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Frequently Asked Questions

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Snowboarder by S. Williams
ActonArt has grown so much since my son first started attending two years ago, but I am always impressed by the personal touches and the sense that you and all of the teachers really know your students. I love how the teachers open the studio door close to the end of each class and invite the parents in to view the artwork in progress and learn a little bit about the project’s goals and subject matter so they can talk to their kids about it.
Anonymous via email
  • WHEN DOES THE next trimester of classes begin registering?
    Our Fall drawing class registration opens on or shortly before August 1st each year. The Winter period opens during the last week of November (it varies according to the calendar holidays). The Spring registration typically opens during the first week of March (again it moves a bit due to calendar variations).
  • MY CHILD IS SOMEWHAT TENTATIVE about new experiences. Can they try a class before registering?
    We do allow try-outs with certain restrictions. First, there must be an opening in the class day/time you wish to try prior to enrolling. Trying a class on a day other than the one you would actually register in may not provide an accurate experience for your child. Some classes may be closed to try-outs because of the nature of the project. A multiple-week project or one that's very challenging is not an appropriate class to try and would not be allowed. PAYMENT for the class should be made before the class begins by cash or check made out to ActonArt for the amount of $25. At the end of a class it's often hectic and it can be difficult to make a payment. To arrange for a try-out class call the studio at 978-266-1600 or email and request the day and class time of choice. You can see if a class is FULL or OPEN for try-outs by looking at the schedule tables on our schedule page. There you can see if the class has any openings. If you have further questions please contact us via the phone or email information above.
  • MY CHILD MISSED A CLASS due to (fill in blank). Can we have a make-up class?
    MAKE-UPS ARE AVAILABLE ONLY IN CLASSES WHICH ARE NOT FULLY ENROLLED. THE PROJECT MISSED BY YOUR STUDENT MUST STILL BE THE CURRENT PROJECT. This is a limited, first-come, first-served arrangement and once the class is full it too will be closed for additional make up students. ALL fully enrolled classes are closed for make-ups. We have surveyed a number of local organizations and find that our policy is among the most flexible. Many art and music organizations offering group classes simply state that there are NO make-ups available.

    Missed classes and make-ups are the single biggest challenge for any organization that provides instructional classes. ActonArt is no exception. Our classes are size-limited for a specific reason; it helps the teacher provide a manageable environment for EVERY student in the room and it ensures that each student will receive the support they need. From experience we know that placing additional students (even one) in the studio compromises that objective. In addition, each project is taught Monday through Saturday. Once the project series has been completed we move on to the next project and there are no further opportunities to make up the class. We also know that special "Make-Up Classes" DO NOT WORK, since very few students can attend any class outside of their normal class time. The last time we offered such a class it was attended by one student.

    We do have a limited number of online video make up classes. We will periodically add to this collection so fresh classes will be available. Students that have missed a class are welcome to request a video class in lieu of an in-studio make up.

    We want your child to have the best experience we can offer without compromising other students class time. If you cannot avoid missing a class please understand that we offer what we can as long as it does not impact other students.
  • ALL YOUR CLASSES are full. How can I get my child into one?
    Registering for a Fall trimester class is the easiest time to get into any class. Since everyone is a "new" student in the Fall every class is completely open and no one is guaranteed placement from the prior trimester.

    Being flexible in your class day/hour choice also increases your chances of finding a spot. If there is only one class per week that you can attend it makes it much harder to get in.

