Classes for fun and career development

Boost your job skills with these interactive courses.

Five courses for a new era

Urban farming
What if, instead of going to Gristedes or Whole Foods, we all went out to harvest the back quarter acre? The New School's Food Studies program offers Urban Agriculture, 15 Thursday-night sessions beginning September 2, all about growing and producing food within a metropolis—from urban agriculture's role in a city's economy and food system to its environmental implications. The course includes NYC-based case studies, guest lectures and field trips. 212-229-5600,

Social media
Twitter for Peace: The 92nd Street Y and Mashable, the social networking news blog, are holding the Mashable Social Good Summit: How Social Media Can Change the World. The daylong symposium (Sept 20), held during United Nations Week and in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, promises to be inspiring. It features Ted Turner as the keynote speaker and will emphasize how new media can help address the problems facing our world. 212-415-5500,

App development
Money and business have gone mobile with smartphone technology, creating a whole new world of entrepreneurial opportunities: mobile-environment applications for customers, suppliers, salespeople and representatives, among others. Current Web-based applications—once dependent on desktop or laptop use—can now be morphed into a mobile format. Learn all about it over the course of ten Tuesday nights from October 5 in NYU-SCPS's iPhone and iPad Apps for Business and Enterprises class. You'll cover topics like data availability, information security and design considerations, and will learn how to integrate your own shiny new app into a fully operational application on the Web. 212-998-7200,

Design solutions
Do better by design: In this ultra-visual world, graphic designers have the power to influence what people buy, what they read, where they shop and nearly everything else. The School of Visual Arts offers Citizen Designer, a 12-session course in how design can effect social and political change. Students will produce designs for their own causes, so come prepared with ideas and goals. Typography knowledge and Adobe Creative experience is helpful, but not required. 212-592-2251,

Give good face, get good job: Skin-care specialists are among the 20 fastest growing occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the field is the only one of them for which a postsecondary vocational award—a certificate—is all the education required. Do it the green way with the Aveda Institute of New York's Esthetics Program. Aveda started out as the wholesome indie rock version of the beauty business, but it's grown into a green mainstay, with 6,500 salons in 20 countries. The 600-hour part-time or full-time course prepares you for a career as a licensed aesthetician, with an emphasis on ethics, organics and sustainability. New hires in the Aveda network are up 37 percent, according to a company spokesperson. 212-807-1492,

Six hands-on classes to try

Tap into your inner Michelangelo at the Educational Alliance's Stone Carving Workshop (646-395-4235, Over the course of 11 sessions ($350), starting in late September, you'll learn how to cut, shape, chisel and polish an ordinary piece of stone into your own masterpiece. Make sure to check the website for the list of materials, though, as you will need to bring your own supplies—including the actual stone slab.

Go Guttenberg
Ditch the Moleskine—sign up for Bookbinding I at Brooklyn's Center for Book Arts (212-481-0295, and construct a more worthy vessel for your doodles/novel. The ten-session course ($525) begins in October with warm-up topics like pamphlet assembly before tackling the tougher stuff: bound books and photo albums.

Brooklyn quilting
Be a 21st-century pioneer at Brooklyn quilter Emily Fischer's four-session course on Basic Quilting ($150 plus $25 for materials) at the Textile Arts Center (718-369-0222, Fischer, whose Soft Map line of city-map quilted blankets (many of which depict NYC neighborhoods) have won numerous design accolades, will focus on the more modern applications of quilting—on bags and clothing, for example. Space is limited, so register early for the November classes.

City carpentry
Try your hand at woodworking at Makeville Studio (917-873-5542,, where completion of a Tools & Techniques class ($195) will grant you access to all the tools you'll need to design and build your own furniture. Once certified, you'll be able to sign up for courses like "Getting Started in Furniture Making," in which you'll construct a hardwood bench from scratch, or even just rent workshop time to focus on your own projects.

Soap opera
Making your own soap is one way you can be certain it doesn't contain any nasty modern chemicals. On September 17, Jeff Kurosaki and Tara Pelletier, who run the local handmade soap company Meow Meow Tweet, present a soapmaking class at Make Workshop(212-533-9995, In a session lasting a little over two hours ($80 plus $15 for materials), the duo will explain the intricacies of soapmaking, from recipe formulation down to soap molding and curing, including topics such as lye storage and the use of natural additives.

Glass class
If you have a little money to burn, check out Glassblowing I at Urban Glass (718-625-3685, The course is a bit pricey ($695 for eight sessions), but with good reason—participants receive hands-on instruction in molten glass work. And hey, it's a small price to pay if you become the next Dale Chihuly.