Adult classes in NYC, from acting classes to language courses

Adult classes in New York cover virtually every subject you can think of—study our edited selection of courses and workshops and prepare to be inspired.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Astor Center

    Adult classes in NYC: Advanced Bar Skills at Astor Center

  • Photograph: Courtesy Astor Center

    Adult classes in NYC: Advanced Bar Skills at Astor Center

  • Adult classes in NYC: Applied Deconstruction 101

  • Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Glass

    Adult classes in NYC: Intro to Neon Weekend at Brooklyn Glass

  • Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Glass

    Adult classes in NYC: Instructor David Ablon at Brooklyn Glass

  • Photograph: Martin Seck

    Adult classes in NYC: Fashion Merchandising at Parsons

  • Photograph: Courtesy OM Factory

    Adult classes in NYC: AcroYoga at OM Factory

  • Photograph: Courtesy Furniture Joint

    Adult classes in NYC: Beginner upholstery at the Furniture Joint

  • Photograph: Courtesy French Institute Alliance Française

    Adult classes in NYC: A French class at FIAF

  • Photograph: Courtesy the New York Studio School

    Adult classes in NYC: Painting at the New York Studio School

Photograph: Courtesy Astor Center

Adult classes in NYC: Advanced Bar Skills at Astor Center

Bartending and Brewing | Cooking | Crafts | Fashion | Health and fitness | Home and garden | Language | Performing acts | Self-improvement | Visual arts arts | Web and IT | Writing

Visual arts

The illustrious New York Studio School (8 W 8th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-673-6466,, founded in 1963 by a group of students dissatisfied with the lack of actual art making at local institutions, continues to place the emphasis on studio time, with a schoolwide focus on working with a live model. The Saturday-morning sculpture class (begins Sept 21; 9am–1pm; 11 classes $550) with instructor Jock Ireland deals exclusively with clay, to impart basic modeling techniques and explore such concepts as proportion, balance, form and the relationship between figure and ground (forms and the space that surrounds them). After an introduction to the discipline, students work on sculpting with a model: first four to five 20-minute poses, then a longer pose. Participants are expected to complete one sculpture per class. Saturday afternoon’s painting class (begins Sept 21; 2–6pm; 11 classes $475), taught by Sam Levy and open to all experience levels, aims to help students “translate an actual experience into paint.” The model holds two two-hour poses or one four-hour pose, and each student is asked to complete at least one oil painting per class.

The Collage Workshop (begins Sept 19; ten classes $395) at the School of Visual Arts (209 E 23rd St between Second and Third Aves; 212-592-2050, gives participants of any experience level the chance to tap into the pleasure of third-grade art projects, but in a way that explores such decidedly grown-up realms as cultural commentary and the relationship between words and images. First, students practice the décollage technique—that is, borrowing material from an original source, such as a magazine—then get to work creating collages. Discussions cover text, image, our media-saturated culture and the hand skills required to achieve various effects.

Andy Warhol is as famous for his commercial approach to art as for the works themselves. The new “Andy Warhol and the Business of Art” class (begins Oct 8; 6–8pm; six classes $800) at Christie’s Education (11 W 42nd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, suite 8A; 212-355-1501, takes an in-depth look at Warhol, his art and the ever-growing market for his work. After getting an overview of the artist’s career in the first class, participants will watch Christie’s staff prepare works for online auction, gaining insight into how to assess the quality of Warhol pieces and the auction process. They’ll also make a trip to the Lower East Side Printshop to get a deeper understanding of screen-printing techniques, and go on a private guided tour of MoMA’s most important Warhol holdings, led by a Pop Art expert.

Web and IT

There’s no app for learning how to build an app. But Cooper Union (30 Cooper Sq between 6th and 7th Sts; 212-353-4100, does have a class for that: Building Apps for Mobile Platforms (Oct 3–Dec 5, Thu 6:30–9:30pm; ten classes $805). Rob Marano, cofounder of the engineering and software firm Hackerati, immerses students in the various mobile development environments that currently exist, from Apple iOS to Android to Windows. You’ll learn to speak the mobile language and develop apps for each platform with user interface and experience in mind, culminating in the submission of a fully designed app in at least two of the platforms covered.

If you’re looking to create an online presence for yourself, your company or a client, Mediabistro’s Search & Online Marketing course (475 Park Ave at 32nd St; 212-547-7890,; Sept 12–Oct 17, Thu 6:45–9:45pm; six classes $470) shows you what it takes to top any list of search engine results and the ways in which social media can help in that endeavor. “Simply put: SEO and marketing matter,” says instructor–digital strategist Grace Mangum, who has developed digital strategies, marketing programs, campaigns and products for Lifetime Television, IFC and BBC America. “Properly marketing your product, brand or service in a crowded marketplace is key, as is leveraging SEO best practices to ensure that when consumers are in the discovery phase of the conversion funnel they find your product,
brand or service.”

More than 60 million websites are powered by WordPress, making it one of the Web’s key building blocks—which would explain why the School of Visual Arts (209 E 23rd St between Second and Third Aves; 212-592-2050, is dedicating two fall classes to this popular content management system. The Getting Started with WordPress Workshop (Oct 19–20 10am–5pm; $400) offers an in-depth overview of the program’s interface, covering installation, setting up a website and customizing its appearance using various themes and plug-ins, making you blog-ready in one weekend. WordPress Theme Development and Customization (Sept 19–Dec 12, Thu 6–10pm; 12 classes $900) takes these fundamentals one step further, utilizing HTML5 and CSS3 to design a customized site. 

Anyone who has ever launched a blog knows that the Web doesn’t abide by an “If you build it they will come” philosophy. You’ve got to work to get those eyeballs. BRIC’s Measurements & Metrics seminar (242 3rd St at Third Ave, Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-683-5600,; Aug 26 6–8pm; $10) will help you distinguish your ROI from your SEO with an explanation of commonly used terms, and show you how to evaluate and improve traffic stats, using readily available (and free) programs.


Among the most in-demand classes at Gotham Writers’ Workshop (555 Eighth Ave between 37th and 38th Sts; 212-974-8377,, a school founded by a pair of wordsmiths in 1993, is Memoir Writing, offered in beginning and advanced forms either online or in one of several NYC locations. The class teaches participants to lend their life stories the narrative structures of compelling fiction through character, dialogue, setting and pacing. Students of the ten-week Level I course (classes at various city locations begin mid-October; $420 plus $25 registration fee) take in lectures and work on writing exercises each week. Class size is limited to 14, meaning individual attention is the norm. By the end of class, participants are expected to have written one or two short memoirs or to have begun work on a book.

If you’re interested in combining words with pictures, 3rd Ward (195 Morgan Ave at Stagg St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; offers a trio of courses in the art of comics, starting with the two-session primer “The Language of Comics” (visit the website for fall dates; $99), which serves as prerequisite for each of the other two, more-intensive classes (the six-session “Macro Storytelling for Comics” and the eight-session “Writing Scripts for Comics”). In the introductory class, intended to deepen anyone’s appreciation of the genre, comic-book editor Alejandro Arbona uses examples to help students uncover the hidden mechanics, such as which elements make comics such an expressive medium, how the best artists get their point across most effectively and the bad choices that can leave readers perplexed.

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