Updated: Aug 25
In Basel, a city famous for its vibrant art and culture, it is easy to get inspired to make some art of your own. The following is a list of places where you can buy supplies and take classes.
If a certain kind of activity, such as painting becomes the habitual mode of expression, it may follow that taking up the painting materials and beginning work with them will act suggestively and so presently evoke a flight into the higher state.
- Robert Henry, The Art Spirit, 1923
(Leonhardsgarben 10, 4051 Basel, Clarastrasse 46, 4058 Basel)
Lachenmeier Farben has a couple of locations in Basel as well as an online store. They have a wide range of options available for all mediums: watercolours, gouche, oils, pastels, pencils, you name it. You can find everything you need to start painting. The shops are also lovely to visit just for the sake of exploring. Make sure to check out their Fasnacht section where you can buy all you need to prepare for Morgenstraich and the Cortege. Apart from the materials and services like framing, they also occasionally offer painting courses.
(Freie Str. 43, 4001 Basel)
As you can tell by the name, Paperetei Zumstein has great choices for different types of paper goods. This shop on Freie Strasse is all about stationery, craft supplies, art supplies and a wide range of paper. Everything is well-organized and there is an entire floor dedicated to art materials. They also have an interesting range of courses including sketching, calligraphy and painting in a number of different mediums.
(Lyon-Strasse 11, 4053 Basel)
If you are in the mood for adventure, I recommend a visit to Offcut. Offcut takes supplies from industrial companies and private individuals that would otherwise be slated as garbage and then carefully sorts and displays them so that they can be repurposed into something new. The shopping experience can be a real treasure hunt as you never know what you will find. Along with fabrics, paper and various other supplies, you can find used and half-finished colour tubes, brushes, spray bottles and sometimes second-hand easels as well. Along with being environmentally conscious, you can save few franks.
ACE Records specializes in supplies for street art with an emphasis on spray paint and specialty pens. Browse their online shop for these supplies as well as clothing, merchandise and books.
Apart from these stores, if you are just starting painting as a new hobby and don’t want to go for professional-grade, expensive art supplies, larger locations of supermarkets like Migros and Coop have student-grade art supplies that are budget-friendly. Places like Flying Tiger (Marktplatz), Sorsterne Grene (Freie Strasse) can also be great options for a variety of inexpensive art supplies.
To channel our art practice in the right direction we need a guidance from the experts. It can also be very enjoyable to learn as a group, sharing ideas and experiences. An art teacher can introduce you to painting techniques, develop your skills while encouraging you to see the world differently. The following are some places to inspire your creativity.
(Wallstrasse 14, 4051 Basel)
Paint It Easy (PIE) is a creative studio in the heart of Basel, which hosts a variety of painting activities from fun social events to art workshops, courses and in-depth study groups to hone your artistic skills. Their wide variety of art classes are available for all ages, levels and interests with no previous experience required. Classes are offered in English and German and are held in a relaxed atmosphere with options for drinks and food. They are also an excellent venue for private parties, birthdays, events or corporate team building. To find out more please read YBI Basel's feature article: Introducing: Paint It Easy.
(Jurastrasse 4, 4053 Basel)
Migros Klubschule has a wide variety of art classes in several different mediums including watercolour, acrylic, life drawing and many more. They also have hobby classes for crafts such as handlettering, book binding and jewellry making, to name just a few. Their offerings are extensive and classes are in German, so it is a great way to explore a hobby and learn German at the same time.
(Pfeffingerstrasse 82, 4053 Basel)
If you want to experience painting in a different way, the Painting Room is the place for you. Through 'painting play' they help children and adults freely express themselves through painting in a safe environment. Aligned to their philosophy, this is like a painting therapy to help you access your inner self through painting. Classes are charged on a monthly basis and they also have options for birthday parties and corporate events. They speak English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and Japanese.
(St. Jakobs-Strasse 13, 4052 Basel)
Stephanie Künzli Ycaza is a passionate young Swiss artist who offers private and group painting lessons as well as workshops with mediums such as resin, abstract painting and even sneaker decoration. She also offers special guest workshops with visiting artists. Workshops have set prices, but you can also do classes on an hourly or monthly basis. Classes are in English or German.
Visual Art School Basel (Tramstrasse 66, 4142 Münchenstein)
VASB is a professional art school that offers courses in English, French and German. Apart from full time/part time study they offer short duration workshops on various subjects such as: free painting, figure drawing, colours and light, printing and much more. Courses are with small groups and usually run in blocks of 10. Special workshops such as stone carving are also available on occasion.
(Vosges Square 1, 4056 Basel)
Using the human body (live nude, male and female), Mint & Mocha Design helps you to train your attention and recognize proportions, light and shadow and the body's relation to space. With individual and flexible support, the workshops are suitable for both beginners and advanced users. Various techniques such as watercolours, oil painting, pencil/charcoal etc., are taught in small groups.
Internations offers short duration courses in drawing and sketching if you want to practice or learn skills in the company of enthusiastic expats. You have to be an Internations member to join the course.
For the Young Ones
(Vogelsangstrasse 15, 4058 Basel)
The K'Werk Bildschule is part of the Basel School of Design. It is aimed at children and young people between the ages of 6 and 16 who want to discover and develop their creative abilities in an experimental and concentrated atmosphere. They offer regular semester courses as well as workshops and holiday courses .
Paint it Easy (mentioned above) also offers courses for children and teens. Check out their websites for details.
Many online platforms also offer various kinds of painting classes at very reasonable prices. This method is very convenient and you can learn at your own pace within the comfort of your home. I can recommend Udemy, Domestika and Skillshare classes.
If you want to practice your skills with like-minded people, make friends and be a part of a group exchanging ideas and techniques, you can do so without spending any money at all. Usually there is no need to register in advance and most of the time they are free or have a very minimal fee.
The mission of Urban Sketchers Switzerland is to connect local on-location sketchers with each other and help them to show off their city, one drawing at a time. Participation in the regular sketch outings is free and open to everyone, no matter the skill level. They have regular sketching meet-ups as well as a Thursday sketching group. You can contact them via email to find out the venue and time. Available languages are English, French and German.
(Jurastrasse 4, 4053 Basel)
At Aktzeichnen@basel artists of all skill levels are welcome to draw a live model in a variety of poses. Meet-ups take place every first and third Thursday evenings and you do not need to reserve ahead of time. The concept is drop-in and you pay per class. The number of participants varies each time between 15 to 25 or more. Available languages are English, and German.
This group is all about the the joy of being creative together. Every second or third Sunday this group meets to draw, paint and connect. Available languages are English, and German.
Beyond these suggestions you can find great inspiration from visiting Basel's amazing museums and galleries! Often times, these museums offer workshops open to the public. where you can experience creating art in inspiring premises locations. Art books, magazines and watching YouTube tutorials are also great resources.
Painting is not only an enjoyable and rewarding way to spend your time, but it also comes with a whole bunch of perks like busting stress, boosting creativity, and giving you a real sense of achievement. Through painting, you can gain a sense of calm and relaxation, express your thoughts and emotions.
So, pick up your paintbrushes, gather your supplies, and start exploring the wonderful world of painting!
Kripa Samant Parulekar
Kripa is from India, living in Basel with her husband and daughter. For years, she served in the field of art, architecture and design as a professional architect. Painting has always been her passion; she mostly works with watercolours. She actively participates in art and architectural events in Basel. She started artstudio21k for sharing her art, thoughts and connecting with you all. You can view her work on Instagram @artstudio21k.