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Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art



810 W 3rd St, Duluth, MN, United States

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Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art is a small apprenticeship-style program dedicated to the training of classical drawing and painting. Its full-time, four-year curriculum is open to twenty students. Only individuals whose primary goal is to become professional fine artists will be considered for the program.

The focus of GLAFA is to train students in classical impressionistic seeing, translated through academic understanding. We define classical impressionism as intelligently observing the physical world within an atmosphere. Academic understanding is the skill to understand and render three-dimensional form onto a two dimensional surface. The training is based on the methods of the 19th century French academies and ateliers, which focused on training the eye to translate nature into shapes, value, color, intensity and form through time-tested methodologies.

The program itself runs eight hours a day, five days a week. Students begin with copies and cast drawing projects, as well as working daily from the live model, and progress through the years to painting still lives, portraits, and landscapes in oils.

The GLAFA instructors are not teachers who paint on the side, but rather full-time painters who also teach. This is an important distinction in the passing on of solid, practical knowledge instead of just theory. While they take their roles as teachers very seriously and pour all that they have into each student, they are also jealous of their time and expect focused, hard work from their students in return.

Founder and instructor Jeffrey T. Larson has been painting professionally full-time for over thirty years. In 1980, at age 17, he was accepted into the prestigious Atelier Lack. Its founder, Richard Lack, was a pivotal figure in the preservation of classical-realist training. Lack studied under R.H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981). Gammell studied under William M. Paxton, one of America's finest impressionists. Paxton had trained in Paris at the rigorous Ecole Des Beaux-Arts under Jean-LEon GErome (1824-1904). Gerome's lineage can be traced back through Delaroche to Jacques-Louis David.

Upon graduating in 1984, Jeffrey T. Larson joined the staff at Atelier LeSuer where he was assistant director and head instructor. In 1986, he resigned to paint full-time. The winner of many national and international awards, Larson has shown in some of the finest American galleries as well as self-curating well over a dozen highly successful one-man exhibitions.

Assistant director and instructor Brock Larson grew up observing his father (Jeffrey T. Larson) draw and paint on a daily basis, fueling his passion for art. He began his artistic studies in high school and, upon graduating, moved to Minneapolis to pursue full-time formal training at The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art. Brock completed five years of study and began teaching at The Atelier his senior year, which he continued throughout his remaining two years in the Twin Cities. He then moved back to Duluth to work towards his, and his father's, vision of creating a program to share the training that they feel very fortunate to have received.

GLAFA is located in Duluth, Minnesota, at the tip of Lake Superior, the world's second-largest fresh water lake. Duluth is also home to the largest inland international harbor as well as the largest natural sandbar in the world. The Academy itself is housed in a newly renovated 8,000 sq. ft. turn-of-the-century stone church that overlooks the bay.

GLAFA accepts five new students each year, and extends invitation to only the most serious and motivated of applicants. For those not seeking full-time enrollment, the Academy also offers part-time classes as well as studio rental space for artists wishing to work in the Duluth area.

For more information on Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art, or to apply for enrollment, please visit

Please visit the GLAFA website and our instructors websites for more images of work and the training:

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Course languages English
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Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art

810 W 3rd St

Duluth, MN, United States

Blue Marsh by Jeffrey T. Larson

Fish on Platter by Jeffrey T. Larson

Man or Beast by Jeffrey T. Larson

Grapefruit Slices by Jeffrey T. Larson

Ecorche Horse Cast by Brock Larson

Laundry by Jeffrey T. Larson

Composition of Casts by Brock Larson

Rose Print by Jeffrey T. Larson

Electrolux by Jeffrey T. Larson

Heidi (detail) by Jeffrey T. Larson

Fish on Bowl

Open Box by Jeffrey T. Larson

Head Study by Brock Larson

Head in Oil by Brock Larson

Dormant by Jeffrey T. Larson

Hanging Pheasant by Jeffrey T. Larson

Reflections by Jeffrey T. Larson

The Atelier by Brock Larson

Menalaus by Brock Larson

Date Night by Brock Larson

Strainers by Jeffrey T. Larson

First Year Students by Atelier Image

work in progress

work in progress

Rolf's Steam Part

Painting Demo by Atelier Image

Painting Demo by Jeffrey T. Larson by Atelier Image

Painting Demo by Jeffrey T. Larson by Atelier Image

Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art by Atelier Image