I worked at Gage as an instructor of classes and workshops for 5 years and my classes were popular and there were never any complaints or a single negative incident. I began my teaching career 25 years ago at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia.
During my time at Gage I witnessed so much shockingly unprofessional behavior that it would take a series of articles to do them justice so I will stick, as briefly as possible, to my own story.
I opened my own small classroom/atelier in 2014 and two popular teachers from Gage, who had been passed over for ateliers at Gage (who had opened the, then defunct, Seattle Sculpture Atelier) were plannng on collaborating with me on it. We communicated a lot about this and one of them also donated most of the equipment I needed to get started.
After being told that I was not allowed to leave promotional materials in the area for which they are designated at Gage one day, everything started to change. My would-be partners stopped communicating with me, art centers in the region which had expressed interest (based on my reputation) and even volunteers quickly and suddenly estranged themselves.
What was maliciously spread all over, by the classical atelier instructor, school manager and co founders, to other schools and important artists all over the region and even NATIONALLY, was that Gage had had to take out a restraining order against me. This devestating lie was repeated all over to destroy the tiny business I started because it competed with what they do.
No nonprofit should be deliberately and dishonestly destroying another business because it competes with theirs. Yet, this is what they do there, and worse, all the time. It is run with the self appointed privilege and entitlement of a corrupt small town nonprofit which behaves like a pyramid scheme or racketeering operation.
They don't deserve grants and donations, they deserve to be reported, repeatedly, to the IRS.
I just received a mass email from the Instructor of the Classical Atelier at Gage to promote the activities of her own personal business. I never signed up for anything from this individual and this means that Gage has clearly released my personal contact information to a third party, knowing it would be used for promotions/spam.
Now this person must have an email list of many tens of thousands of names to engage in promotions which profit her personally.
This is truly appalling and is, I feel, a shameful breach of trust.
This activity, promoting the profit oriented business of a friend, is NOT what being a nonprofit is supposed to be doing.
Shame on Gage.
I go by the rule of three - once or twice might be a mistake but if I'm insulted three times by the staff, I don't come back. This was the third disappointing instance at Gage. Don't bother with them unless you enjoy paying to be insulted. Try giving your money to Pratt or any number of other fine Seattle institutions.
This is a great place for artists of any caliber. Classes might be pricey if you are used to a community college or other venue,but the instructors have a solid background in the arts and know the things that they are teaching you.
I studied at Gage for four years working through the Drawing Certificate Program. I found the classes and teaching of the highest level. I gained a strong foundation in the principles of art, in drawing and sculpture. The school also offers excellent workshops taught by emerging and established artists from around the country. One can tailor his own program to fit his needs from refresher classes to preparatory program for a profession in art. The open studio figure sessions, free talks and lectures are an added benefit along with the friendships one can establish with other artists. Gary Faigin and Pamela Belyea have done a wonderful job in guiding this school into becoming an important part of realist art movement in the Northwest. I highly recommend Gage to anyone wanting to study art.
