Senior Studio Catalog for Communities
This is a catalog of courses available for museums, libraries, and other senior communities to request. Courses are scheduled through Creative Aging upon the mutual agreement of the location and the instructor. Program length and number of participants varies. Basic course descriptions are below, but most courses can be modified to meet your community's needs. Contact Mia Henley for more information or to schedule a Senior Studio course!
Abstract Acrylic Painting
This 6-week painting course offers students an opportunity for fun, outside-the-box creativity while painting with color, play and movement. Maximum 10.
Acting, Screenwriting, and Improvisation
Intro to Acting (no memorization required): The stage is calling you! Now is the time to explore that childhood dream of becoming an actor. This eight-week course will teach the fundamentals of acting by working with a scripted monologue. Each student will have an opportunity to perform their monologue in a final showcase for the last class. No memorization required.
Advanced Acting: Did Intro to Acting leave you wanting more of the stage? Take your acting skills to the next level! This eight-week course will include further development of acting skills including acting with a stage partner. Students will perform their scene in a showcase for the final session.
Film Screenwriting: Learn the basics of story structure, character development, screenwriting format, and cinematic techniques. In this eight-week course, students will work with the instructor to write a script intended for a 3-5 minute film. Students will also learn about ways to submit a script for possible production.
Improvisation: Have you always been curious about performing and didn't know where to start? This course will use theatre and improv games to introduce students to core techniques used while performing; without the pressure of memorizing lines and movement! This is a six-week course, but can be extended to eight-weeks to include an improv performance by the students that others can attend.
Art & Wellness: Mindfulness and Meditation
This four-part series focuses on well-being, meditation and art; self-compassion and loving kindness; positive emotions and gratitude, and self-care and strengths. In each session, participants view and work with art pieces from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art's collection or visiting exhibitions. The course offers basic mindfulness and meditation techniques and helps identify personal benefits related to a meditation and mindfulness practice. Students create a series of mandalas that explore a theme, emotion, and/or experience. 12 maximum.
Instructor: Collage Dance Collective Dance Instructors
This Intro to Ballet for Seniors series is taught by Collage Dance, a Memphis ballet company. It provides absolute beginners with an introduction to the basics of classical ballet in a welcoming, non-competitive environment. The course promotes mind and body wellness and aims to increase muscle strength, joint support and mobility. It also increases cognitive functions such as coordination and concentration. Dancers are encouraged to participate in all six weeks of the course (1 hour/week) to benefit from the full course curriculum. Classes at Collage Dance Collective, 505 Tillman St., or at your location. 20 participants maximum.
Instructor: Collage Dance Collective Dance Instructors
In this high-energy weekly tap program, students learn the fundamentals of rhythm tap, tap terminology and short combinations to prepare them for intermediate and advanced study. The program will focus on strengthening each student’s musicality, rhythm, timing, speed and coordination. Students learn how to hear and interpret music in a more advanced way through combinations that employ syncopation and dynamics. Students also learn the history of tap, one of the oldest American forms of dance that dates back to the mid-1800s and has significant roots in the African American experience. Students supply their own tap shoes.
In this 4 week calligraphy course led by local calligrapher, Maggie Naylor, students will learn a style of writing called Copperplate. Students will use a sharp pointed nib instead of the flat nib used in most calligraphic writing. Maggie teaches students about the tools and materials needed, preparations-how to hold your pen and how to sit, sizing and angles of the script, writing rules and basic strokes, and a few extra tips and additional resources. 4 sessions, 1.5 hours per session. Maximum 12 students.
Collage & Memories
Instructor: Cindi Ledger
Students use basic art supplies to create a memory collage from pictures and pieces of paper saved from special events. Students learn basic skills involving pleasing compositions, collage layering for artistic depth, use of texture and color for interest, and greater creative expression. 4 to 6 weeks, up to 10 participants.
Instructor: Shawna White, in partnership with The Dixon Museum & Gardens
Choose from a range of varying class themes--there is always something new to try! Students work with dynamic art instructor Shawna White to create their own masterwork from either supplies that are provided or from basic materials available at home. Up to 12 participants.
