I can’t remember who first told me about the Saturday Morning Discovery program at the Southwest School of Art (I think it was a fellow blogger. If it was you, remind me because I’m forever grateful!). I remember being surprised that free, month-long art sessions were offered in San Antonio and I’d never heard about it before.

The Southwest School of Art in San Antonio offers art “experiences” for children ages 5-17 every September through May. The program is not offered in April, however, due to preparation and production of the Fiesta Arts Fair which takes place at the school.

Parents can register to request their preferred month. Within three days of registration, notification arrives in your inbox to let you know if there was space available (or not) in the month you selected.

The Saturday morning sessions run from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. for either three or four Saturdays (depending on the month). Artist-Teachers lead children through a variety of art sessions including pinhole photography, ceramics, origami, silk screening, drawing, painting, weaving, stained glass, and more.


  • If you’re not into the heat or humidity of many South Texas mornings, select a late Fall, Winter or early Spring month as almost all of the sessions are held outdoors in the courtyard (unless there is inclement weather in which case sessions are moved into art studios).
  • If you have more than one child, be sure to register them each separately to ensure space is available.
  • If your child wants to work with clay or pinhole photography, arrive early to sign up for your spot. These sessions are very popular and they fill up quickly.
  • Be aware that some sessions have an age limit: Pinhole Photography (at least 8 years old) and Stained Glass (at least 10 years old).
  • The program is not a babysitting service. Parents are not only expected to participate in art activities with their children, but they must also stay with their children at all times.
  • Remember that these sessions are “art experiences” and not “art classes.” Children may or may not always finish the projects on which they’re working but the focus of the program is the experience of creating art using the various media, not necessarily the finished product.

My seven-year-old daughter and I just attended our first Saturday of the September session. The program is well-organized (as it should be after four decades of offering these sessions to kids for free – HOW did I not hear about this program before???). There are usually two, and often three, artist-teachers at each station and plenty of materials (also free!) to go around.

The school’s Ursuline Campus (located on the banks of the San Antonio Riverwalk and across the street from the main library downtown) is shady, beautiful, and historic and will inspire even the least artistic types (me!) to conjure up their creative spirit.

We kicked things off last Saturday by digging into clay…

then we experimented with origami (we made fortune tellers!) and seasonal art (using flower petals to create bookmarks)…

and we finished the morning with some free-form drawing with pastels followed by painting over it with watercolors…

My daughter is an artist. Her mother, however, not so much. But with the volume of creative juices flowing around me, I found myself getting into the swing of things. What do you think?

For more information about Saturday Morning Discovery, visit the Southwest School of Art’s FAQs.