Continuing Education 2012

Continuing studies in NYC—from computer courses, cooking classes and language lessons to photography classes and yoga instruction.

Illustration: Joe Paul

Visual arts

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,; 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, 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,, 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, 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


Sure, it’s a struggle, but breaking into publications in this town is possible with a little know-how and persistence. At the New School’s continuing ed course “Writing for New York City Newspapers and Magazines” (212-229-5600,; Mon 6–7:50pm or 8–9:50 pm; 15 weeks $730; starts Aug 27), get insider tips from teacher Susan B. Shapiro, a writer whose work has appeared in more than 100 publications, and the top Manhattan editors who guest lecture. Together you’ll work on how to break in, pen an irresistible pitch letter and build a clip file, so by winter you’ll have sellable ideas and a grasp of the market.

Get your Lena Dunham–inspired pilot off the ground with the help of Gotham Writers’ Workshop’s TV Writing class (212-974-8377,; see website for class locations; ten evening sessions beginning early October; $420). Led by teachers who have developed original series and written for network TV, you’ll examine and practice how to create a plot, build drama and craft naturalistic dialogue, while also getting an intro to how the cutthroat business works. By the end you’ll have developed a spec script for an existing show and had your work critiqued by classmates.

No need to move to Sweden to find literary thrills. Launched in February, the Center for Fiction’s Crime Fiction Academy (17 E 47th St between Fifth and Madison Aves; 212-755-6710, $2,800; Sept 18–Dec 5) is the only program of its kind in the country. Led by a who’s who of the genre—faculty members include Elmore Leonard, Lee Child and Harlan Coben—students take an intense 12-week workshop in which they develop short stories or a novel, plus monthly classes with masters like Joyce Carol Oates, a reading seminar, and discussions with top editors and agents.

Whatever category your fiction, strong characters are essential. This fall, NYU-SCPS offers a new, more advanced follow-up to its “Writing Great Characters”—though the introductory class is not a prerequisite for “Writing Great Characters II” (212-998-7100,; Tue 6:45–9:05pm; five sessions $340; Oct 2–30), which focuses on how to build a personality on page or stage. Through exercises and out-of-class assignments, students will explore what makes their own characters tick.—Rebecca Dalzell

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Ready to take your Angry Birds addiction to the next level? As video games proliferate, many universities have started to offer related degree programs. The NYU Game Center ( launches its M.F.A. in game design this fall. The intensive two-year program covers all aspects of the field. “It’s like a film school, but for game design,” explains program coordinator Dylan McKenzie. “There’s a strong focus on critical practice on how to be a game designer, within the ecosystem of game studies and thinking about games as a critical form.” The curriculum is a healthy mix of the theory, collaboration and technical information that goes into making a successful game. In September, the center will start accepting applications for fall 2013, and there are also nondegree events offered later in the month when the Game Center hosts a public lecture series, featuring accomplished game scholars and designers (check the website for updates). Past guests have included game auteur Tim Schafer, Portal writer Eric Wolpaw and Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield.

Obviously, not everyone can commit to a full graduate program in game development. The NYC Gaming Meetup group ( is a great way to interact with and observe the people involved in designing indie games in the city. The group hosts a regular “Demo Night” at the Microsoft office (1290 Sixth Ave between 51st and 52nd Sts; $10), where selected game designers show off their creations to the community. It’s a friendly atmosphere, and the perfect place to see local designers in action.

Atlas Gameworks CEO Rajiv Roopan is heading up the first of a series of two-hour classes titled “The Art of Game Design, booked through Skillshare (; Aug 14 6–8pm; $49). “The first class is just the essentials of what a game is, and an explanation of the various elements of a game,” Roopan says. “You don’t have to have any background in game design. For a long time, it has kind of been seen as a black art, but the goal of the class is to explain what the different elements of a game are, and what’s going through the player’s mind when they’re playing a game—thinking about what you’re creating and how the player interacts with it.”—Drew Toal

Book a game design class now