New art studio in downtown Royal Oak teaches students in centuries-old tradition

There's a new art school in downtown Royal Oak, but there's no pressure to come to class every day. Students set their own schedules, and they decide what they're going to learn about. Come in once a week, come in five days a week. Come in for oil painting but decide you'd rather try printmaking? Go right ahead.
It's called Atelier Art Studio, and it draws on a centuries-old methodology for arts education that dates back to the 1750s. Atelier—French for workshop—is a style of teaching where students learn by doing. And rather than do it in a classroom, they create in a working studio alongside working, professional artists.
Artist Todd Burroughs opened Atelier with the intent of sharing knowledge, and to make art classes as accessible as possible. Rather than sell blocks of classes in a certain field, like a set of ten classes in watercolors, Atelier works on a subscription-based model. Pay by the week, and attend whichever and however many classes one desires.
"Atelier is a style of teaching that is often attended instead of traditional art school. This is more accessible because people can come as they're able to," says Burroughs. "It's like a gym where you can work out once a week or five times a week, based on your goals and available time."
It's like a gym, too, he says, where people go to focus on their well-being.
In the short time that they've been open, Burroughs says he's astonished by the wide range of diversity of Atelier's students, coming from every background and ranging in age from teenagers to octogenarians. Atelier recently gave out its first scholarship to a local high school student.
Atelier also offers gallery showings for its faculty and students.

Atelier Art Studio is located at 407 E. Fourth St. in downtown Royal Oak. Visit them online to learn more about enrollment opportunities.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.