Horizon Expansion 101: Continuing Education Opportunities | Adult Ed-Continuing | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Horizon Expansion 101: Continuing Education Opportunities 

click to enlarge A detail from Golden Boulevard, a painting by HM Saffer, II, a faculty member at Art School of Colombia County. Hmsaffer.com.
  • A detail from Golden Boulevard, a painting by HM Saffer, II, a faculty member at Art School of Colombia County. Hmsaffer.com.

School is not for everyone. Dusty blackboards, dry lectures, and stringent schedules are not always conducive for a meaningful, lasting education. Realistically, how many high school graduates can say that they actually remember how to complete a math proof or what the proper format is for a critical essay? Rather than fleetingly memorizing information to pass a test, build a base of knowledge on your own terms with continuing education programs throughout the Hudson Valley.

The environment in which you learn can make a world of difference to what you absorb; staring at a Powerpoint presentation about scuba diving will not give you the same perspective as squeezing into a wet suit and sinking into a dive pool. With hundreds of programs open to students of all ages, the time is ripe for busting out the old bucket list, or realizing what disciplines nourish your vitality. Get feedback in a collective workshop on the memoir it took you eight years to conceive, forge jewelry for your loved ones in a smithy, or filter your vacation photos without the help of Instagram. Almost anything can be accomplished with expert guidance and the will to learn, and all you have to do is try.

Write for Life

The need to craft narratives is part of human nature. If we feel something, we want to say something. With our singular knack for using symbols to express thoughts, writing is an obvious outlet for congested brains to unravel, explain, and understand the phenomena around us. We want validation for our interpretations of the world, and for writers, this is especially consequential. The Wallkill Valley Writers community wants to be your sounding board. During their weekly workshops in New Paltz, students write, read to each other, listen attentively, and collaborate on each other's work. Workshops begin with a free-write to help students shed clutter from their psyches and get to the root of what they want to share. (845) 750-2370; Wallkillvalleywriters.com

Wholesome Beginnings

Take authority on health and wellness amid the frightful processed ingredients and soaring obesity rates nationwide with a course at SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge. Classes in all disciplines are available through Ulster's continuing education program every semester. If you are already in shape, help others harness their body's full potential by becoming a nationally certified personal trainer. Take a 62-hour certification program through World Instructor Training Schools and become an active, positive force for change by learning to promote and integrate exercise into everyday life. Online orientation for the Personal Trainer course begins July 1. New at Ulster this year is a two-day Holistic Practices in Lactation course meant to help mother's implement nonpharmaceutical approaches during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. Nutrition, gut healing, homeopathy, and home remedies will be addressed during the course under the guidance of Jennifer Tow, who has 23 years experience with hands-on, intensive, holistic health care for mothers. (845) 339-2025; Sunyulster.edu

click to enlarge A New Paltz student working with a 3D printed robohand, designed and built at SUNY New Paltz's Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center. - SUNY NEW PALTZ
  • SUNY New Paltz
  • A New Paltz student working with a 3D printed robohand, designed and built at SUNY New Paltz's Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Teaching Tech

3-D printing is a transformative technology. Its impact is being felt more and more in a growing number of disciplines—even the most unlikely industries are embracing the innovation that 3-D printing could provide. For example, some food companies think the incorporation of the technology into the culinary world will be as significant as the introduction of the microwave into household kitchens. But now you can keep up with the changing technological landscape that surrounds our world. SUNY New Paltz will be giving courses in 3-D printing this July. The campus is home to 30 desktop 3-D printers as part of its MakerBot Innovation Center. Dean of the School of Science and Engineering, Dan Freedman, urges potential students to "just approach it like any other learning exercise: start with the most basic, simple stuff, and don't be afraid to fail." He understands the hesitance and anxiety that is involved in embracing brand new technology. "This can be a little overwhelming, and there's a lot of terminology that gets tossed around," he explains. "But in the end it's really just assembling simple things into complex things." (845) 257-3454; Newpaltz.edu

click to enlarge Blacksmiths forge collaborative sculpture with Jake James at The Center for Metal Arts.
  • Blacksmiths forge collaborative sculpture with Jake James at The Center for Metal Arts.

