I do not know why all the fuss about dropping art programs from public school curriculum. The number of available art schools for kids is vast. Okay, so they're not free, but neither is public school. I know, I know – you pay your taxes – it should be part of package. Frankly, I disagree.
As a kid in public school who was in love with art of every media, I was constantly plagued by classmates who were just there trying to get an easy "A". They took up valuable instruction time, disrespected the materials and supplies, and and more than a couple times damaged or destroyed projects of mine over which I had invested long intense hours. If only school budgets had been in crisis then as they are now. I could've had a shorter school day, or even shorter school week, and spent that extra time in a class full of students as passionate and interested in art training as I was.
The right kind of art instruction can be an invaluable key to opening the doors of other academic classes, like math. Math was by far my worst subject, but knowing what I know now, had I ever gotten a teacher that could've tied math to art, I'd have been much better at both. All my math teachers in those crucial middle school years were sports coaches. They taught by rote and playbook illustrations that were meaningless to me, instead of by any application that was relevant in my brain, (rarely art.)
So, the question is, what are the "right kinds" of art classes and what kind of art schools for kids are the best? That depends on the objective. If all you want is a safe place for your kid after school, then just about any park and rec department art class will do. Of course, those tend to be a lot like most public school art classes – populated with a lot of kids who would really rather be somewhere else and taught by someone who shares that same sentiment.
If, however, building your child's confidence and skill level is the objective, then you probably need to look for a kids art school that offers more than macaroni necklaces and paper plate pictures. Look at their students' artwork, particularly in drawing. Look for entry skill level and current skill level differences and how long it took the average student to get there. Children learn drawing skills easily and these skills are basic to both art training and overall learning skills. The exact depiction of observable objects is crucial to good brain development.
Art schools for kids need not be limited to visual arts. Classical music training in particular is all about math, and since pretty much every aspect of life can be boiled down to math, good art and / or music training is nothing to be sniffed at. Do your kid a favor. Take it seriously and quit whining about public school cuts. See the opportunities and take advantage of them.