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Art Scene and Seen: “Are you Metal?!”

By John Dodge Meyer & Meryl  Truett. Photo by Kate Van Doren.

The urban dictionary defines “metal” as the ability to do something well in a new and difficult circumstance. Alex Van Doren can bring out the metal in you (pun intended)!

He’s proven it to over 2,000 students in nearly 300 workshops to date!

Stepping back a few years, it was Alex’s parents who first moved to San Miguel in 2005. They immediately set about building a home in La Cañada/Los Frailes that included a spacious studio to accommodate a semi-trailer’s worth of equipment! In 2015, Alex and family followed and almost immediately Van Doren Metal Art Workshops was born. In a large, fully equipped studio with everything from vintage to state of the art metal working tools, Alex, with the help of his dad, Lane, has inspired men and women, young and old and everybody in between. Alex says his favorite students are the ones who declare “Oh, but I’m not an artist!” Time after time, those students have a transformative experience largely due to the exuberance and skillful instruction that defines Alex Van Doren’s teaching style. He’s a natural and those who experience one of his workshops are empowered.

Alex credits his late mother with passing her passion for teaching to him. His father, also an artist, gave teenage Alex the interest in metal work with a summer job working at his Sacramento bronzing business.  That enterprise morphed into building homes and then the production of home detail work: fountains, architectural details, fireplaces and decorative stair railings, i.e. metal arts.

Not only are we adults fortunate to have their presence here in San Miguel, but the greater youth community now has access to the wonders of hands on metal work through one of Alex’s proudest achievements, The Van Doren Children’s Metal Arts Program. Each person that registers for a workshop automatically sponsors a young person from San Miguel for their own workshop experience. Or you can individually sponsor a young person of your choice!

Treat yourself to two days of fun and creativity. Discover hidden talents. Enjoy the camaraderie at a delightful lunch served each day. You’re not only rewarding yourself, you’re giving a young person in the community a transformative experience.

You can reach Alex and ask about his workshops at

415 117 2701

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