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
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.