“Best Studio in Charlotte” moves to Monroe Rd

Art, News

Holt School of Fine Art

Moving from SouthEnd, Holt School of Fine Art opened in their new space at Oakhurst on Monroe in January of this year. Holt Cleaver (creator of Holt School) and her business partner Kate Stewart say they have felt welcomed by the Oakhurst neighborhood and community of businesses on Monroe Road.

“Kate and I have had our eye on this area for a while and love how this neighborhood connects you to so many other areas of Charlotte. So many of our students come from all over and they love the easy commute and surrounding businesses.”

Holt School exterior
Business partners: Holt and Kate

The Foundations

Professional artists themselves, Holt and Kate offer a fine arts program that instructs beginning artists through professionals. “We teach foundations that can be applied to many styles of art,” says Holt, “which is why our mission statement says, ‘We teach the basics to create independent artists for life.’”

From drawing, students can branch out to the other art mediums like watercolor and oil painting.

The studio serves students from ages 8 to 18, as well as adults 18 and up. Keeping a low 1:6 teacher to student ratio allows them to offer personalized instruction, tailored to each student’s artistic goals.

CCDC photo of students

Art + Community

How did it all begin? Holt says, “We started teaching to be able to create a space for us to paint ourselves and started inviting students to join us and never looked back.” In fact, all of their instructors have home studios where they continue to paint and grow. Then, they “bring back all this passion to the studio and share it with students.”

Students who master the foundations classes at Holt School of Fine Art dive into portraiture and live model studies, which are just some of the classes offered through the year. Students are also encouraged to take their art into the community “through art shows, community murals, and art competitions.” They’ve created nearly 16 murals in the community since 2014.

Holt Studio mural Levine Childrens Hospital copy

Community mural at Levine Children’s Hospital, by Holt School of Fine Art

Award-Winning Studio

With a second studio in Pineville, Holt School of Fine Art is well known in the Greater Charlotte area. They’ve earned accoldates of “Best Studio in Charlotte” for two years in a row—in 2021 and 2022—by Charlotte Magazine’s BOB Awards.  

Although Holt Cleaver created the studio over 13-years ago, her enthusiasm for teaching still bubbles,

“It’s always exciting to see a student paint for the first time and watch them grow. It challenges us to see things differently. Everyone has a different approach to painting, and we get to learn from each other.”

Kids classes at Holt School
CCDC photo of students


If you’d like to learn from the friendly instructors at Holt School of Fine Art this Fall, then you’ll want to sign up for their email list. New student registration for Fall classes opens Monday, August 15. So set a reminder!

Holt School exterior

Monroe Road Advocates (MoRA) is grassroots group of volunteers from Monroe Road neighborhoods, businesses, nonprofits, and schools. We’re connecting community in the corridor from Lupie’s/7th Street to NC-51.