The Lewis Arts Studio is a creative haven for middle school students who have an interest in the visual arts. It is a place where talent and friendships flourish; where curiosity and commitment are required; where portfolios are developed, but most importantly, a place where preteens can practice teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving as they become more sophisticated in their artistic craft and thinking.

The Lewis Arts Studio is a year-round program. Most students enroll in the program for the three years that they are in middle school.

The Lewis Arts Studio Provides:

  • A Summer Program

During the summer, students meet Monday through Friday for a full day of art making. Students participate in technique classes for three hours each morning. In the afternoons, artists engage students in creative projects. Wednesdays are reserved for field trips to local cultural institutions. The summer culminates with an exhibition.
  • Saturday Sessions

During the academic year, students meet twice a month on Saturdays to continue honing their artistic skills, reunite with the friends they made over the summer, and enjoy cultural excursions.
  • Magnet Application Support

Throughout the program, students receive individualized attention in portfolio development and magnet audition preparation. Representatives from magnet high schools speak with students and provide insights on portfolio preparation, audition performance tasks, and interview skills. The program also provides guidance to parents on how to be supportive of their student during the magnet school application process.
  • Alumni Activities

The Lewis Arts Studio reunites past participants and provides them with meaningful opportunities for leaning, growth, creative risk-taking and support. Students who graduate from the Lewis Arts Studio have the opportunity to organize and participate in the annual Lewis Arts Studio Alumni Exhibition as well as an annual Call to Alumni, where students submit proposals as part of an art competition.
  • Alumni Institute

The Lewis Arts Studio Alumni Institute is an intensive, five-day, project-based exploration of contemporary art. The Institute serves to immediately welcome and engage new alumni while also moving all alumni toward conceptual growth and maturation in their art making.
  • Outstanding Faculty

The Lewis Arts Studio faculty is a mix of professional artists and magnet arts teachers from Miami-Dade County Public Schools. In addition, prominent guest artists are brought in to lead presentations, workshops, and discussions.
  • Scholarships

Full, multi-year, need-based scholarships are awarded to eligible students.

The Facility & Outreach

The Lewis Arts Studio is located at 101 Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove. With ample natural light, concrete floors and flexible work spaces, the studio is a warm and inviting place that transforms with every student project. Whether the students are exhibiting, setting up a film or photo shoot, or participating in a still life class, the studio is in the service of the students and their imaginations.

The studio is also well-situated in Coconut Grove for community outreach. It is located directly across the street from The Coconut Grove Cares Barnyard Community Center where the studio and its artist faculty proudly provide visual and performing arts classes to young children who reside in the neighborhood.

Founding Partners & Accomplishments

The Lewis Arts Studio piloted its first program during the summer of 2009, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Arts for Learning, Design and Architecture Senior High, the City of Miami Mayor’s Office, The Miami Foundation and the Jonathan D. Lewis Foundation.  Each of these entities played a key role in establishing the framework, environment, content and resources for the program’s continued success.

Arts for Learning envisioned, designed, developed, and directs the Lewis Arts Studio.

Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH) served as an advisor to Arts for Learning during the design of the portfolio development component and also helped to establish the high school mentorship effort. DASH remains a strategic collaborator and advisor.

The City of Miami Mayor’s Office helped network all of the partners in 2009, and introduced the Jonathan D. Lewis Foundation to Arts for Learning. The City of Miami also provided The Lewis Arts Studio its first home at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.

The Miami Foundation awarded a $10,000 seed grant to support the program.

Jonathan D. Lewis Foundation provided the lead financial support to make the studio a reality. Today the Foundation continues to provide the annual gift to sustain studio activities, operations, and scholarships. The Foundation also serves as a strategy partner to help the studio grow in depth and impact. The program is named after Jonathan D. Lewis.


Karen Schnell-Chisholm

With over 30 years in the classroom, Karen Schnell-Chisholm is one of the most active and accomplished artists working in the public school system today. Karen received her BFA in K-12 Art Education from the University of Dayton and since 2003 has been a National Board Certified Teacher in Early and Middle Childhood Art. In 2005, she became the Lead Teacher/Art Teacher at Southside Elementary Museums Magnet School. She has also taught art at Charles R. Drew, Phyllis R. Miller, Jane S. Roberts, and Dunbar Elementary Schools. With a passion for encouraging students and their parents to talk about art, Karen has dedicated years of study to the best practices in object based learning and Visual Thinking Strategies. As an artist, she has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. As an educator, she has won Teacher of the Year at her schools four times and was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in Region Four.  

Jose Luis Garcia

Jose Luis Garcia is a photo-based artist and educator, who lives and works in Hialeah, FL. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art from New World School of the Arts/University of Florida. Recently, he received his Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Florida International University. Since 2015, Garcia has been working with his local community as a teaching artist with Arts for Learning/Miami. He previously worked in ArtCenter/South Florida's ARTreach program that provided hands-on art classes to children who reside in the Children's Home Society of Florida at the McLamore Children's Shelter. Recently, Garcia led a visiting artist workshop on alternative photography and image transfer techniques at the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum as part of their MakerSPACE program. He has exhibited artwork locally in institutions and venues such as the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Coral Gables Museum, O Cinema Wynwood in partnership with ArtCenter/South Florida, Bakehouse Art Complex, Laundromat Art Space and ConcreteSpace.

Lewis Arts Studio. 101 Grand Avenue. Miami, F.L. 33133. For more information contact: 
                            Arts For Learning/Miami, Inc. 2020.