We don’t know about you, but we feel an insistent pang of jealousy every time a new school year begins. The youngster set heads back to familiar school buildings with snazzy new supplies while college students return to campus with renewed ambition. But those of us who've already passed that phase? We're left out in the cold.
What to do when the urge to learn something new strikes, but going back to school isn’t really an option? Well, you could audit a couple of local university courses, but that's not your only option. There’s a wealth of awesome, off-the-beaten-path classes on offer for anyone looking to try something a little different.
Wish you’d majored in textiles instead of anthropology? There are classes for that. Consider yourself a foodie, but secretly need to make sure you have all the basics down? Yep, there are classes for that, too. Not only are there tons of cool courses up for grabs — at a range of prices, from free to super-reasonable to pricey — but they're also all designed to fit a post-grad's schedule, so you can get your learn on pretty much whenever you want. Ahead, we’ve gathered up the DMV's coolest adults-only classes, so read on to satisfy your deepest creative, culinary, and cultural desires.
What could be better than learning from the best of the best? Believe it or not, the entity that makes the National Mall so rad actually offers its own courses. The Smithsonian Institution has been at it for 40 years, with classes on everything from painting to neon-light sculpture to Japanese flower arranging. The Studio Arts department courses aren’t free — most hover in the $250 range — but they're worth it, considering the awesomeness of the venue. The next batch of classes begin in early January.
More interested in a creative art that will have super-practical uses come winter? Check out the fiber-arts classes at Stitch DC — because the cold is coming, and you want to be ready for it. Start at the beginning with Beginner Knit 101 ($80, plus materials), or hone your skills with a class on mittens ($50, or $25 if you’ve taken classes previously) or socks ($60, plus materials.) These classes are relatively cheap and low on commitment, making them perfect for the on-the-go student.
Letterpress is one of those lovely skills that seems totally unattainable — until you learn that an adorable local shop offers classes in it. Alexandria’s airy stationery shop Fifteen/Eleven has an intimate workshop (maximum six students) for a three-hour letterpress experience. Besides getting a breakdown of how letterpress works, you also get to take home 20 notecards that you make yourself. Take it in mid-December in time for the holidays, or consider the January class a gift-to-self. It’ll run you $175, with materials included.
Love a basic DIY project, but want to take your creativity to the next step? We’ve got two cool classes for you. Among other awesome offerings, the Art League has a two-day Shibori dyeing course that costs $175, plus materials, and will send you on your way with two of your own hand-dyed silk scarves. More into mastering the fundamentals? Learn the basics of hand sewing with the Ginger Root ladies. For $50, find out how to start and finish seams, add four new stitches to your repertoire, and attach buttons — all with your own two hands.
Photos: Courtesy of Lindsay Attaway; Smithsonian Studio Arts/Jen Schiller; Stitch DC
- 1 of 3