The curve on learning 

Even if you once frowned upon the math worksheets and spelling bees of elementary school, you might find the idea of soaking in information enjoyable compared with the busywork at your day job.

And for all the lifelong learners who miss the days of overhead projectors and the self-satisfaction of discovering something new, there are many programs around the Detroit area which offer opportunities to gain knowledge in everything from artistic skills to cooking beans the right way. (Bet you didn’t even know there was a wrong way.) Here are some classes you might want to know about this fall:

If you’re ready to unleash your creative impulses, the Center for Creative Studies (located in Detroit’s increasingly impressive Cultural Center) is now accepting registrations for art and design classes geared toward the community. Classes start the week of Sept. 25. The high-quality, low-cost programs range from beginning to advanced, and everyone is welcome into this challenging environment. Adults, high school students and children can study drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, glassblowing, photography, illustration, fashion design, digital image making, page layout and portfolio preparation. For more info, call CCS at 313-664-7456.

No matter what the topic, some people lead lives too hectic to add anything to their weekly schedule. And for those who are interested in learning, but hesitate to throw themselves into yet another lengthy engagement which could end up being a waste of money because of skipped sessions, the Detroit Institute of Arts drawing rooms and galleries make an excellent classroom.

Count on them for regular educational opportunities in “First Fridays at the DIA” programs. They offer drop-in workshops, artist demonstrations, drawing, live music and more, all happening simultaneously in various spaces at the museum. All ages can join in workshop sessions on bookbinding. Additionally, there are lots of other interesting classes and opportunities for enrichment the other days of the week, some of them in conjunction with upcoming exhibits.

So find just one Friday to skip work. And all of the First Friday programs are free. Free. They’re so nice at the DIA. Memorize that number: 313-833-4249.

On a more frivolous note which should impress, at the very least, one good person in your life: Learn to clog. The MotorCity Cloggers club, based in Hazel Park, is ready to teach some tricks of the wooden shoe dancing trade. The flyer reads: “To learn the 8 basic steps will take approximately 13 weeks for a fee of $50.” To find out more, call Sam Gill (he’s taught clogging for more than 18 years) at 248-414-3975, or e-mail clogteachr@msn.com.

And then there’s always an endless supply of community classes involving cooking. At Lenore’s Natural Cuisine in Farmington Hills, you can select from a wide variety of cooking classes for vegetarians. From the “gas-free” bean sessions (Sept. 18-Oct. 16) to single sessions such as “Nourishing Soups” (Oct. 23), the instruction gives you food for thought. Call Lenore Baum herself at 248-478-4455 for registration.

Health is always worth learning more about, and in this case homeopathic medicine is the subject of an Ayurvedic medicine workshop. Focusing on the ancient medicine of India, this workshop emphasizes the importance of mind-body interactions, nutrition and biorhythms as ways to relieve stress and promote proper digestion. The program is presented on Sept. 16 at the Oakwood Complementary & Alternative Medicine Center, but there are many more similar workshops to choose from through the cold weather season. Call 800-543-WELL for more info.

And in the interest of Zen anything, the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Detroit houses the Still Point Center. Exercise your mind in the Art of Writing Zen (Sept. 24) or sit for a spiritual lesson on The Life of Buddha (Oct. 21). Your path to enlightenment may be walked by your fingers: Call 313-831-1201.

Beginning on Oct. 2 and continuing through Nov. 11, YMCA’s Writer’s Voice (located inside the Scarab Club in Detroit) offers creative writing workshops such as “Techniques of Screenwriting,” “Beginning to Intermediate Fiction” and a variety of poetry sessions with notable Detroit poets as your instructors. Call 313-267-5300, ext. 338 soon, because the spots are filling quickly.

Now comb your hair, brush your teeth and come down for breakfast or you’re going to miss the bus! Thank God at least that’s over with. Rebecca Mazzei enjoys juggling school and being MT listings editor. No, really. E-mail her at rmazzei@metrotimes.com

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