Lakewood, NJ’s premier art school is celebrating its 25th year anniversary this year.
It all started in 1991 with Mrs. Shurkin hanging up a sign in Bookman’s Butcher Shop offering “Professional Art Lessons.” She was completing her degree in art and was ready to teach her first art class. Another customer, Mrs. Stein, saw this and told her “I have an artistic son and I’m getting you your first class!” Which she in turn did. That first class took place in Mrs. Shurkin’s dining room.
From this humble beginning, it didn’t take long to move into a proper art studio, and quickly morphed into an art school.
Yet it didn’t have a name. Until one day, the parent of a student was applying for a grant for the deaf to pay for his hearing-impaired daughter’s art lessons. The application required the name of the art school. The parent asked what name he should write. Mrs. Shurkin replied that she never used any official school name. The parent asked if it would OK to call it “Madison Art School” since the classes were located at the corner of 4th & Madison… The name remained ever since! (Even after the move to the Brook Hill neighborhood of Lakewood.)
Madison Art School has had thousands of students go through their classes over the years. Offering 8-week once-a-week sessions in different courses such as, Basic Drawing, Advanced Drawing, 2-dimensional Design, Calligraphy, Acrylic Painting, Oil Painting and Portraiture, students learn everything from the basic skills all the way up to bringing out their own individual talents. When they reach painting levels, sessions actually extend well beyond 8-weeks, completing painting after painting. Portraiture is actually one of the most difficult areas if art. However, many students achieve great success in this field too.
Mrs. Shurkin studied art at Parsons School of Design in NYC (one of the top 2 art schools in the country) and finished her degree in Monmouth University. Initially modeling her lessons based on the same classes offered in these universities, Mrs. Shurkin quickly added her own golden touch, which took the town by storm. With waiting lists to join, it has been said that it is “harder to get into Madison Art School than to get into Brisk!”
The youngest student so far has been 8 years old, with the oldest 91 years old! A focus lately has been more on adult classes, with the background music, coffee and camaraderie flowing together with the painting! Some students have been coming consistently for over 20 years now! A number of students have gone on to teach art in their own right, with Mrs. Shurkin’s gracious encouragement and assistance. Mrs. Shurkin is also the head of the art department at a number of local high schools.
Studies have shown the many benefits of art, and it certainly is a confidence builder. Obviously, naturally talented students grow to produce true works of art. However, even those wonderful students with no special artistic abilities all enjoy it immensely.
However, every student has remarked, that even more than the art they have learned, they have gained immeasurably by just getting to know the remarkable Mrs. Shurkin.
Madison Art School has also opened an online retail website HERE of art supplies, easels and more.
We wish them congratulations on this milestone and continued success.