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     When the 2020 pandemic struck and all of my in-person workshops were cancelled, I decided to start teaching my own online courses.  But I wanted more than just video courses, I wanted real interaction with artists to facilitate the learning. I wanted a classroom where students could learn from each other, talk to each other, and share their work.

         The name Yum City was an accident, the name of my first Tumblr blog that celebrated all the great art I was finding on the web back in 2010.  It was a temp name but then it began to create something in my mind. It suggested more than a school, more like a society.  Visions of early 20th century Paris, the city that artists flocked to for art education and the vibrant cafe society, started to blossom in my head. Exactly the kind of place I wanted to be.

         And so Yum City was built and opened its doors in August 2020.  We held our first course, Abstract Composition - The Deep Dive, in September.  This was a proof of concept that we could offer a more immersive and personal form of art instruction in the online environment. The testimonials, here, are evidence of our results.

         But we are not just about the courses.  I wanted to make sure that Yum City was a place artists could grow and improve their work on a day to day basis.  It is like a virtual residency, where you have the support of fellow artists within an environment specially built for nurturing your art.

I hope you will join us.



Kim Evans, USA

My membership in Yum City is one of the best creative decisions I've made. This group provides encouragement and help developing abstract collage art.  Thanks to Melinda's guidance, my work continually improves.  I am always excited to see the inspiration she provides on a weekly basis.  I highly recommend Yum City to anyone who is interested in developing their abstract collage design skills.

Yum City is a unique, friendly on-line community for those interested in abstract art -- and especially abstract collage.  Melinda Tidwell, Yum City's mayor, is a witty, inspiring teacher and creative coach. The site is rich with resources, technical tips and learning opportunities. Members are so supportive of one another. I love seeing the work others are posting, and receiving their thoughtful, constructive comments when I ask for feedback on my own work . Through Melinda's courses and my Yum City Membership, I have grown as an artist in so many ways. I highly recommend Yum City and its learning culture to others.  

Suzanne Gore, USA

Yum City is the best thing to happen to me artistically in 2020. The opportunity to connect with other artists and to have deadlines allowed me to actually create, post and share. In addition, Melinda also provides information on other artists to study, which has changed my perspective and practice completely. The Abstract Composition Course was wonderful. I look at composition, and so all art, in a new and much more knowledgeable way. I am so grateful there is an upcoming class, with deadlines, to force my productivity back into action! Thank you so much, Melinda. 

What Our Residents Say

Patricia W., CAN

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a resident of Yum City to take a Course?

Yes! But the richer learning environment of having lessons and community in a single, private place, is worth it. The Facebook group adjunct to most online courses is just too big and disorganized to allow students to really get to know each other or get meaningful feedback on their work. We think this feedback, and the group learning, is key to a much more enjoyable and productive learning experience. At $19.99 per month, basic membership in Yum City is highly affordable. **And, we don't collect or sell your data!

How are Courses organized?

Yum City University, or YCU, is the institution of higher learning within Yum City and houses all our courses. Each course has a "textbook" that contains all the lessons, both text and video based. There is also a surrounding "classroom" where students can post their homework, get feedback and ask any questions. It is like facebook, with posts and comments on posts, but we are able to categorize the Feed into separate topics for weekly assignments, a topic for recorded zoom calls, etc. Class sizes are limited to 30 students, which we have found to be a manageable number for people to keep track of each other.

How is Yum City organized?

We have 5 main buildings lining the city center main square. Yum City Management maintains The Library and The Museum, adding new art inspiration and art-making information, on a regular basis. The Gallery and The Cafe are buildings for our residents to do the talking. Posting work, commenting on work, asking questions, sharing ideas and sparking discussions.

Is it hard to learn to navigate within Yum City?

New software is always a challenge, but we try to get you up and running with the basics quickly. As part of YCU, we have a free course known as Yum City Driving School. This course is a collection of quick videos that teach you the basics. In addition, we have a dedicated Welcome Maven to help you sort out any problems you may be having.

Do you have live calls in Yum City?

Yes! Nurturing a rich community is one of our main priorities at YC and group calls are the best mixer we have found. Our monthly Art Parties are a great opportunity for residents to talk to each other and share with us what they are doing, in their studios or in their lives. We gather from our own studios and just chat as we work, free form. Yum City is outfitted with an Events tab where you can see all upcoming calls, RSVP for those calls, and grab the Zoom link to jump on.

How do you keep Yum City from getting too big?

We are very committed to making sure Yum City is a kept to a size where you can get to know your fellow artists and follow each other's growth in your work. As our population grows we have the capability on our platform to create Neighborhoods, smaller groups with their own local meeting places. You will never be anonymous in Yum City, if you do not want to be. We believe we all have alot ot share and alot to gain from doing our work in community.

Does Yum City have self-guided Courses?

At this time, we do not. Our courses are meant to be in depth and delivered to a group classroom. The momentum of a group moving together through the lessons is very advantageous to learning. Getting to see other student's homework solutions, as well as the comments they get, propels everyone forward. Art learning is tricky. You absorb it through alot of examples and alot of your own trials.

Do you have to be a collage artist to get the benefit of Yum City?

Not at all. We have many painters and mixed media artists in Yum City. Our common aim is that we like abstraction and the visual problems that abstraction presents. I personally just love the collage process as a way of constructing my work, but whatever materials you use are welcome here.



YCU is our Institution of Higher Learning in Yum City.  We offer in depth synchronous courses several times during the year. Lessons are composed of written and video material and hosted within our online classroom.  This environment provides all the community capabilities, posting and commenting, native to Yum City.  It's a great way to learn.

"Her classes are worth it for the spot-on critiques alone, and the community they attract, continuing on in a private art group, is invaluable. "

- Liz Ruest, WA  


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