“It Makes Me So Happy”: Denver Art Academy Gets International Recognition

The Denver Academy of Arts receives international recognition



The REAL Colorado Academy of Arts teaches art students the fundamentals of drawing, painting, and sculpting techniques since the Renaissance. They are now attracting the international attention of the art world and the Art Renewal Center (ARC), one of the most respected art organizations in the world.

This non-profit organization is a global education verification service for art schools to ensure students are learning strong technical skills according to the Foundation's rigorous curriculum standards. ARC focuses on the rise of realism in art schools teaching techniques used by classical artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

REAL is the first and only art school in Colorado to be ARC certified. It's an achievement of which founder Ali Ghassan is proud.

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"It makes me very happy because I can say it was my seed that I planted," Gassan said. "You will take care of it and see that your seed has blossomed and become a bigger tree than when you started."

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Born in Babylon, Iraq, Gassan studied fine arts in Iraq, Italy and Russia. He and his wife emigrated to the United States and founded REAL in 2014. The idea is to make the art of realism accessible to everyone.

"I took all the knowledge that I learned out into the world," Gassan said. "I've studied all over the world, from Italy to Russia to St. Petersburg [and] I brought all that knowledge here in Colorado to start this school."

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REAL is a studio art school that teaches traditional art techniques through drawing, painting and sculpting, with a curriculum designed by longtime masters such as Rembrandt and Jacques-Louis David.

Its purpose is to provide students with an academic foundation for both novice and experienced artists. The ARC has approved only 75 art schools and workshops worldwide, including REAL.

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Gassan says his school is for students who want to improve their artistic skills or become professional artists. REAL attracts students from Brazil, China, Turkey and here in Colorado, as Dr. Alison Sheridan, a radiologist who wants to master the art skills she learned in high school.

"I studied art in high school and then went into science and looked for art classes that would fit my schedule," says Sheridan. "I also wanted the art course to be academic and rigorous and give me a solid foundation."

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dr Sheridan works nine-hour shifts, and she and her husband have three children. He said REAL is the art school he wants to fit into his busy life. REAL holds art classes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers evening classes to fit any schedule.

"I think it fits perfectly into our normally busy lives with families and other careers," Sheridan said. “I added art but that's why this model is nice because if I have time I can come.

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Gassan said the international recognition has strengthened his commitment to ARC's teaching philosophy, allowing him to focus on teaching his students the classical art techniques that have garnered worldwide attention.

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"We have a really good community," Gassan said. “Here you see everyone, they greet everyone, they support each other and they come with a purpose. They really want to learn how to perfect their craft to become really good artists. "

Click here for more information about REAL Academy of Art Colorado.

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