Art Explorers


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Art Explorers

April 22 – September 24

William King Museum of Art & Blue Ridge Discovery Center


John James Audubon, Mark Catesby, Ansel Adams, Robert Batemen… and YOU

What do these artists have in common? They create by going outside and exploring nature! 

Art Explorers classes at the William King Museum of Art and the Blue Ridge Discovery Center give emerging naturalists the opportunity to learn about and create wildlife art. Art Explorers classes combine art and biology through observation, teaching children about our local flora and fauna with hands-on creative activities. Bind your own sketchbook, learn to draw from life, and search for specimens on Whitetop Mountain! 


  • – Each class meets twice over 2 days and is priced as one item. If you can only attend one day of class call Charlotte Torrence at 276-628-5005 ext. 114.
  • – One day of each class is an art lesson at WKMA with a museum instructor, and the other in an expedition at Whitetop Mountain with both a guide from the Blue Ridge Discovery Center and a museum instructor.
  • – All classes meet at WKMA. We will take a shuttle from WKMA to Whitetop Mountain on expedition days.
  • – Students will take home both their art projects and supplies (such as sketchbooks) to help them continue making naturalist artworks at home.
  • – Discounts are available for WKMA and BRDC members, call Charlotte Torrence to activate a discount.
    •    – 10% off for WKMA family members
    •    – 10% off for BRDC members
    •    – 15% off for members of both WKMA and BRDC
  • – Dress appropriately for hiking on expedition days, bring a hat, insect repellent, a water bottle, and sunscreen.
  • – All classes are minimum 5 maximum 10 students. 



• April 22 & 24 – Naturalist Sketchbooks and Salamander Expedition 



• May 17 & 18 – Plant Specimens and Cyanotypes



• May 24 – FREE Outdoor Watercolor Walk at WKMA

All ages

Registration: FREE

Tuesday, 5/24 12-3 PM, WKMA: Bring your own watercolor supplies or try out ours and take a group walk around the museum campus, learning techniques for painting plants and landscape scenes from life


May 26 – FREE Clinch River Mussel Lecture and Activity with The Nature Conservancy

All ages
Registration: FREE
Thursday, 5/26 10 AM-12 PM, WKMA: Join WKMA and The Nature Conservancy to become a young nature conservator. Learn about the delicate balance of the Clinch River ecosystem with live demonstrations from a science educator from The Nature Conservancy, play an artistic game, and design your own conservation poster! All materials provided.


• August 9 & 10 – Water Specimen Collection and Painting from Life

Ages 10-12 

Registration: $40 

Tuesday, 8/9 1-5 PM, meet at WKMA: Take a shuttle to the Blue Ridge Discovery Center and learn how to collect and identify water macroinvertebrates  

Wednesday, 8/10 10 AM-12 PM, WKMA: Create a painting of your water macroinvertebrate specimen on canvas with guidance from a museum instructor


• September 9 & 10 – Naturalist Sketchbooks and Salamander Expedition 

Ages 8-10 

Registration: $50 

Friday 9/9 5-7 PM, Art Lab:  Assemble, bind, and decorate your own naturalist sketchbook to record your outdoor discoveries, then learn drawing techniques to practice in the sketchbook 

Saturday 9/10 1-4:30 PM, meet at WKMA: Take a shuttle to Whitetop Mountain, and search for salamanders with a guide from the BRDC, a museum instructor, and your new sketchbook


• September 23 & 24 – Mushroom Themed Naturalist Sketchbooks and Expedition 

Ages 10-12 

Registration: $50

Friday 9/23 5-7 PM, Art Lab: Assemble, bind, and decorate a naturalist sketchbook specifically designed for recording fungi discoveries, learn how to make a spore print in your sketchbook using Agaricus bisporus (aka portabella mushrooms)

Saturday 9/24 1-5 PM, meet at WKMA: Take a shuttle to Whitetop Mountain and search for mushrooms to identify and draw in your sketchbook (we are not foraging for edible mushrooms and discourage attempting to do so without a qualified expert)  


Love Art Explorers?

Make sure you check out our youth Summer Art Camp–the week of June 20-24 “Natural Explorers” shares the same theme as our Art Explorers classes!

Click HERE to sign up.


For more information and to register via phone please call Charlotte Torrence at 276-628-5005 ext. 114.