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Maria Stewart's Art School

Art classes for children and adults

About us

Hello, come in, and welcome to Maria Stewart's art classes, a place where children and adults from all over the world make friends while making art. This isn't an art school as you know it: here, human connection is as important as creative expression. Of course, you'll learn how to paint and draw — but here, friendship and self-expression means more than skill levels, rules and techniques.

All our classes and activities, whether on- or offline, one-on-one or in a group, in English or Russian, are led by Maria Stewart, an art teacher with 20 years of experience including writing and presenting creative classes on national TV. Over the years of working with every age group, Maria has developed a unique teaching style that combines effective artistic training with an encouraging and open-minded approach.

The list of activities leaves no one behind: from classes for the youngest kids (3+) to group adult classes, creative camps, and art parties. We're based in Halstead, with classes all over Kent and London — and thanks to online video calls, the school has become truly international. One of the best 'side effects' is that kids can practice their language skills in a fun, no-pressure way — so many of our students are expats or those learning English or Russian.

We're always happy to welcome new students, regardless of their age and ability.


Nailya C., London
I highly recommend Maria. She is creative, talented, connects well with kids, making them feel happy and relaxed during her lessons. My 5-year-old loves the experience of learning to draw and being creative. Thank you, Maria!
Tatiana P., Kira's mum, London
My daughter Kira loves Maria's classes. She used to go to the studio ones and now attends online. Both are great, and even though Kira misses her face-to-face classes, she enjoys the online ones immensely! They are engaging, fun, and just as educational.
Regina N., Barcelona
Great art classes for kids! My daughter really enjoys them. Maria is an amazing teacher, her classes are not only about technique, she also has a wonderful positive and encouraging teaching style which I found very important. I would highly recommend her classes!
Ekaterina, Ivan's mum, London
Maria, is an amazing person with such a great understanding how to work with children and adults. She is a wonderful teacher and all the children adore her. My kids are enjoying her classes and they are proud of the work they've done. It's a pleasure to see your kids happy with art work of theirs. I can highly recommend Maria.
Annabelle N., London
We could not be happier with Maria, her energy and enthusiasm. She bonded quickly and easily with my daughters, who love her visits. All 3 of them join in the lessons (including my one-year-old who sits on her lap) and they are all making fantastic progress.
Arina K., Moscow
I attended an amazing painting tour to Barcelona organized by Maria in February 2019, and I'd recommend her to anyone. Maria is a very attentive teacher who finds time for everyone, no matter how many people are in the group and what level everyone's at.
Maria, Orlando's mum, London
My 5-year-old son loved Maria's art lesson, she is both a very accomplished artist and a really warm person who connects emotionally with her young students and inspires them greatly.
Irina Z., London
Maria makes the class very therapeutic for kids, especially when they are tired after school. My son and baby daughter both enjoy Maria's classes. Since we started the art classes, kids have fallen in love with drawing.
Heather W., Sevenoaks
Maria relates calmly and naturally with children, encourages and excites their interest in art. My 3 grandchildren (3, 5 and 8 years old) were completely engaged and delighted with their efforts. Thank you, Maria!
Alla K., London
When I worked for Nickelodeon, I invited Maria to run art workshops at our SpongeBob exhibition. It was a great decision: her classes were very popular! Maria is creative, caring, positive, and a lot of fun. I highly recommend her classes to both kids and adults.
Rocio H., Tunbridge Wells
Our 7 y.o. daughter loves these classes. After 10 months, she's really progressed and learned a diverse set of skills. The online classes work really well too, providing a great opportunity for children to be creative, engage with each other, and for parents to have a break!
Paul W., Sevenoaks
Maria has really encouraged me to see how the light falls on the object I am illustrating and how to represent that on paper. Her enthusiasm and creative skills are infectious.

Let's draw together

To us, a child is not a project, art is not a competition, and success is measured not in grades but in positive emotions. So, rather than an art school, we like to think of ourselves as an art tribe; a constellation of brave and brilliant artists scattered all across the globe who value their time together as much as the skills they are learning.

We get together to make friends, share ideas, explore our creativity, and learn by doing. We respect our own works of art as much as everyone else's. We value each other's freedom to see the world differently, and let everyone tell their own story.

We don't have time to compete and criticise — we're here to connect and create. And we would love for you to join us.

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What we do

Every child is a creator, and it's so important to give them both the freedom and the tools to express themselves, helping them gain skills as well as confidence to explore and develop their own creativity. Our classes go far beyond teaching new techniques and developing fine motor skills: we also help our young students master the art of respectful conversation, of listening to each other and the teacher, and value everyone's work as much as their own.

To make sure everyone is comfortable and gets enough attention, we hold classes in small groups, teaming up children of similar ages: from 4-5 years old through to 11-15.

We also organise after-school art clubs — just drop us a line if you'd like to host one at your school.

How would you feel about supporting a family-run local pub while developing your sketching or watercolour skills in a friendly atmosphere? Then come join us at The Cock Inn in Halstead, Kent. Our past guests have called these sessions inspiring and therapeutic. Our goal here is to bring together kindred spirits, helping people connect with likeminded artists — and by artist we mean anyone who can hold a brush. This is an art class for beginners, although we're always happy to welcome more experienced artists, too.

