40 Great Adult Education Classes in Chicago

Learn to whip up a soufflé, snap a fab photo, get ahead at work, or even save a life—at just a few short classes this fall.

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THE ARTIST AND THE SKETCHBOOK
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This beginners’ class takes an intriguing approach to the basics of drawing and composition: You’ll learn it from history’s best painters and sculptors. Touring the museum’s impressive collection of sketches will serve as inspiration for your own work in charcoal, watercolor, and ink.
WHERE: 280 S. Columbus Dr., 312-629-6170, saic.edu
WHEN: Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon, October 5 to December 7
COST: $560

 

BLAST INTO SCREENPRINTING
Chicago Printmakers Collaborative

Whether you’re a rank novice or a semipro looking for a structured workshop, this affordable 10-week printmaking overview is a great way to get some ink on your hands. CPC assistant director Megan Sterling, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute, covers the latest techniques in lithography, etching, and relief printmaking—and saves time for one-on-one instruction.
WHERE: 4642 N. Western Ave., 773-293-2070, chicagoprintmakers.com
WHEN: Sundays, 4 to 7 p.m., September 8 to November 10
COST: $350

 

BOTANICAL DRAWING I
Chicago Botanic Garden

There are few better ways to master fundamentals such as proportion, line, and tone than drawing objects from nature. Under the tutelage of Marlene Hill Donnelly, a scientific illustrator at the Field Museum, you’ll render fruits, vegetables, flowers, seedpods, and cones in pencil—learning to “see new things in familiar subjects,” Donnelly says.
WHERE: 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, 847-835-5440, chicagobotanic.org
WHEN: Tuesdays, 6 to 9 p.m., September 10 to October 29
COST: $349 ($279 for members)

 

FIRST-TIME JEWELER
LillStreet Art Center

In this course for novice jewelry makers, Lillstreet’s experienced metalworkers will lead you through the design, creation, and finishing of a pendant, a ring, and a bracelet. You’ll learn professional techniques such as sawing, piercing, texturing, and soldering. Stick with the materials in the basic kit, or get fancy with silver and other metals available for purchase from the instructor.
WHERE: 4401 N. Ravenswood Ave., 773-769-4226, lillstreet.com
WHEN: Fridays, 2 to 5 p.m., September 13 to October 11; Sundays, 2 to 5 p.m., September 15 to October 13
COST: $175 (plus $15 materials fee)

 

INTRODUCTION TO INTERIOR DESIGN
Harrington College of Design

Surprise: Nondegree students are welcome to enroll in a handful of classes at this interior design school, including this superpractical (but pricey) 15-week overview. You’ll learn the principles of space planning and how to choose materials and finishes for upholstery, window treatments, wall coverings, and flooring.
WHERE: 200 W. Madison St., 866-590-4423, harrington.edu
WHEN: Tuesdays, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., September 3 to December 10
COST: $1,648

 

INTRO TO ARCHITECTURE
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This class is the same one that’s required for students in SAIC’s respected certificate program in interior design, so expect to cover some serious ground. Held in the Sullivan Center, an ornate masterpiece built in 1904 by modernist precursor Louis Sullivan, sessions cover the history and aesthetic evolution of major Chicago landmarks, as well as the design of a building from an architect’s point of view. The best part? Your instructor will serve as tour guide on field trips around the city.
WHERE: 36 S. Wabash Ave., 312-629-6170, saic.edu
WHEN: Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m., October 3 to December 5
COST: $560 (10 percent discount for Art Institute members)

 

SMARTPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY
Chicago Photography Center

A smartphone can deliver amazing images (see “Shooting from the Hip: Scott Strazzante Photographs Chicago”)—if you know what to do. In this two-hour class, professional photographer Angela Garbot demystifies the settings on your iPhone or Android. You’ll learn how to change the exposure, improve contrast, compose a good shot, and decide when to use flash. (One tip for sharper pictures: Hold your phone close to your body, not at arm’s length.) Finally, you’ll go out and shoot with Garbot and get feedback and corrections.
WHERE: 3301 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-549-1631, chicagophoto.org
WHEN: Sunday, September 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
COST: $99

 

WOODWORKING 101
Rebuilding Exchange

Lust after those gorgeous reclaimed-wood tables you see in shelter magazines? Make one yourself in this beginner-friendly class at Bucktown’s salvaged-materials mecca. You’ll take pine boards from demolished buildings around Chicago, glue them into a single panel, and create an even surface using a planer. Once your tabletop is finished, have legs made in the metal shop—or sign up for the second part of the series and learn to build a table base.
WHERE: 1740 W. Webster Ave., 773-252-2234, rebuildingexchange.com
WHEN: Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m., September 5 to 26; Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., September 7 to 28
COST: $245

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