I am pleased to write a review of the Gage Academy of Art. The school began operation year-round in Seattle in 1995 and has grown rapidly to become one of the premier visual arts institutions in King County with more than 1,400 students who flock to Gage from around the country. The core of its programming is traditional observational training with emphasis on the foundation skills of figure drawing, painting and sculpture. I think one of the aspects of Gage that distinguishes it from other art schools is its commitment to youth. In the year 2000, it established the InternCity Project, a year-long program of intensive art classes for homeless youth and established youth programs providing in-school specialists and free after school visual arts classes at five elementary schools in the Seattle School District. Besides after-school and weekend youth classes, the school now offers a popular, free Friday night program, Teen Art Studios, for teens to socialize and explore their own creativity. Two major annual events epitomize Gage’ commitment to serve the local public and artist communities. The “Drawing Jam” held every December now attracts a thousand artists of all levels of skill to spend a 12-hour day with free art supplies, free cafÃ© refreshments plus non-stop music and models. In June of every year, Gage hosts its “Best of Gage” annual student show and open house at which every Gage adult student is invited to show their artwork in a one-month exhibition juried by a local arts professional. Gage has become more than an arts school. Its founders, Gary Faigin and Pamela Belyea, have created a community center focused on visual art that serves artists from age 6 (youngest) to 86 (oldest) and a vibrant hub of activity on Capitol Hill in Seattle. My organization, 4Culture, is proud to support Gage Academy financially to help it continue its work in the service of the citizens of Seattle and King County. Jim Kelly, 4Culture Executive Director
We are a retired couple who now have time to pursue our longstanding interest in art as students in drawing and painting. We have taken quarter-long classes, weekend and summer workshops and a variety of the evening lecture series at Gage. In each case the instruction has been excellent and has helped us improve in all aspects of our art. We also regularly attend the free monthly lectures. Some of these lectures introduced us to the work of established artists in this area. Other lectures we enjoyed were given by museum curators and gallery owners. The lectures have made us much more aware of what is happening in the local art scene. Other lecures have given practical advice to the emerging artist. These lectures helped one of us prepare for a show at a local gallery through guidance on pricing decisions and writing an artist statement. We both have taken advantage of the opportunity to show our work in the student art shows. One of us was chosen to have a one-man show in one of Gage's galleries and also won a prize in the annual student art show.
I was Chair of the Board of Gage for 6 years and helped shepherd the organization through its move from the University Heights building to its present location at St. Mark's and its name change from Seattle Academy of Art to Gage Academy. Both of these monumental undertakings were solved with efficiency and grace. I have never worked with more committed founders whom I respect individually for their dedication to the art and community. From the Board to the Staff to the Students to the Donors, Gage Academy fosters an atmosphere of shared creative learning. I would urge anyone reading these reviews to become involved: take a class, visit an on site gallery, donate or join the board. Your life will be enriched.
Gage Academy of Art, led by founders Pamela Belyea and Gary Faigin, fills a unique and important niche among the Seattle’s university and college arts teaching institutions. Gage offers year-round affordable yet expert instruction for young and adult students on the fundamentals of artistic painting and drawing. Dedicated to helping artists of all ages and all levels of proficiency, Gage serves as an independent art school in the tradition of the Ecole Nationale des beaux-arts in Paris and the Art Students League in New York, offering the technical foundation of an artist’s training. Focusing on the humanist tradition, the Academy offers the broadest range of figurative studies on the West Coast. Over the past five years, Belyea and Faigin have doubled the school’s budget and increased enrollment by 25%. Without Gage, over 1,000 adult students, 700 youth students, and over 10,000 members of the public would need to go elsewhere each year for artistic training or to participate in the various exhibitions, lecture series and public events Gage provides as the foundation to drawing, painting, sculpting, and their appreciation.
I have been a professional painter and until recently, teacher of art for over 40 years. My association with Gage began in 1993 when I was invited to teach at their Santa Fe Painting Workshops. Since then, I have taught figure and still life painting workshops for the school in '94,and '98 and am currently on their board of advisers. By 1993, when I initially worked for Gage, I had taught in dozens of workshops, but had never seen one run with greater professionalism which engendered in the students a dynamic spitit of investigation into all the components which coalesce into the creation of a work of art. I noticed that in the subsequent workshops I taught for them, this investigative spirit had matured and grown, so that I can confidently say that Gage is now the premier art academy on the West Coast. The Academy fulfills a number of functions locally in Seattle, in the West Coast art community and, I may add, to the country as a whole. Their students are nurtured in an ever more demanding and varied sequence of classes, ultimately creating a body of accomplished work over a period of years. The classes are taught by a strong corps of local artists (some recruited by the Academy from around the USA), augmented by a very impressive guest instructor roster of nationally known painters and sculptors. Some of my workshop students traveled from Canada, Japan and across the coutry to study with me. On the most rigorous level, the Academy offers an extremely disciplined Classical Atelier for very serious students, headed by a nationally known painter who already has published two art instructional books in drawing and painting. The Gage Academy is worthy of your most generous funding.
