William and Reed students practice using Adobe Illustrator in the Johns Creek Arts Center’s new digital arts lab. 

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek Arts Center has broadened its creative focus, introducing a digital pallet to its array of traditional art programs.

For two decades, the Arts Center has offered programs in painting, drawing and ceramics, but thanks to new computer class space, the center is offering Photoshop and digital arts classes.

“When we looked at expanding our program, our thought was what can we offer in our space that we have not offered before?” said Stuart Miller, executive director of the Johns Creek Arts Center.  

A digital arts lab seemed like the perfect new program, Miller said. It could offer a wide variety of new classes while taking up relatively little space in the already tight building.

“It opens up so many new avenues for artists,” Miller said. “It really doesn’t replace traditional art forms as much as it’s a new tool for enhancing it.”

Miller believes the Johns Creek digital arts lab, modeled after a similar program in Ann Arbor, Mich., may be the first of its kind in Georgia.  

“I think we’re going to attract people who may have been scared to try their hand at art,” Miller said. “I think we’re also going to find people who are already practicing art and want these additional tools to enhance what they are already doing.”

For those who are intimidated by paints or clay, the digital lab offers a new way to practice art. 

“This is an art form that’s very accessible,” Miller said. “You know, people say I can’t draw a straight line, and with digital arts you can do even more than that. You can draw beautiful things.”

The lab holds eight computers, each equipped with Adobe Creative Cloud software and Wacom drawing tablets. 

Some classes will focus on making art in the digital environment while others will dive into how to use the Adobe software, Miller said. 

This fall, the digital lab will host classes for teens and adults. For adults, Intro to Photoshop 101 will be offered Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. beginning Sept. 20, and digital illustration will be offered Thursdays 10 a.m. to noon starting Oct. 18. 

For ages 13 to 18, there is a digital graphic novel class Wednesday 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and a digital illustration class Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Classes began Sept. 12. 

The four classes are a “soft launch” for the Arts Center, Miller said. In the future, the lab will host more specialized classes, such as photo restoration and animation. 

“The kind of things you have to drive into downtown Atlanta to get right now we will now be offering here,” Miller said. 

The popularity of the digital lab is already apparent. So far, 21 students from William and Reed Academy have registered to take classes in the new digital lab, double what the Arts Center expected.  

The Johns Creek Arts Center is located at 6290 Abbotts Bridge Road, Building 700. More information about programs can be found on the Arts Center website,

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