not own these programs, they may schedule practice time when the studio is open for classes.

During the summer, students may elect to study any of the programs offered during the school year. They will consult parents and instructor to set up seven three-hour tutoring sessions plus optional practice time.

INTENSIVE SKILL DEVELOPMENT is for students entering grades 9 and up

This course is available to those in grades 9 and up who have completed 12 Challenges of the ART CHALLENGE program.

Subjects will include still life, people, and environments. Students will strive for proficiency in both drawing and paint media. An important part of the course will be training one’s eyes to observe and record.

However, within the parameters of observational studies, students will also learn to see the artist as visual poet, or one who interprets what is recorded.

Students may approach this course with different degrees of urgency. Some plan to attend a top university or win a scholarship as a high school senior. Those students should do all recommended outside sketches as well as spend extra time in open studio. Quality work cannot be produced without quantity in the number of hours practiced.

On the other hand, students who are studying art just for the enjoyment of the subject can take a more casual approach to the course. For these students, the extra sketches and open studio are not urgently needed.

This course is offered each semester and in the evenings during summer session. Special class arrangements can be made to fit the goals of students regarding the number of classes per week and the focus of study.


Cherry Court Studios offers advanced courses for students in grades 10 through 12.

These courses are sequentially arranged, and designed to guide students toward advanced art production that reflects individual talents and areas of interest.

Participation in PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT will be limited to students who have completed at least 12 ART CHALLENGES within Cherry Court’s middle school program. This foundation in the fundamentals of design is a critical platform on which to build new skills. Students who wish to join CCS for the first time in grades 10 and up will receive a portfolio review. Foundation requirements completed in other art programs will be credited. Foundation skills absent will be assigned as required work before progressing to the Portfolio Develoment program.

Course offerings within the PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT program include:

Intensive Skill Development: Life studies that include still life, people and environments, will increase the student’s ability to observe and record, while better understanding the artist’s role as visual poet. Students have an opportunity to take this course as early as grade 9, and may already have completed this requirement in Cherry Court’s middle school program.

Creative Exploration of Media: Prerequisite – INTENSIVE SKILLS. While continuing to improve observational skills, students will use art materials in increasingly creative ways and begin to make selections that reflect a personal style.

Personal Style: Prerequisite – CREATIVE EXPLORATION OF MEDIA. Students will use art elements and materials in unique ways that express their personalities, interests, and experiences.

In-Depth Study: A strong portfolio will represent both breadth and depth of study. While previous courses offer breadth of study, this course will focus on a narrow aspect of art, selected by the student, that is explored thoroughly. Most ideally, this course should be taken in the summer between Junior and Senior year. However, it may be necessary to take this course earlier in order to prepare a portfolio for competition or provide other advantages.

Art & Technology: This is an optional course offered at both the middle school and high school levels. Students create art in both Adobe Photoshop and CorelDraw software.


You’ve dedicated your life to family and work and now have some time for you.

You’ve always loved to draw, and long to finally explore your creative side. Your experienced instructor, Marianne C Massucci, will design an individualized program based on your current skill level, and guide you through a sequential series of lessons to advance your understanding of drawing and design, develop your skills with art materials, and mentor you on your quest to discover your personal style.

Private lessons at CCS include:

  1. A free evaluation and discussion of your creative goals.
  2. 14 art lessons, 1½ hours per lesson, with an optional 45 minute open studio.


Private adult lessons for age 19 and up …. $390 (welcoming college age to seniors). Semi-private or small group lessons …. $310 per student.

  • Art supplies are included with tuition.
  • Lessons are available week day afternoons, limited Saturday, Sunday morning and evenings.
  • Students are welcome to attend an optional 45 minute open studio after each lesson
  • You may begin adult art lessons year-round.

About US

Our Story

Cherry Court Studios is for kids who love to draw. Some Cherry Court students may become great artists, or enjoy long productive careers in the visual arts. But for those who don’t choose art-related fields, creative skills are assets that last a lifetime.






What Our Alumni Say

"Best student art program around. Thank you, Marianne, for all you have done to encourage and teach my daughter. I sincerely believe that she would not have been able to accomplish as much as she has been able to accomplish to date, without you."

Amy K.

"Through college and in my personal life I’ve used so much of what Miss M taught me from designing CD labels for my music to creating original artwork for my personal website. Art will always be an important part of everything I do."

Sean N.

"Thank you for everything! You are a great teacher and I have learned so much from you over the years. You have certainly inspired me to pursue a degree/career in art! Thanks for helping me to discover my passion."

Catie D.

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