THE JOY OF ART

Award-winning Ayrshire business, The Little Art School, celebrates 10 years.

Joanne Robinson

Ten years ago, a small children’s art class was held in an Ayrshire dining room. Fast forward a decade and The Little Art School, headed by Joanne Robinson and Melissa Haddow, has taught thousands of people, aged 5 to 105, how to draw and paint using their unique highly structured drawing and painting course.
That first dining room class grew into a studio in Ayr, then branched out across Ayrshire, building a team to create an art franchise that could take their popular self-esteem boosting art classes across the UK. The launch of the franchise was due to be April 2020 but the pandemic and lockdown of March 2020 caused Joanne and Melissa to pivot quickly to ensure the survival of their business.
“At the time it was just terrifying,” Joanne told us. “Like businesses across the world we had no idea how we would be able to survive.”
But The Little Art School did more than just survive, they created an entire new business and are now thriving as they hit their 10-year anniversary.
“On the first day of lockdown we launched our #DailyDraw, a free online art class for families struggling with home schooling. The #DailyDraw exceeded all expectations, it was used by schools across the UK and by families across the world. We’ve actually now had over 300,000 views!”
The huge success of the #DailyDraw led to The Little Art School launching an Online Drawing and Painting Course for adults in September 2020. This structured course, which comes with all the art materials you need to learn, is now reaching people right across Britain and beyond.
The Little Art School will be celebrating their 10 years of teaching drawing and painting by holding a week-long celebration at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. With events for all ages and an exhibition showcasing talent from across the UK, the week promises to have something for all art lovers. The exhibition and events will be raising funds for The Little Art School’s two charities: Dementia Arts Trust and Little Art Stars. Both charities use art to reach out to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities here in Ayrshire. The Dementia Arts Trust art classes, validated by research from St Andrews University, have brought great joy to many people in care homes and community settings. The Little Art Stars charity provides structured art sessions, in a variety of settings in Ayrshire, to vulnerable primary and secondary school children between the ages of 6 and 18. They raise self-esteem and develop improved motor skills, ultimately leading to a growth in confidence and increased positivity, allowing the students to engage/re-engage with family and their own school community. Both charities are infused with the spirit that guides the whole of The Little Art School enterprise; building self-esteem and spreading joy.
Founding Partner Melissa Haddow said: “We have spent 10 years growing and it will be wonderful to celebrate how far we’ve come and to have an opportunity to thank all those who have helped us to thrive as we continue in our mission to use art to reach out and bring joy.”
The Little Art School will be hosting workshops and activities for all ages from Sunday 22nd October to Saturday 28th October at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, as well as an exhibition of work by students and supporters of The Little Art School, Dementia Arts Trust and Little Art Stars. Visit www.littleartschool.co.uk for details.