Otis Extension is for students of all ages and creative abilities. Housed on the campus of Otis College of Art and Design—Los Angeles’s first professional school of the arts—Extension shares some of the same faculty of working professionals, and all of the same facilities and classrooms, as the College’s BFA and MFA programs. At Extension you can take individual courses or earn a certificate in one of nine different programs, covering hands-on mediums like painting and metal work as well as such digital pursuits as animation and web design.
If you have a creative itch that needs scratching, here are three reasons why you should enroll in an Otis Extension class this Fall. (Actually, there’s a fourth reason: the Early Bird discount of 10% off most Fall classes ends on September 6, 2023.)
1. Classes Are Geared Toward Learners of All Levels
In a typical class at Otis Extension you’ll find yourself surrounded by creative people from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are practicing artists looking to hone a specific skill or access Otis College’s state-of-the-art facilities, such as the ceramics studio, photo lab, wood shop, and the Millard Sheets Library (all of which are open to Extension students). Others are complete novices looking for creative outlets to counterbalance their day jobs as lawyers, teachers, costume designers, and, yes, the occasional actor, among other professions. In-person classes on Otis’s campus in Los Angeles attract students from across the region, yet the virtual offerings draw people from all over the world. The variety of class days and times means there are plenty of windows to slot in some creative me-time.
“My instructor was always prepared for class and gave constructive feedback on students’ work, facilitating a judgment-free environment. He made sure that every student was on-pace with work in class.” —Extension Color Theory student
2. The Class/Critique Environment Is Constructive and Supportive
Presenting work and hearing feedback about how it resonates with others is an essential part of the creative process. Otis Extension classes make this experience enriching and useful for students, especially because—let’s face it—the idea of class critique can be intimidating for even the most seasoned artist or designer. Experience and abilities vary so much from student to student, so working professionals who teach Extension classes are well-versed in giving feedback that is constructive and actionable. And being able to see classmates’ work up close and dialogue with them about their inspiration, technique, or thought process contributes to the inclusive environment at Extension.
I researched a number of schools before starting Otis. Out of that research, I learned that, a) Otis is not a theory-only kind of school. It will ask you to get your hands dirty and do the work. And b) the Otis College name is so respected by the professional community.” —Extension certificate graduate Joseph Busch
3. Try Something New!
Fine Arts. Interior Design. Surface Design. Though these are three distinct disciplines—in terms of techniques, mediums, and output—they’re all areas that a complete novice could try out through Otis Extension. Each offers a range of classes, starting with introductions and going up to advanced levels of instruction and practice. Fine Arts covers foundational topics like color theory and art history as well as specific mediums such as painting, ceramics, and photography. Interior Design offers sequential courses like Drafting I and II and Interior Design Studio I, II, and III so students can learn at a pace that is rigorous and thorough without being overwhelming. Surface Design covers both the physical, hand-making methods of creating surface and textile patterns as well as their computer-generated counterparts, providing students with a well-rounded, practical, and career-ready skillset.
Classes at Otis Extension have led several graduates to personal practices, thriving side-hustles, or new careers altogether. Whether it’s to scratch a creative itch, or finally make that jump to the career you’ve always dreamed of, Otis Extension is designed to meet students where they’re at and take them where they want to go.
For more information on Fall 2023 classes and certificate programs at Otis Extension, please visit www.otis.edu/extension.
Main image by Kal Kalibinuer/Otis College of Art and Design.