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Art teacher’s new studio in LJ will bring out the kid in you

Many children throughout San Diego County are finding school just a little less fun this year. Due to budget and staff cuts, most art, music and dance classes have been eliminated from school curricula, leaving little opportunity for children to wiggle, jump, get messy or loud — in other words, to just be kids.

For Porschia Talbot, who grew up in La Jolla and attended the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego, this scarcity was simply unacceptable. And so in two months, she has renovated a La Jolla art gallery, handpicked a staff of local artists and art teachers, and partnered with several local and national art organizations to create My Art Shed.

“I feel you can make such a difference by introducing art into someone’s life,” she said. “It will be wonderful to be able to give children an experience in which they can express themselves fully in a really fun, nonjudgmental environment.”

My Art Shed, set to open Nov. 2, is a gallery and studio offering year-round after-school and weekend art classes for all ages and levels. The vibrant studio seeks to allow children and adults to learn through self-expression in a space that encourages creativity and self-confidence.

Since she can remember, Talbot has had a passion for art and teaching. Like many young girls, she got her start baby-sitting for local families, where she began to initiate impromptu art classes for the children. Then, while attending college in San Diego, and later in Portland, Ore., for her master’s degree in fine arts, Talbot taught at several art-focused schools. She eventually returned to San Diego to volunteer at Monarch School.

“That is really what got me interested in teaching art,” Talbot said. “I was a volunteer teacher at Monarch for about two years, and it just changed my life to be able to see that I could make a difference with kids.”

So when a gallery space became available in late August, ideally located near several elementary schools in La Jolla, Talbot jumped at the chance to open her dream studio.

My Art Shed will offer a range of classes for children and adults. Classes will be taught by working artists and educators, and generally run 1.5 hours and $25 per class. Also available will be custom-designed birthday parties, weekend and holiday drop-in days, and children’s art camps for summer, winter and spring breaks. The studio’s offerings will cover everything from various painting and drawing classes to model building, crafts, yoga and dance.

“There are a lot of fine art galleries in La Jolla, but I really wanted to tap into the local artist group so that My Art Shed could become involved in the San Diego community,” Talbot said. “We have local artwork on the walls, and local artists will teach the classes, so it becomes more of a creative environment for the whole community.”

Such interplay between artist and student is what sets My Art Shed apart from other art programs in the community. Students will not only be inspired by the ever-changing local artwork displayed throughout the gallery, but encouraged by these same artists who will frequent My Art Shed to share their expertise.

My Art Shed will also make national and international art accessible by displaying affordable artwork from Artevo, an online resource that sells original artwork and limited reproductions from leading artists throughout the world.

Through it all, Talbot also plans to use the gallery as a fundraising space, hosting various benefit nights and exhibitions to support children- and art-related causes throughout San Diego.

Whether you miss the days of finger painting in your own childhood art shed, or are simply looking for a lively place to drop off your child for a few hours, My Art Shed offers a rarity: an inspiring and unintimidating environment to remember what it’s like to just be a kid.

My Art Shed

7426 Girard Ave.,

La Jolla

(858) 454-4499, www.myartshed.com