- Jeanie Antonelle and Mike Sadowy inspect the John Magnus at the Hudson River Maritime Museum's Riverport Wooden Boat School.
There’s just no substitute for fully present humans gathered around a fascinating task—no book, podcast, or Zoom screen can compare. In person, you can learn with your brain, gut, hands, and heart at once, enhancing all of the above while growing your real-time social world as well.
Our area’s various centers of continuing education excellence are reopening their various campuses with happy hearts, planning all manner of face-to-face wisdom and skill-sharings. Here is a cornucopia of options for mind and life expansion—check the organization’s website for up-to-date safety precautions.
—Anne Pyburn Craig
Omega Institute reopens its Rhinebeck campus July 23 for three months of in-person workshops, conferences, retreats, and professional training opportunities. “We are committed to carrying forward the many lessons learned during the past year, and to be a resource for building personal and collective resilience. And we’re proud, not only to reopen our campus doors but also to keep open the virtual doors that have expanded access to Omega for our global community online,” says CEO Skip Backus. The dozens of workshops range from Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics (August 20-22) to Opening to Intimacy: A Course for Couples (September 19-24) to Little Flower Yoga Teacher Training (August 1-6), and plenty of other offerings on healing, mindfulness, spirituality, and creativity.
Woodstock School of Art
Woodstock School of Art drew in 200 new students from everywhere last year, and Executive Director Nina Doyle says some plan to show up in person. When they do, they’ll find plenty to do face-to-face: adult courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture led by professional teaching artists, held as weekly three-hour classes and intensive workshops. Online classes will continue too; scholarships are available for teens and adults. With a group of local arts organizations, the WSA is kicking off an ACE (Arts Collaborative Events) series with a free, immersive festival on July 10; preregistration required at the Opus 40/ACE website.
Hudson River Rowing Association
The Hudson River Rowing Association will hold a free Intro to Rowing session on Sunday, August 15 from 11 to 1 at their spacious and lovely Poughkeepsie boathouse. They’d love to help you discover the joys of sculling and/or sweeping your way along the Hudson. There are novice and comprehensive programs for teens and adults; member Susan Beaudry says 70 adults of all ages and descriptions currently pull together, building skills, racing, and just playing. “It’s a great way to connect to the river, and it’s very social,” says Beaudry. “We do burgers, beers, and guac-offs as well as rowing.”
Culinary Institute of AmericaThe Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park is joyfully re-booting its delectable three-day boot camps; here again, summer is full up, but registration for the fall sessions and for various one-day classes like Introduction to Wine, Pies and Tarts, and Soups for All Seasons (to name but a few) is ongoing. It’s all part of the CIA Foodies, a program designed to extend the “joys of the table” to all interested parties and home cooks. They also offer “Around the Kitchen Table,” a series of free virtual cooking sessions with CIA alumni chefs.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
At the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston you can dive deep into the lore of our region’s defining feature, whether on a museum visit, a themed boat tour, or at the Wooden Boat School, where you can also learn to build an Adirondack chair (August 28-29) or a bookcase (September 26). There are multi-day classes during which groups can produce a skiff, canoe, kayak or paddleboard, as well as sailing and rowing classes—certified sailors can reserve a boat to take out on their own. Online, you can catch the Follow the River series of virtual history lectures.
Hudson Valley Improv
Improvisation is good for the soul. “It’s not about being funny, it’s about being free,” say the folks at Hudson Valley Improv, inspiration experts who’ll help you mine your insecurities and find precious mettle. Samantha Jones taught improv in New York City for two decades before founding the center. They’re back, Zooming through the summer and taking sign-ups for in-person courses in the fall. The basic Empowerment class will serve you well in any life situation; the Advanced track will help you polish those basics into performance skills. They quadruple dare you.
Kingston Ceramics Studio
Kingston Ceramics Studio offers ongoing weekly ceramics classes for adults and kids; you can book as you go, sign up for a batch, or book a day-long private lesson in hand building or pottery wheel work. Bring an apron and a towel; you can purchase tools on-site. Offerings include a basic Intro to Clay and the Studio, as well as throwing and handbuilding, mold making, and a Develop Your Skills class in which students work on projects independently with supervision, help, and feedback from an experienced potter. They also offer open studio memberships and an online instructional video series.
Women's Studio Workshop
At the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, their eight-week summer program offering week-long courses in book arts, papermaking, printmaking, and ceramics is back up and running this year after its first hiatus since 1979. Women’s Studio Workshop encourages the voice and vision of individual women and trans, intersex, nonbinary, and genderfluid artists and provide professional opportunities for artists at various stages of their careers and promote programs designed to stimulate public involvement, awareness, and support for the visual arts. The studios are extensively equipped and well-maintained. Pent-up demand from COVID means that there may or may not be space available by press time in classes like The Power of Electro-Etching or Indirect Magic: Working with Linocut.