Chelsea Art Center

Whether you’re considering art classes for the first time, or you’re a seasoned artist looking to add to your artistic arsenal, the newly opened Chelsea Art Center has something for you.

Written By Karin Fabry-Cushenbery

Barbara Fife has been in the Ocala area for two decades, and for much of that time, she has been active with various art groups. The co-founder of the Ocala Calligraphy Guild has taken her love for local arts a step further by opening the Chelsea Art Center in Chelsea Square Plaza off Silver Springs Boulevard. She acts as the center’s owner and director.

“There’s really nothing quite like it in Ocala,” she says. “We offer a vast selection of art classes each month and are excited to be adding on to the opportunities that art-loving children and adults have available in our community.”

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Art Center

The concept for the center grew out of the realization that various art groups, including Barbara’s Calligraphy Guild, had trouble finding locations suitable for their meetings and workshops. 

“One day, I was visiting friends at CC Fine Arts Gallery in Chelsea Square Plaza and saw the for-lease sign on the door,” Barbara says. “I decided to go for it. Renovations started a year ago, and during that time, I took on an adjacent unit as well. The center offers two classrooms, a large reception area and an art reference library.”

The 4,705-square-foot building had its grand opening in the end of August, and classes have been in full swing for a few months now.

“We have 30 artists offering classes at the center right now,” Barbara says, “and that list is always growing. We have all the classic art classes you’d expect, including oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels and drawing, plus so much more.”

A quick glimpse through the center’s online scheduling agenda reveals an impressive assortment of art offerings, including things like pastels, silk scarf painting, colored pencils, zentangling (Barbara says it takes doodling to the next level), calligraphy and letter art, and much more. On September 9, Al Black, one of the original Florida Highwaymen artists, will be at the center as local artists paint a Florida landscape scene along with him. In October, photography classes will be added as well. The list goes on. Each artist has their own 5-foot table to spread out and feel comfortable, and the entire facility is wheelchair accessible.

The Chelsea Art Center offers classes for kids from about age 7 on up. There are also classes geared toward teens and adults as well. After school art classes begin this month and are available for youngsters ages 7 to 12. The class will meet once a week for a month and will focus on one topic for the month. Options may include polymer clay, drawing and painting. 

The duration of the classes depends on the topic, with some being Bob Ross make-and-take style classes while others may be for two, four or even 10 weeks.

“The programs keep developing and changing,” Barbara says. “None of this will put money in my pocket. This is a philanthropic endeavor, and the classes go to pay the rent and keep the lights on. I just have tremendous satisfaction for how much people have been enjoying the center so far, and I am looking forward to seeing more people come out and experience the Chelsea Art Center.”

Chelsea Art Center 

3305 East Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala

(352) 804-1272

View course schedule and register for classes at