Hammer Time

Fixate yourself in front of the flame during blacksmithing and small metals workshops under the counsel of seasoned craftsmen this summer and fall at the Center for Metal Arts. The formula for Valyrian steel may not be discovered, but it could be possible to surpass the talents of Gendry, King Robert Baratheon's bastard blacksmithing son of "Game of Thrones" fame. Beginner classes are available in blacksmithing, hammer and pendent making, soldering, riveting, enameling, and texturing. Patrick Quinn, a lead blacksmith/fabricator, will teach a one-day workshop on October 3 where students will craft a hand-forged bottle opener. The Center for Metal Arts is continuously updating their workshop schedule, so when one class fills up, another will shortly open. (845) 651-7550; Centerformetalarts.com

Post-Impressive Art

In our progressive world, artistic skills are quickly becoming more marketable, viable career options—no longer career paths for your parents to fret over. Expand skills picked up in high school or during personal downtime at Dutchess Community College with courses in writing, photography, painting, and music. Even those not geared toward art-making will find courses available at Dutchess each semester. In The Art of Photography course the Rule of Thirds, Golden Ratio, and Golden Spiral will be covered along with camera basics. An Introduction to Adobe Lightroom will walk students through the essentials of this photography software such as customizing desktops, editing techniques, and importing photos. A new class, Post Impressionist Landscape Painting, will use photos from greats such as Cezanne and Van Gogh as inspiration for students to emulate and craft their own masterpieces. (845) 341-8000; Sunydutchess.edu

Secrets of the CIA

We've all always wanted to wear a chef's hat. Those towering papal cylinders that somehow seem to contain within them all the powers and gravitas of a professional chef: the virtuosic knife skills, pan flipping mastery, stoically steady seasoning hands, and extensive knowledge of flavor combinations. But, unfortunately for the untrained home cooks among us, the hats are nothing more than upscale hairnets. That doesn't mean the secrets of cooking gourmet-level food are unavailable to the general public, to be cultishly kept among a handful of tall-hated chefs. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park is offering a smorgasbord of daylong summer classes called Saturday Kitchens. Each class—and there are dozens of them—focuses on one particular type of cuisine. There are classes in Indian food, breakfast food, artisan bread baking, knife skills, and Mediterranean cuisine, just to name a few. Each class will include instruction from expert CIA chefs, a delicious lunch, a free CIA logo apron and Master Collection kitchen utensil, and, of course, the chance to don a sugar-what chef's hat. (800) 888-7850; Enthusiasts.ciachef.edu

A Holistic Curriculum

Two-hundred and fifty serene acres in Rhinebeck are the oasis of the Omega Institute, an organization devoted to holistic learning and spiritual growth. The Institute offers hundreds of classes focusing on creativity, health, healing, relationships, sustainable living, and more. Classes at Omega focus on values and mindfulness that often go ignored in our hectic everyday bustling. For example, nature-based philosopher Daniel Vitalis will hold a series of immersion-experience workshops in October designed to bring out your wild, authentic, natural self. His course will lay out strategies and tactics to aid students in navigating an increasingly toxic world. Vitalis will also work with his students to develop individualized health and personal development strategies, allowing them to discover the foods and chemical compositions biologically suited to each individual. (845) 944-2002; Eomega.org

The Art Academy

The Hudson Valley is home to legions of artists. Chances are, if you live in the area, at the very least you're an art-enthusiast. If so, that enthusiasm can blossom into an avidity for artistic creation with summer art classes at the Art School of Colombia County in Harlemville. Classes in printing, oil painting, photography, and Sumi-e (East Asian brush-painting) are only a few of the 13 classes offered throughout the months of July and August at the campus. Of particular interest is the return of Tim Ebneth, a Hudson Valley artist, to the school, who will instruct a mixed media course this month. His course will focus on mastering various media including charcoal, acrylic, oil, and graphite—but will also explore the difficult and slippery question of how an artist becomes inspired. (518) 672-7140; Artschoolofcolombiacounty.org

Under the Sea

Aquaman, Poseidon, Ariel—they can all breath underwater. Fortunately for us land-dwellers, the scuba suit was invented circa 1800, so now we can also experience what it's like to plunge under the spuming sea into the world of coral reefs and clownfish (region depending). On July 7 and September 16, SUNY Orange in Middletown will be offering scuba diving lessons. Basic scuba and skin diving skills will be taught to prepare the student for open water diving, and eventual international certification. If classes in scuba diving seem too far off the deep-end, SUNY Orange also offers a plethora of classes in arts and crafts, computing, language, music, and workplace skills. (845) 343-2858; Sunyorange.edu

Music Masters Camps

Sitting in a circle among ambitious songwriters and watching Steve Earle sing, picking at the strings of his guitar, seems as unlikely as playing with the Allman Brother's Band—but neither scenario is pure fantasy. The Full Moon Resort in Big Indian is offering 13 once-in-a-lifetime music masters camps designed to bridge the gap between audiences and artist. Each camp has one or more world-class artists on staff as counselors that hold lectures, jam sessions, classes, and panels. The camps are either academically oriented, focused on music theory and master classes, or have a more social, festive feel. Each session is four days long and held throughout July and August. (845) 254-8009; Musicmastercamps.com

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