All materials are provided — but you're welcome to bring your own sketchbook, if you like.

The fee is £13 per person on the door, and includes your first tea or coffee.
Nothing can stand in the way of creativity — certainly not distance! Our online classes bring together people from all over the world, letting them connect and create no matter where they are. It's screen time, but not as you know it: we've designed these sessions in a way that helps you spend less time watching and more time painting and socialising.

There's an online class for everyone: individual and group ones, all ages from 3-year-olds to adults, in English and Russian. Just get in touch, and we'll find the perfect one for you.

This is the only type of class where you'll need to bring your own materials — until we finally get the teleport working.
As experienced as Maria is as an art teacher, she can't compete with nature: so instead of competing, she teams up with it. Painting in nature is simply incomparable, especially when you're in The Garden of England, Kent. Come along to one of our relaxing and inspiring strolls and workshops in the stunning local parks and gardens, and allow nature to show you how much beauty surrounds you in every moment. We organise regular walks and outdoor drawing sessions all year round — just drop us a line to see when the next one is planned for.
Who doesn't like a celebration? Trust us, we know how to party — and we also know that art takes it to a whole new level. Besides having fun with your friends and family, you'll learn something new, and even have an amazing souvenir to show for it. It can be a painting created by all of you together, or everyone can work on their own individual masterpieces. Either way, you'll end up with the best possible reminder of a great day spent with the people you love.
Art transcends borders — we should know! Our school has already organised group trips to Portugal, Spain, Greece, Morocco and other faraway lands. We also host an annual trip to beautiful Barcelona with a small group of students. Like nomads, we follow our hearts as we wander the streets of the stunning ancient city, getting inspired by the incredible architecture and paintings by Gaudí, Picasso, and Joan Miró.

Maria Stewart

Founder of the school
I don't remember myself not doing art: first learning it, from the age of six — and for the last two decades, teaching it. Aside from the sheer joy of creativity, I've always loved the way art classes unite the group, no matter their age, country, and language.

To me, the most important thing in painting isn't technique or choice of brush but the joy of the process. To a child, making art is a fascinating adventure; and I would love to take you and your children on that exciting journey.

The story so far

As seen on TV
In the early 00's I had the fantastic, if slightly surreal experience of writing and hosting children's programmes on national TV. Given Russia's size,
it means that, technically, I was teaching creativity
in 11 time zones simultaneously!
I started teaching creativity at 17, straight out of art school and teacher training university. Starting with
3-year-olds and then moving on to primary school kids, teenagers and adults, I've been giving art lessons most of my life — 20 years and counting. Should I feel old, or proud?
An early start
My Art Tribe was born in 2009, when I founded an art school in Moscow, bringing together a brilliant team and hundreds of students of all ages. Despite closing its doors due to my move to the UK, it lives on through its teaching team, some of whom later opened their own schools.
A school of one's own
Business affairs
As the art school grew, my team and I got commissioned for various projects by more than
a handful of big brands. We got to host masterclasses, art camps and other events for businesses ranging from Louis Vuitton and Nickelodeon to Shell and Total.
Since moving to Britain in 2013, I've reinvented my practice, gaining qualifications in Adult Teaching (PTLLS), and started working with a truly international audience — from native English speakers to bilingual expat kids, both on- and offline, and even a weekly drawing group at a pub.
The big move

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The big #Lockdown is much harder for those of us with kids. In addition to financial struggles, parents are desperate to help their children deal with the situation. In these strange times it's more important than ever to give them the chance to connect and create something together. It's the antidote to uncertainty, isolation, and lockdown fatigue.

We want to make sure that no one is left behind — so we've changed the way we work during the lockdown. We will be operating on a suggested donation basis, rather than a set price — until the end of May at least. In addition, all our online classes will be a little longer than usual, giving children an opportunity to interact with each other more.
Our regular prices range from £10 to £15, depending on age and class duration. During this time, we will gratefully receive whatever donation you feel comfortable with. If you aren't in a position to do so, please get in touch, and we will include you in one of the classes free of charge.

You can donate via PayPal below. You don't need a PayPal account for this, and can transfer directly from your bank card.

Make a contribution

Whether you're taking classes with us or want to sponsor someone who can't afford it right now, your donation will be gratefully received and used to keep our classes running.


For the time being, we've moved entirely online.

Once the lockdown is over, we will return to our regular base:

Halstead Parish Rooms
Church Road
Halstead, Kent
TN14 7HG

We'll also be hosting after-school classes around South East England — drop us a line if you'd like us to bring one to your school.

And we can't wait to resume our art camps, retreats and outdoor classes.


For the time being, we've moved entirely online.

Once the lockdown is over, we will return to our regular base:

Halstead Parish Rooms
Church Road
Halstead, Kent

TN14 7HG

We'll also be hosting after-school classes around South East England — drop us a line if you'd like us to bring one to your school.

And we can't wait to resume our art camps, retreats and outdoor classes.

Contact us

Start drawing now.
Even if you don't think
you can.
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