If you enjoy museumgoing and wish you had a firmer grasp of artistic concepts, sign up for 92YTribeca’s “Six-Hour Art Major” class. During its two three-hour sessions (200 Hudson St at Canal St; 212-601-1000, 92ytribeca.org; Oct 2, 9 11am–2pm; $135), students will cover art history and appreciation, looking at more than 150 works; learn about the right brain–left brain dichotomy; investigate the thought processes and techniques of art with drawing exercises; find out what it takes to develop creativity; and learn about the contemporary art market. Students are asked to bring a pencil, a small box of crayons and an inexpensive sketch pad (or a few pieces of blank paper) to the first class.
Downtown’s School of Visual Arts (209 E 23rd St between Second and Third Aves; 212-592-2000, sva.edu) has a strong continuing-ed program, with offerings as diverse as they are thorough. Among them is artist Melissa Meyer’s Fundamentals of Painting class (Sat 10am–2pm; $470; Sept 22–Dec 15). Intended for beginners and taking a decidedly contemporary approach, the course explores composition, color, space and painting techniques. Students work primarily with oils, but will also try their hands at acrylics and collage, while painting from observation, memory and imagination. Another rock-solid basics course is Digital Photography I (Tue 6–10pm or Wed 6–10pm; $900; Sept 18–Dec 19), for those wishing to begin their journey into photography in the digital realm. It covers rudimentary photographic theory, including light and composition; digital equipment and technology basics including Adobe Photoshop; and the development of students’ photographic eye through in-class lab sessions. An understanding of Mac OS is required, and students should bring a digital SLR camera to the first class.
Photographers lamenting the disappearance of film and darkroom chemicals will discover that the past—and not only the recent past—is alive and well in midtown’s relatively new ICP-affiliated Center for Alternative Photography (36 E 30th St between Madison and Park Aves; 917-288-0343, capworkshops.org), which revitalizes 19th- and 20th-century alternative processes like daguerreotype and wet-plate collodion with in-depth workshops taught by specialists in their given fields. This fall, aficionados can take a weekend course in platinum palladium printing (Dec 1, 2 10am–6pm; $395 plus $75 materials fee), a process developed in the 19th century that results in subtle images with a wide tonal range (think infinite, lush tones of gray, a sumptuous surface quality and excellent archival properties). In this class, students will first look at what images are best suited to the process, then make contact negatives with which to expose and process their prints on platinum-coated paper.
For a mind-bending immersion into the processes of contemporary art, sign up for artist Borinquen Gallo’s “Remixing the Ordinary” sculpture class (Mon–Wed 9am–noon; one session $690, two sessions $1,311; Sept 10–Oct 31 or Nov 5–Jan 16) at the National Academy School (1083 Fifth Ave at 89th St; 212-369-4880, nationalacademy.org). Meeting nine hours a week for eight weeks, the course has students experiment with discarded materials, such as Styrofoam, textiles, vinyl and other industrial materials and come up with methods to transform them into something new. You’ll study the work of contemporary artists who place a premium on process for inspiration and come away with a cohesive body of work.—Lee Magill