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Here’s what parents are saying about Early Masters ...

...and now, a word from our students...


My 10 year old son has enjoyed Shelley's classes immensely.  I cannot overstate how awesome the experiences are.  Connecting art to life is so important.  I wish Shelley offered classes for adults!

                                                                                                                    Sharon C. 


5 years later and my daughter is 15, and passionately identifies with art and artists. I credit Early Masters with this and I am so happy and grateful.


                                                                                                                    Margaret H.


Best thing that ever happened to our daughter. Our daughter has blossomed there and gained confidence. Now when adults come over she

gets out the paintings to show them. Whenever she has a class she overflows with excitement and it is a joy to see. This is a can't miss experience.

David B. 


Early Masters is a phenomenal way to teach and it's incredible what the kids create.   Our house is decorated with over 20 our daughter's works that our friends can't believe were created by an eight year old. Our daughter loves taking the classes because "it lets her mind be free".  Each session is 2.5 to 3 hours.  During the first part, the kids learn about an artist.  During the second part, they create their own painting/cutout/print based on one of the artist's masterpieces...but Shelly and her long-time assistant are both there for every class of no more than ten students.  Camps are a series of sessions strung together focused on an artist or theme. We've recommended the program to several friends (with both sons and daughters) and they've all been thrilled.

Mark J. 



Lots of great stuff going on in this studio! Daughter is growing along with it, loves her work with much thanks to her Art Diva teacher:).   

StudioSquare user




I was so impressed with this class, we love her painting. We have been trying for years to find the right thing for her. When I came to pick her up, her face was beaming and I almost cried, I have never seen her so happy after an activity. Thank you again so much I am feeling beyond grateful that we found your studio.




So, we knew that we loved (Early Masters) but we didn't know how much until our trip to NYC and Washington, DC. -- MET, MOMA, Smithsonian, The Cloisters, and several other small venues - and no matter how tired, our children were very excited to be there:  "Can you believe we are standing next to 5 of Monet's paintings, etc? One daughter made long lists of what she saw and lists of artists she wants to learn more about. Another took pictures of everything. If only all teachers taught like Shelley in all subjects - can you imagine how exciting it would be? So, my husband used to sigh a little every time I wrote a check for classes --- now he's the biggest fan,:) so worth it!




My children just took an art history/art studio class at the National Gallery in London. It was great--really terrific. The children analyzed composition, style, etc. of four panels.Then, they created their own drawing/shadow box. While the experience was wonderful, I couldn't help but compare it to Shelley Thomas and her Early Masters Studio in Maple Leaf, Seattle. Shelley has managed to perfect what the National Gallery is trying to do: teaching art history (the understanding of art, culture, and history) through theory and creation. I can't wait to get back to Seattle to enroll my eight year old daughter so that she can continue her educational journey into the past, present, and future of world history through her study of artistic masters, as well as through her own artistic paintings/creations that mimic the masters who she learns about. There are few to no people out there doing what Shelley Thomas is doing. If only the National Gallery could have her as their national treasure. Luckily, she is Seattle's treasure.

Amy B. 



My 10 year old daughter has been going to Shelley's Early Masters class for several years, and it has literally transformed her. It has awakened a passion for art and art history we never knew existed. She calls the studio "her happy place." She begs us to take her to museums on our vacations and proudly tells us all she learned about various artists. Shelley's knowledge of art history is impressive, and her enthusiasm is infectious. For my daughter, having high quality art supplies (as opposed to crummy school stuff) was transformative as well. The classes are small, and there is lots of individual attention. A highlight for our family was having both our kids exhibit their work at the SAM downtown. My son and daughter took her Gauguin class, and had their paintings displayed there. We had a terrific visit to the exhibit, where the kids gushed about their knowledge of the artist and his work to us, then showed us their own work. These classes are worth every single penny. Shelley truly has a rare school and we eagerly await the new class postings so we can sign up!

Hilary M.



