“Every child is an artist,” goes the famous quote attributed to Picasso. “The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” For one, grown-ups must find a way to keep playing—in that spontaneous, let-loose way that comes so naturally to children. The creative process of art promotes play, and the benefits abound: a stimulant for creativity, boost for longevity and anchor for sanity in our busy world. Whether a stress reliever, creative outlet, canvas for talent or stimulant for productive work, art can be transformative.

Peoria’s many art studios understand these benefits well, and besides providing opportunities for kids, they open their doors for adults to play as well. So what do you want to learn next? Letterpress? Glass blowing? Ceramics? Painting? Metalworking? This new year, channel your inner kid and try out one of these offerings…

Peoria Art Guild
“Drawing is one of the most intimate of art-making techniques,” says Sarah Nesbit, instructor at the Peoria Art Guild. Her classes have covered topics like abstract painting and right-brain drawing—in which students explore the language of line, shadow, shape, form and texture and how drawing can articulate feelings and observations. Located in the Foster Arts Center at 203 Harrison, the Guild’s Studio School offers a diverse lineup of six- to eight-week courses, plus shorter workshops on figure drawing, mixed media, papermaking, ceramics, photography, stained glass and metalworking, as well as a series of professional development workshops for working artists. “We’ve got exciting instructors, all professional artists, and we’ve also been hosting some open drop-in drawing sessions,” adds Joshua Cox, exhibitions coordinator, referencing the 6 to 9pm sessions that meet every third Tuesday to draw from a live model with no instructors or critiques. The next class session runs from January 20 to March 3, 2015. (peoriaartguild.org/!/studioschool; 671-1092)

Ear in the Envelope
An educational and inspirational company created for and by artists, Ear in the Envelope, located at 820 SW Adams in the Warehouse District, offers private classes in jewelry making, metal stamping, drawing and sublimation. Owner and artist Lizz Barnes and her team cut, corner and polish food-safe aluminum blanks—a variety of metal pieces used as a base in jewelry making—which are provided for students in the classes, and sold online in Barnes’ Etsy shop—etsy.com/shop/gottagettadeal. (earintheenvelopeinc.blogspot.com; 550-3518)

The Hive
“Art is good for all that ails you!” exclaims Jody Tockes, owner of The Hive, located at 305 SW Water. Both a studio and gallery, The Hive offers classes and painting sessions targeting numerous ages and abilities. Options include corporate team-building sessions, girls’ and moms’ night out classes, bachelorette painting parties, adult birthday parties and couples’ date nights. The studio also hosts lunch-hour art sessions called “crEATe,” where participants eat lunch in the studio while taking a creative break, as well as Friday evening “Happy Art” sessions. In 2015, the studio will feature a year-long “Paint for Health” theme, with new classes added each season pertaining to healthy food, relaxation, personal missions and passions, community and healing. The Hive is also active in community outreach, leading workshops, raising funds and participating in various local events and charities. (thehive305.com; 360-4880)

Wheel Art Pottery Studios
“This is the best dirty fun you’ll have all year!” exclaims Susie Mathews, co-owner. Wheel Art Pottery Studios, tucked away in the alley at 1101 SW Washington, offers classes for new and continuing students in wheel-throwing and hand-building pottery. Adult classes meet once a week for eight-week sessions. The studio also hosts private pottery parties for birthdays, graduations, reunions, anniversaries and more, offering guests a chance to create a hand-built piece and enjoy throwing on the wheel. The instructors glaze and fire the final work and have it ready for pick-up in three weeks. (bit.ly/wheelart; 306-1741).

Contemporary Art Center
The CAC offers traditional and unique art classes for many ages and skill levels. Classes typically meet once a week for eight-week sessions, although drop-ins are sometimes permitted. But if you’re interested, sign up early, says William Butler, executive director. “The mistake people often make is to wait until the last minute… and the class is already full or has been cancelled because of lack of response.” The studio spans a wide mix of mediums, including an open-studio figure drawing course, where students are directed in drawing or painting a figure from a live model, and printmaking workshops, which offer an experimental atmosphere in which to learn and develop one’s techniques. Other upcoming sessions include oil painting and Encaustic painting—applying tempered and pigmented beeswax in layers using heat fusion. (peoriacac.org; 674-6822)

Fired Up!
“Painting pottery always encourages conversation, creativity and fun,” says Heather Hogan, manager of this Peoria Heights studio. Whether hosting a girls’ night out, date night, office party, birthday or shower, the party room at Fired Up is a relaxing space for up to 30. Guests select a piece of pottery from an assortment of choices—figurines, platters, plaques, vases and more—and a vibrant palette of paints is available to create simple patterns or more elaborate designs. Instructors provide the materials and guidance to execute any vision. Once complete, the staff glazes and fires the piece to achieve a durable food-safe finish. The studio also offers a Cork & Canvas session, with instructors guiding artists through a pre-planned acrylic painting on canvas. No experience is necessary for these sessions, but reservations are recommended. (firedupstudios.biz; 685-8906)

J Draper Glass
Nestled in at Studios on Sheridan, J Draper Glass seeks to cultivate a deeper appreciation of the art of hand-blown glass through hands-on classes, tours, team-building workshops and open houses—no experience required. Each class focuses on creating a different project, from paperweights and sun catchers to mushrooms, ornaments and pumpkins. The studio also offers advanced, independent two- and four-week classes that focus on developing glass-blowing techniques and tool use, as well as corporate retreats, with customized packages to suit your company’s specific needs. “What better time to take the chill off than in a warm glass studio?” asks owner Jeremie Draper. (jdraperglass.com; 339-6244)

The Art Garage
The Art Garage is a unique studio and gallery located at 712 W. Main. Owner and artist Jessica Ball offers a variety of classes for adults, in addition to opportunities for children. A two-week “Watercolor Painting” session imparts brush techniques with projects emphasizing those skills; “Acrylic Painting” focuses on color, with projects on tinting, shading and the color wheel; “Drawing Basics” centers around lines, forms, objects, and techniques like shading and texture; and “Fun with Pastels” explores creation through chalk and oil pastels. The studio also offers one-day workshops like “The Art of Zen-Doodle” and “Pastel Painting,” this winter’s monthly Saturday sessions. (art-garage-studio.com; 231-2511)

Prairie Center of the Arts
This artist-in-residence program offers artists from around the world the resources and uninterrupted time to think and create. The studio recently installed a community book arts and printmaking facility to serve the Peoria area through classes, workshops and support on the use of equipment. All sessions are taught by experts in the field of book arts and printmaking. Upcoming courses include an introduction to drypoint—a printmaking technique in which an image is incised into a plate with a hard-pointed needle, screen-printing with stencils, relief printing with color, letterpress, colograph—an inexpensive medium used to produce quick variations of prints, monoprinting and stop-motion animation, a “letters of love” printing class just in time for Valentine’s Day, and more. (prairiecenterofthearts.org; 657-6064) a&s