Creative Journaling: Keeping an Artist’s Sketchbook
Instructor: Jimpsie Ayres
During this 6-week course, students develop an artist’s sketchbook, learning techniques including photo manipulation and alteration, collage, calligraphy, printmaking and image transference. Maximum 10.
Instructor: Kristen Lucas
Engage your mind, body and spirit in a truly fun experience. Students will learn a variety of dance styles and dance fundamentals, creating opportunities for skill mastery and creative self-expression. Up to 20 participants.
Creative Writing Memoir
Instructor: Susan Cushman
Have you considered writing a memoir to save and share important memories from your life? Do you have an idea for an essay, short story, or novel? Learn more about the craft of writing in this 4-6 week course. Susan has published five books and is also editor of three anthologies of essays by other authors. Up to 12 participants.
Creative Writing & Storytelling
Learn to tell a good story with renowned storyteller Elaine Blanchard. In this 6 week course (meeting 2 hours per week), participants learn various components of storytelling. Maximum 12.
In this 6-hour course, taught over 4 weeks (1.5 hour sessions), students learn basic dulcimer playing skills from acclaimed dulcimer artist Lee Cagle. Advanced beginner courses also available. Maximum number of students varies. Instruments provided.
Film History, Literature, and Writing Courses: The Twilight Zone Studies; Literature:Then and Now; Creating Poetry
Instructor: Aaron Brame
The Twilight Zone Studies: "You are about to enter another dimension." In this six-week course, students will examine the literary, film, and thematic elements of Rod Serling's classic television series, The Twilight Zone. During the 90-minute session, the class will watch an episode from the series and explore the script from the episode. The class will be discussion-based, featuring conversation about the show’s social commentary and Serling’s influence in pop culture of the current day. Maximum: 20
Literature:Then & Now: In this six-week literature class, Brame will pair well-loved works of classic fiction from the American literary canon with newer works from the next generation of classic American literature. In this class we will see how certain themes in our stories and struggles continue to stand the test of time. Students are encouraged to dive into the reading so we can engage in lively discussions, debates, and thinking routines. Maximum: 20.
Creating Poetry: This six-week class is for writers of all levels. Students will be guided through various writing activities and poetry prompts. They will learn different revision techniques, share ‘close read strategies,’ and discuss different ways to pursue being published. Students should expect to have at least four poem drafts by the course's end, as well as a renewed love for poetry and a new sense of community with like-minded writers. Maximum: 10
Instructor: Debbie Lovett
In this 6-hour course, taught over 4 weeks (1.5 hour sessions), students learn basic jewelry making skills using simple and found materials. Enjoy the instructor's collection, or bring your own items to work with. Artist Debbie Lovett leads these creative classes. Maximum number of students 12. Basic supplies provided.
Students learn basic skills needed to work with the art of mosaics from local mosaic artist Kristi Duckworth, including drawing and coloring a mosaic piece pattern, cutting the piece out of clay, glaze, adhering mosaic pieces, and grouting. Up to 8 people.
Music in America
Learn about the development of American musical genres and be able to recognize their characteristics by ear. This 4-6 week course explores music from 1900 to 1960, including Ragtime, the Blues, Jazz, Big Band, Swing, Country, Rock & Roll, Soul, and others. Courses in other topics also available, including courses focused on African-American music, Jewish Music, and more. Up to 20 students.
Painting: Abstract Art, Landscape, and Drawing Techniques
Participants in Abstract Art classes experience the joy of creating art in the style of artists such as Van Gogh, Miro, Matisse, Kandinsky, Monet and others. Students study abstract artists' unique styles, then use their observations as a jumping point from which to create their own piece. Many students find abstract art classes a delightful break from realism and trying to make a piece look exactly as we see it. The Women in Abstract Art course focuses on female artists who created fresh approaches to abstract art.
Landscape Painting and Drawing Techniques courses encourage students to observe their surroundings more intentionally. Noticing over arching shapes, blocks of color and the variations of hue (pigment of color) and value (light and dark) are all important when drawing or painting landscape, still life or portraits. Students develop drawing and landscape skills through samples, discussions and exercises on perspective, underpainting, over painting, types and techniques of brushes and more.
All classes are interactive. Sarah creates art herself while students are invited into the process. Most classes enjoy music that accompanies students' creative process. Students use water based paints including acrylic, watercolor, gouache and sometimes other mediums. Class meeting times range from 4 to 8 weeeks, with sesssions of 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the community's goals. Maximum 12 students. Supplies provided.