    If you are looking to join a class during the Winter or Spring trimesters it's a huge advantage to look at the class openings on our web site promptly after we post them. You can make this much easier for yourself by joining our Registration Reminder email list. If you subscribe to this list you will receive approximately four emailed notices per year. Notices will be sent before registration opens for fall, winter and spring trimesters, plus the summer session of classes and weekly programs. You can remove your name from this list at any time by clicking an "unsubscribe" link.
  • WE'VE TAKEN classes at ActonArt before. Does this mean that we don't have to pay a registration fee?
    Registration at ActonArt requires a one-time per-year, per family, registration fee of $25. All students, both new and former students must pay the fee each year. Contact information including cell phone numbers, email addresses emergency contacts and even mailing addresses change frequently for many people. Yearly registration helps to keep our database current. The fee, aside from the expense of program management also pays for student portfolios which are given to each student as they enroll in classes. The portfolios are maintained in the studio as a safe place to store artwork, both finished and incomplete.
  • WHAT IF MY STUDENT starts class and doesn't like it after 2 or 3 classes? Can I have a refund?
    ActonArt does not provide refunds for withdrawals or missed classes. Parents and students are welcome to visit the studio, meet teachers, look at samples of typical projects and learn as much as possible before registering for a class. If a student withdraws due to a long-term illness or injury parents are welcome to inquire if a credit can be arranged for future use.
  • WE HAVE a schedule conflict. Is it o.k. to arrive 10 minutes late?
    Unfortunately, no. ActonArt classes begin on time. The first few minutes of every class is used to provide background information and develop interest, to talk about the project drawing, to give students an understanding of the drawing plan and have them "warm up" prior to drawing. For most students this is an extremely important part of the process that not only helps them prepare to draw, but for some kids actually makes if possible for them to focus and participate with positive results. Slipping children into the studio after the drawing has begun is not only stressful for children but it can turn a pleasant experience into a really bad day. In addition, latecomers are disruptive to EVERY student in the class, are likely to break everyone's concentration and cause everyone to wait while the late student receives materials and instructions necessary to proceed. It will also force everyone in the class to "rush" the drawing in order to complete the project before the class ends.

    Please make every attempt to arrive on time. Do not register in a drawing class that follows another activity so closely that you cannot avoid being late. It is rarely an issue for a student to have to leave a class early, but IT IS ALWAYS A PROBLEM WHEN A STUDENT ARRIVES LATE.
  • CAN A PARENT sign up to take a class with their child?
    Yes. We have had many parent/child students in classes over the years. It can be a rewarding shared-experience since drawing is a very personal means of expression. One observation that's worth passing on is that young children may be over-sensitive to their parent's "unknown" skills. Adults usually draw with more control than they might expect since they may think of themselves as novices. Nevertheless adults have a lifetime of visual experience and physical control that children do not. The adult will almost always create much more sophisticated drawings which kids sometimes perceive as "better" than their own. Watch for signs of self-criticism from your child about their artwork.
  • HOW DO I CHOOSE the right class for my child?
    REFER TO THE CLASS DESCRIPTIONS for the recommended age ranges (see the list under the "Classes" drop-down menu at the top of each web page). This is the single most important factor in placing a new student in a class.

    It's been our experience that the age guidelines we provide for each class level are nearly always the right place for children to begin. Children with drawing skills that appear to be very advanced to their parents frequently have one or two perceptual strengths (out of five) that are needed to create representational artwork, but they typically have an incomplete understanding of the remaining perceptions. By following the age guidelines, children can utilize their strengths immediately and focus on understanding new concepts and developing the additional skills. It's far better to place children in classes where they can do well and take pride in their results than to over-challenge them with concepts they are not capable of understanding before certain age and developmental thresholds are reached.

    If your child has special needs or you believe their abilities are not commensurate to their calendar age please call and tell us your thoughts. We are willing to be flexible when possible and will always try to accommodate any child who wishes to participate in a class.
  • I'VE REGISTERED ONLINE but I don't know how much to pay for the class.
    The button bar at the top of the page has a "TUITION" drop-down menu. The table lists the tuition amount due according to the length of the class. Discounts are available for families who register multiple students, home school students, and senior citizens. The discount amount is indicated in the table and can be applied to EACH student registered.