I am a current teaching artist and lecturer at Gage Academy of Art. My experience at Gage over the past three years has been thoroughly positive. The passion and engagement in arts education that I have witnessed from my colleagues is refreshing, challenging, and inspiring. An important element of Gage is that it provides a supportive environment for instructors that are also working artist- providing opportunities to show and discuss our works/research with the student body and the larger public. This creates a meaningful dialog and curiosity for learning between students and instructors. Gage is an asset to the Seattle arts community.
Gage Academy of Art is an exceptional arts institution for any city - that it exists in Seattle is our great fortune. The school deserves to be recognized for its role in creating a world-class art school that serves any person with the desire to learn art. My experience with Gage began in 2002 with my first painting class. I never looked back, and continued to take one or two classes plus workshops every quarter. Because the school has been such an important part of my life and my personal growth as an artist, I welcomed the chance to give back, and became a trustee. Here are a few reasons why: students are welcomed from every walk of life, every age group, and every socio-economic demographic. Students have the independence to choose the path that serves them best - from individual classes and workshops, to Gage's foundation program, to the ateliers. Regardless of the chosen path, students are treated with the same respect and encouragement by the outstanding local, regional, and national instructors. The education goes beyond the classroom, and includes drop-in studios; free exhibitions of student, instructor and guest artist works; lectures by notable speakers (including several free lectures each quarter); teen art studios every Friday night provided at no cost to the drop-in students; and the much anticipated and well attended annual Drawing Jams. Gage opens it's doors to students and to the general community. It is a unique institution which is gaining well-deserved national exposure.
i have always been a proponent of providing artistic outlets for adults as well as children. Gage takes this one step further by combining the excellence of world recognized artists to teach and provide inspiration to generations of aspiring artists. As a subject too often lopped off school budgets, the need for art education has never been greater. without it the density of the fabric or our cultural life is greatly diminished.
I am writing to recommend Gage Academy of Art for [community recognition] based on its commitment to exhibiting local, regional, national and international artists in free, rotating shows that engage its students, as well as our whole community. With the Steele Gallery focused on professional artists and the Rosen Gallery hosting student and emerging artist shows, Gage opens its doors to opportunities for a wide range of serious artists to be seen publicly with art that spans from classical realism to abstract expressionism, from encaustic/mixed media to bronze. In fact, I was recently invited to curate an exhibition of professional abstract artists working in series at “Building C,” an artist’s loft building in Ballard. It is meaningful that Gage has added training “guest curators” to the mission of its exhibition program, allowing fresh eyes and ideas to formulate shows in the Steele Gallery. Typically, two Gage shows per year are curated by guest artists allowing young curators a venue to practice their critical and presentation skills. Over the past five years, since its move to the St. Nicholas Building on Capitol Hill, Gage has hosted an astounding range of artistic works by professional artists such as realist drawings by NY artist Steven Assael; sumi ink paintings by Hong Kong artist, John Li; master prints from a collection of British artists; “forgotten masters” of NW paintings from the 1930s; cartoon drawings by Jim Woodring, bronze sculptures by NW artist Ann Morris, drawings and paintings by the UW Art faculty, a group show of political art by Seattle gallery artists and much, much more. It is also meaningful to note that the opening receptions for these shows include a free public lecture and the evening draws hundreds of interested art lovers. The community outreach of the Gage exhibition program provides a substantial service to our local artists, especially these days when the visual arts are receiving less funding and less exposure. Margaret Watson
Gage Academy of Art deserves community recognition and support because of its large and unique contribution to the arts in Seattle and the positive difference it makes in the lives of its students, as it has for 20 years. Gage takes all comers from age 6 to age 86, those who haven’t stopped drawing since pre-school and those who are only starting, prepared to nurture them to their full potential. Gage is not just Seattle’s premier school of realist art; it is also one of our nation’s best art schools. Gage is founded on the belief that artistic skill is learned, not innate, and they prove it daily with the quality of their instruction and the achievements of their students. Gage has greatly helped in the transformation of my artistic capability. In grammar school, I consistently got D’s in Art class. That experience left me with a belief I lacked any artistic