We enrolled my 7 year old son in Ms.Shelly's Van Gogh and Monet class this past summer and were thrilled to see how much he loved them! He came home every day with a huge smile on his face and couldn't wait to share what he had learned. After his last session of the summer he actually cried because he was so disappointed  it was over. I wish other teachers could instill this sort of passion for learning! We continue to sign him up for additional after school sessions and are amazed at the positive impact on his painting skills and more importantly, his confidence. Ms. Shelly's enthusiasm and passion are contagious. My son asks regularly, "When's my next art class?" So we just keep signing him up for more. I highly recommend this for any child.

Yooli H. 



I can't say enough about what a fantastic educational enrichment experience your child will enjoy at Early Masters.  The way Shelley teaches literally has my kids thinking about what they've learned as they fall asleep at night--months after the class has ended!  Last night they quizzed my husband about what one of the three artistic breakthroughs of the Renaissance period was.  I should add that our kids are not the kind of kids that like to go to camps.  They do not beg to stay for after school programs.  They like to have lots of free to time for creative play at home.  But they beg to go to Early Masters.  What they've learned at Early Masters is also coming through their work in art class at school.  Their art teacher has asked if my husband and I are artists, because our kids seem to really understand art.  Wonderful, unique program; worth every penny!

Kristi H.


Our 10 year-old daughter has nothing else but praise to say about her "Artclub" at Early Masters. Shelley does a superb job inspiring her pupils, selecting the studied topics and artists.It shows Shelley loves, understands and lives Art.There is considerable amount of productivity during the class and it is utterly amazing to hear the History of Art being told through our kids at the dinner table.Early Masters is the place to be! Mais oui, absolument!

Maryline W. 



My son has had the good fortune to take several classes at Early Masters. The studio atmosphere and terrific projects are secondary to the exceptional quality of the Art Hisotry instruction woven into each course. For my child, learning about the artists is as important as creating the art. Shelly does an exceptional and lively job of engaging her students and immersing them in the biography, anecdotes, and context of each featured artist. I am a teacher and I frequently refer parents to Early Masters, the program is exceptional and the satisfaction the kids get from creating their own "masterpieces" can't be beat!

Terri S.


I had been wanting to sign my kids up for an Early Masters class for some time and I am so glad it finally worked out. If only every art program could pay such close attention to detail like this! Shelley has 2 young kids of her own so she know just the amount of encouragement and praise to make each young artist feel confident and able to tap into their own inner Picasso. My children simply loved everything about this class and will certainly be returning soon. My only worry is that everyone will find out how cool Early Masters is and there will be no room in the class!



My son, who is all boy, cannot stop talking about art class. He loves it! My son has some fine motor problems and I approached this art class as one more means for him to work with and strengthen his hands. I have gotten so much more than that. We are talking about art; the art on our own walls, the walls of friends and family, the art in books and at school. He is quick to point out something he knows about an artist or a painting. How amazing it is that I am having conversations with my 7 year old that most people don't have until college...if ever. I am thrilled he is part of this school and I hope it will be a part of our lives for years to come!

Nicki G.





I love Early Masters! It gives you a chance to learn about different artists. Some kids may think that is boring, but the way that Shelley teaches, it is really fun. She shows you pictures of the artists and their paintings. She also teaches us interesting facts about them. Then we get to paint one of their paintings. All the paintings turn out great! Shelley makes everyone feel special and talented. Early Masters is the best art place that there is!

Chloe age 11


“I get to learn art history AND technique in the same class”!!

Sophia J age 11


“I found my own style while painting like Monet. Early Masters is a place where you can learn tons of cool facts about art history while painting and having a great time. Shelley is so nice and always willing to help you.”


Harper M age10


“Early Masters has been a great experience! I love learning about different artists and their history. I’ve been to different art classes in Seattle and this one has been the best”!

Celeste M age 13


“It’s the best art class I’ve ever been in! It’s really fun when I bring my art work home and see how much I’ve improved. Shelley helps me improve my art”.

Sophia Marie M age 9


I love Early Masters.. I really like learning about the artists. Shelley is so fun and does so much more than just teach us to paint. She teaches us about art”.

Madeline B. age 13


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