Well, to start with, when you think of a school you think of LOTS of lovely staff and, at the very least, some sort of reception. Really we're a small, but perfect, Art Studio in the centre of Henley and there are actually only two of us who run it!
Jo Harris, (that's me) started the school as a Life Drawing School, teaching out of the Remenham Parish Hall, back in 2013. After a few years, the classes were growing too big and it became clear that the school needed its own Studio. As luck would have it, the world's most ideal teaching space became available and Jo (I) moved in to the studio at 30c Hart Street and made it my own. The Studio is based in the centre of Henley and is exceptionally beautiful, I was going to need to put more classes on to pay the rent, so I started to invite some of the very best artists in the area to come and join the team...
The Henley School of Art was born.
3 glorious, sometimes difficult, but very rewarding years went by; hundreds of students came through the doors and our thriving creative community had begun to expand - then the dreaded Coronavirus struck. Shutting the school was a very difficult thing to have to do; we were given some financial aid and our lovely Landlord was on our side too, but the Studio still needed to be paid for (even at a reduced rate) and we had a mountain of refunds to pay out - without any income it was looking pretty dire. I started to trial some online, unguided Life Drawing sessions, finding models from all over the world and it picked up enough momentum to make things feel a little less desperate. There was one artist, whose name I knew as a brilliant local Illustrator, who came to every online session and we soon became friends. When I put the call out to see if anyone fancied sharing the studio, this artist jumped on board and that was how the fabulous Holly Surplice became a very welcome Co-Director of the School.
We don't know what the future holds, nobody does, but both Holly and I are intent on making sure we can still provide the best in creative outlets that we possibly can. This may be online for the time being, but the minute we feel it's ok to get back into our beloved Studio to teach, you can bet your boots we will be doing just that.
If you're interested in the tutors we normally have teaching at the studio (including ourselves) - please have a look below...