Instructor: Debbie Lovett
In both of the courses offered by Debbie, taught over 6 weeks (1.5 hour sessions), students practice basic clay skills or create a clay wind chime. In the basic clay class, students learn to roll out clay and form it into fun but functional shapes, creating 2 to 4 finished pieces (pieces are fired off-site and returned to the site for glazing). In the wind chime class, students create, glaze, and assemble a wind chime from pottery and wire. Maximum number of students 8. Supplies and tools provided.
In this 6-week course, participants paint ceramic pieces, exploring aspects of the pottery making process including color theory and principles of design; application processes; and how paints and glazes work together to create different effects, patterns and colors. Maximum 30.
Instructor: Maritza Davilla-Irizarry
Various printmaking courses are available, as described below. Most printmaking courses meet for 2 hours/week for 4 weeks, but different arrangements are possible. Supplies provided. Up to 12 students.
Drawing through print: Introduction to Monotype Explore the use of printmaking as an open and immediate medium—an extension of the artists’ own hand. Create unique pieces that bridge the gap between print, drawing, painting and reductive processes.
Relief printmaking: Linocut, or linoleum printing Explore relief printmaking (carving into a surface) using linoleum to create dynamic water-soluble relief print. Learn how to prepare a block, draw, carve, and print.
Relief printmaking woodcut: Explore relief printmaking (carving into a surface) using wood to create dynamic images. Learn how to prepare a block, draw, carve, and print.
Dry point: Explore “intaglio” printmaking and get a sense of this historical technique. Learn to make marks to develop an image using sources or sketches that create printable images, producing a small edition or series of prints.
Single page books: Learn to create a book using a single piece of various-sized paper and origami-like folds. Begin with unique drawings/coloring, add your own text, and fold.
Color mixing into painting: Uncover the mystery of color mixing while making a series of three small paintings on various surfaces.
Instructor: Rich Williams
Learn the basic steps of Scrimshaw, often known as the "Art of the Whalers". Students will learn the history, basic cutting, inking, and shading techniques and will apply them to increasingly more complex and demanding projects on different materials as the class progresses. Drawing skills are not a pre-requisite; however, patience is a plus. All in-class work will be under the guidance of the instructor with some projects provided for students to work on between classes. All material used complies with all state and federal laws. Limited to 10 students.
Songwriting-Blues from the Heart and Soul
In this 6-week course, award winning R & B musician and acclaimed instructor Kenneth Jackson teaches students the art of writing the blues. Working first as a group and then individually, students learn the history and cultural impact of the blues, common blues song structure, how to write their own blues song, and how to accompany themselves on homemade instruments. Up to 15.
Instructor: Brigitte Ebel
Brigitte Ebel is an experienced Spanish teacher and enthusiastic educator who makes Spanish lessons fun. Lessons focus on conversation, role plays, music, and cultural information. Brigitte also offers cultural insights from her extensive travels. Field trips to restaurants are also possible. Handouts are provided. Up to 10. Classes occur one time each week and may be 1 or 1.5 hours. 8 week sessions.
Stories Project: Theatre Memphis
Instructor: Theatre Memphis Staff
Do you have a story to tell? Would you like to see that story take shape before your eyes? Join Theatre Memphis' talented team for an untitled “Stories Project” where you create the script by recounting your most treasured tales. Be a part of a group of “storytellers” that will join together to recount memorable life moments in an effort to turn those cherished memories into a scripted performance. The group will work together to find connections in all of their stories that can be woven together into one cohesive performance piece. This opportunity to share, reminisce, and connect will culminate with a performance of the interpreted stories that will showcase the world premiere projected created by Theatre Memphis facilitators and the brave members of the storytelling group. Join in and share your story with the world! Classes occur one time per week for 6 weeks, followed by a culminating production.
Instructor: Susan Maakestad
Join artist and instructor Susan Maakestad to learn the basics of the medium of watercolor. Meeting weekly for 4 weeks (2 hours/session), students learn watercolor’s history and basic methods of applying watercolor to paper, making their own piece. Supplies provided. Class limited to 12 students.