    The $25 Registration fee is an Annual, per family, charge. You pay it once per year ONLY. It is NOT per student, but per family. $25 once per year, NOT per trimester. It should be easy but it seems to confuse everyone!
  • WHAT IS Open Studio?
    This is a time when registered students can use the studio and materials to complete unfinished artwork. There is no additional fee. OPEN STUDIO will be available to students on occasional scheduled days. To attend an Open Studio please note the following:

    This time is made available for students to work on UNFINISHED project artwork. It is not a free drawing time, nor is it daycare. We cannot provide materials to friends or siblings.
    Children under the age of 8 may NOT be left in the studio to work on their own. Parents or a guardian should be present.
    Older students may work unaccompanied as long as the parent or guardian can be contacted when they are finished with their artwork, or they can leave independently.
    Students should be prepared to work without guidance since there may not be a teacher present or the teacher may be too busy to provide individual assistance.
    Scheduled Open Studio days will be posted in the studio and are listed on the trimester calendar page.
  • WHEN IS THE NEXT Open Studio?
    Open Studio times are scheduled when it becomes evident that there are a number of students who wish to work on unfinished artwork. In the past we would schedule Open Studios in advance and publish the dates but it didn't always work as planned. On various occasions only one or two students would attend. Currently we are sending email notices and posting Open Studio dates in the studio prior to holding an Open Studio. You can also check our calendar web page to see if anything has been scheduled.
  • IS THERE A HOLIDAY calendar that shows when you'll be closed?
    Our Trimester schedule is shown on our calendar web page. Holidays are listed here as well as Open Studio dates.
  • HOW DOES MY registration get processed and will I receive a confirmation?
    You will receive an automated email reply shortly after submitting our online form that confirms the receipt of your submission data in our studio computer. This message will contain a copy of the registration data that you have submitted. If you do not receive these messages you can email us at and we will confirm the status of your registration request. THIS TABLE DETAILS TUITION DUE FOR ALL CLASSES. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS REGARDING THE TOTAL AMOUNT DUE FOR TUITION PLEASE email us or call 978-266-1600. If there is any problem placing a student in the requested class we will contact you soon after we receive your registration. We will confirm all students approximately 3 to 5 days before classes begin. It is not possible to do this earlier because we routinely have to shift students around to accommodate change-of-class requests, other program conflicts, etc.
  • HOW DO I PAY the tuition?
    Since ActonArt does not accept credit card payments we will hold your registration while waiting to receive payment. Online registration is time/dated and WILL TEMPORARILY SECURE a student's place in class in the order of receipt. Fall class payment is due within seven (7) days of submitting your online registration. It can be sent via U.S. Postal Service (see address below) or hand-delivered to the studio as a check or cash payment (see below, “where do I send or deliver payment”). Upon receipt of payment we will complete your registration. Pending registrations NOT PAID within seven days may be canceled. Please call us at 978-266-1600 if you have any questions. We will contact you if there are any questions or problems with your registration request.
  • WHAT'S THE TOTAL amount that I need to pay?
    This Tuition page indicates possible payment scenarios for most students. Simply click the button indicating the class length for your class and the tuition amount will appear. If you are registering multiple students you may deduct the discount indicated for EACH student. Registration fee is paid ONLY ONE TIME PER YEAR, typically in the Fall for most students.
  • WHERE DO I SEND or deliver payment?
    ALL checks should be made payable to: ACTONART.

    Mail payment to:
    ActonArt, P.O. Box 2743
    Acton, MA 01720
    or deliver to the studio.


    There is a tuition-drop slot on the exterior wall of our building on the ramp leading to the main entrance door. The slot is accessible 24 hours a day. All payments inserted into this slot are contained in a receptacle which is only accessible to ActonArt staff.
  • WHAT ARE THE beginning/end dates of the next trimester?
    Trimester begin/end dates are always posted at the top of the Tuition page.
  • ARE THERE ANY holidays or vacation days during the next trimester?
    Our Calendar page lists our yearly schedule including all holiday breaks.
  • CAN MY CHILD take the school bus to ActonArt?
    Maybe… but probably not. We are happy to have children arrive via school bus as long as it does not drop them off too early or late. 20 minutes prior to class time is the MAXIMUM amount of time we can accommodate. If the bus arrives earlier than that the studio may not even be staffed. Please refer to the question above about arriving late. We have not had many children arrive via bus successfully in the past 10 years. It is almost always too early, or too late. While the bus may seem like an alternative, it rarely works for either the students or the ActonArt teachers. We regard the safety of your children to be extremely important and cannot reliably provide for that when children arrive at the studio more than 20 minutes early.

    Update: As of Sept. 2015 Acton Public schools changed their busing policy. Buses can no longer make stops at commercial locations such as ours.