capacity and I also lost any interest in art. Seventeen years ago I astonished both myself and others by deciding that I wanted to learn how to paint landscapes. I have been studying at Gage periodically ever since, because it offers a wide range of programs for different interests and skill levels all taught with exceptional competence. I have taken a dozen workshops out of state and I can testify that the learning experience at Gage is as good, or better, as that offered elsewhere. Gage has transformed many lives. In one of my first classes at Gage, I met a student who is now a professional artist in his own right as well as an instructor at Gage. In addition, Gage takes youths from the street, and people from all walks of life and stages in life, and makes them not just better artists but also more alive and active people. That is special. The free Friday night class for teens gives them a window on a new life. I watched it for a number of weeks, and found that it is led by extremely dedicated and skilled teachers! ThatFriday night class is one example among many of how Gage changes lives and creates a better Seattle. As well as spawning a rich artistic legacy in Seattle and beyond, Gage is building an artistic community. It starts with students who know, or soon learn, that Art is about development of the mind and the personal vision and discipline to be successful not just in creation of a work of art, but also to be successful in life. These artistic and life skills are taught continually at Gage and the result is that the Gage community of students, instructors and alumni exudes an ethos of eagerness to help one another succeed, to set high personal goals and to achieve them. This is the kind of institution Seattle needs to build great citizens and it is precisely the kind of institution that deserves civic note and financial assistance.
Since it’s inception in 1989, Gage Academy has trained students of all ages and walks of life, in the creation and appreciation of Art. Through it’s programming for children and teens, and full curriculum adult programs, Gage embraces the broadest possible public spectrum. Through grants, scholarships and work-study programs, Gage puts great effort into making education a possibility to all who are interested in self-betterment, regardless of their means. Gage draws from and supports an internationally acclaimed roster of instructors and professionals in the art field (including media and literary critics, historians, gallery owners, museum Directors and specialist in the field of artist tools and materials) and provides an environment where these educators can promote sound, broad, academic training in a well-equipped, professional environment. Gage fosters a community both within and outside of the school boundaries, with its many public events, including guest speakers, multiple concurrently running lecture series, and it’s monthly Artist’s Took Kit and Art Talk Series, both free to students and public alike. Gage also leads national and international art tours, fostering a world-encompassing, multi-cultural acceptance, and a belief that Art is both a legacy and pursuit shared by all people. As an instructor at Gage and in my tenth year of association, I have always found Gage to be nothing short of a remarkable educational resource. The board, administration, staff, and instructors have continually displayed inspired, inventive, and tireless work, coupled with a passionate and heart-felt commitment to nurture, embrace and encourage arts education and community.
I've been privileged to be part of this bastion of creativity for over 12 years. It is by no means just a teaching venue for me, but a creative community that has enriched my artistic life on every level. I would not be where I am today were it not for Gage Academy -- from the enriching relationships I have with the students to the support I have received from all the great instructors. From my perspective -- as an instructor who “gives” to the students and an artist who “takes” from the staff and other instructors -- Gage is truly committed to championing art-making in their community. A survey of all they have to offer demonstrates this, from the free public lectures and exhibits to the Children’s Academy. Call me biased, but I believe Gage is THE place to study art in the Northwest.
I love GAGE. They championed representational & figurative art years ago when it was not in vogue. And they did it "right" from the beginning: top-notch instructors, variety of media/classes & fun on-location workshops,not to mention incredible art tours all over the world. And the directors Pam & Gary have a passion for both art & education, I took numerous classes as a TA & work study that I could have otherwise not afforded. They want to help create great artists, not just pocket the cash like some other larger, less 'hands-on' art-schools.
My children have attended Youth Programs at Gage over the past decade, including their free drop-in Teen Art Studios. The programs are well taught, well organized and provide real educational value. In fact, the teaching artists at Gage are incredible! I have been impressed with their passion about arts education and the breadth and depth of their visual arts curriculum. Also, the summer workshops for kids combine a visual art with a movement-based class which makes perfect sense for developing both fine and gross motor skills. Kudos to Gage!