By Saundra Amrhein

Southeast Florida has emerged as a global cultural hub for its plethora of performance halls, galleries, design and art districts.

But why let the professionals have all the fun? If you’ve secretly harbored a creative side, or if you gave up on art classes long ago, why not take advantage of your vacation time to explore those dormant talents?

Opportunities abound in Southeast Florida to help you do so in a fun, relaxed setting. One-time classes include painting, pottery, sculpting and photography – many inviting guests to bring a favorite bottle of wine – are all the rage, and now give visitors yet one more fun option to enjoy the Sunshine State.

After days at South Florida’s famous beaches or hiking trails in the Everglades, dust off your painting chops, try your hand at sculpting or finally learn how to use that expensive new digital camera under expert and professional tutelage, accompanied by your favorite cocktails and munchies.

Here are some hot spots where you can get your artistic groove on after working on your tan:

pottery classes in Fort Lauderdale

Gabe Mora's girlfriend, Cortney Gilmartin, takes a selfie of them before their art class at Painting With A Twist.

- Peter W. Cross for VISIT FLORIDA

  • Painting With a Twist has numerous locations throughout South Florida where visitors can don an apron, sip a favorite wine and nibble on party dishes while getting step-by-step instructions by a professional, bringing a canvas to life with a landscape or one of countless other scenes.
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  • Pottery Studio 1 in Miami invites you to create authentic ceramics in a one-time class. Join public classes to meet new friends, plan a unique date night, or even celebrate a birthday in a fun and creative atmosphere. Experienced instructors guide you through working on the pottery wheel and hand-building in a relaxed and enjoyable two-hour session. Suitable for all ages and experience levels. The studio is open every day and offers many time slots.
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  • Digital Photo Academy provides professional training during classes and workshops on digital cameras in cities throughout the United States and Canada, including Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. There’s no better time to learn how to actually use that expensive digital camera than while on vacation. In Miami, classes are held at the Carousel Studios in the Design District. Class titles include “Master your camera controls” and “Composition in the field.”
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  • Painting Fiesta: With locations in North Miami, Weston and Coral Springs, these two-hour BYOB classes let you pour a drink, grab a paintbrush and go to town on your canvas with guided instruction. Summer art camps for kids can be enjoyed on a day basis or by the week.
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  • Anhinga Clay Studios in Miami: Give pottery a whirl at this studio for visual and ceramic arts. Individuals, families and friends can drop in on one-time pottery classes and get a feel for the wheel. (Participants can come back two weeks later to glaze their work.) In Kid’s Clay Classes, children work with real clay and learn hand-building and wheel-throwing techniques to make unique pieces of art.
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  • Victorios Art Studio in Fort Lauderdale invites you to send in pictures of your pet so you can return for one-on-one instruction in a group class to paint a portrait of Fido in the company of friends. Other group classes include Couples Night, Bohemian BYOB Parties, and, for long-term visitors, four-week terms during which students learn techniques with charcoal, pastels and acrylic painting or you can attend one of the Fort Lauderdale pottery classes at Victorios Art Studios.
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  • The Legacy Art Studio in Fort Lauderdale provides day classes or workshops for children and adults in the arts of drawing, painting and some Fort Lauderdale pottery classes. One special offering by founder Nilda Maria Comas includes a three-day equestrian sculpture class. During BYOB classes every Friday night you’ll learn how to paint or sculpt your own masterpiece to take home at the end of the evening. For more information, visit:
Fort Lauderdale painting classes

Painting anxiety is reduced after having a drink, according the artist Martin Ferko -- the instructor at Painting With A Twist.

- - Peter W. Cross for VISIT FLORIDA

  • Talin’s Tropical Studio in Delray Beach is a place for “art, music and more.” Both kids and adults can find their inner Picasso and Debussy, with classes that include adult freestyle, cork ‘n canvas BYOB painting parties, afternoons of “family painting,” kid’s afternoon art club and art camp, and lessons in classical voice and classical piano.
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  • The Velvet House Art Studio in Dania Beach lets you discover your inner artist during guided paint-and-sip classes with your favorite beverage. If traveling with eight relatives or more, you can schedule a private painting party for just your family, friends or guests.
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  • Paint ‘n Plaster in Pompano Beach can be fun for the whole family. Enjoy a two-hour class or come back for a series of classes or workshops in both plaster painting and canvas painting. Classes for kids target early learning and a broad selection for the little tykes ages 3 to 5. Options for adults range from a “Girls Night In” group class for eight or more friends, who can choose their own music and bring snacks and their favorite adult beverages. Having a special occasion like a family reunion or an important birthday? Choose from one of three private party packages.
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