The Center for Life and Learning:
   Arts and Humanities

Annual Arts and Humanities Offerings

Art History
Art in the Modern World
Conversational Spanish
CLL Art Studio
Current Events

Drawing Fundamentals
Faith Today

French Language
Stage and Screen
Memoir and Creative Writing

Mindfulness Meditation
Music History
Watercolor Painting

 

Annual arts and humanities classes are offered weekly September through June and are included in CLL annual membership. Instructors offer college-level material and invite class discussion. Students are free to learn without the expectation of outside assignments or grading.

CLL members join throughout the year and are free to attend class as their time and interest allow. A commitment to weekly attendance is not required, although regular attendance is encouraged for the greatest benefit. The class descriptions below provide a general view of the class; detailed class syllabi are available at the CLL front desk.

 


French Language

   Mondays
   10:00 a.m., advanced
   11:00 a.m., intermediate
   12:00 noon, beginner
   Claudine Wojtowicz

The CLL offers three levels of French language classes: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Come decide which is best for you!

Claudine Wojtowicz, a native speaker born on the French Riviera, also teaches at the North Shore School. Claudine has many years experience teaching French to all ages, often incorporating film and food into her classes.

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Mindfulness Meditation

   Mondays
   11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 
   Free for all CLL members

Join a weekly practice of twenty-minute silent meditation led by CLL members. Mindfulness meditation creates detachment from racing thoughts and feelings and leads to a peaceful mind and calm body. No previous meditation experience is necessary.

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Art History

   Mondays
   1:00–2:30 p.m.

   Jeffrey Nigro

This course focuses on the joy of learning and discovery through an exploration of the visual arts from a variety of time periods and cultures. Each meeting is rich with discussion.

Jeffrey Nigro is an art historian, lecturer, and educator. Jeff has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for twenty-five years, first as a staff lecturer and then as Director of Adult Programs in the Department of Museum Education. Jeff currently serves as Co-President of the Classical Art Society of the Art Institute and teaches adult education seminars at the Newberry Library and at the University of Chicago Graham School.

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Conversational Spanish

   Tuesdays
   10:30–11:30 a.m.

   Member Run
   Free with CLL membership, No RSVP necessary

Enjoy time to practice your Spanish skills! Come prepared to speak in Spanish for the entire class with your fellow CLL members. This class will be facilitated by the group, with topics discussed and decided amongst each other. All levels welcome!

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Stage and Screen

   Tuesdays
   11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
   John Nygro

Discussions focus on important films, works for the opera stage, television classics as well as theatrical plays and how these creations reflect the vast array of the human experience.

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, conductor and actor with a career spanning over thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from theater and opera to classical music to film and television. He continues to teach music courses at the Newberry Library, where he also leads seminars on the works of Shakespeare. John is a regular instructor at the Center for Life and Learning, where he teaches film, television, theater, and opera. His lectures have been heard at Northwestern University, University of Maryland at Baltimore, and at several Lyric Opera of Chicago Chapters as well as many Chicago libraries and arts organizations. His talks have been heard on classical radio stations and National Public Radio.

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Watercolor Painting

   Tuesdays
   1:00–2:30 p.m.
   Cheri Reif Naselli

Emphasis is on the concepts of positive and negative painting, brush technique, color studies, and wet and dry application of paint. Students of all levels of experience are welcome!

Cheri Reif Naselli is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and brings a variety of teaching experiences to the CLL. She is skilled in various visual art media in addition to watercolors and enjoys the opportunity to guide other artists as they develop their personal style and skill.

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Faith Today

   Wednesdays
   12:00–1:00 p.m.

   Susan Quaintance

Faith Today is a “hybrid” Bible study: part fellowship, part practice of the ancient prayer style of lectio divina, part learning about scripture, and part prayers of the people. All bring a hunger for a greater understanding of how God’s word can inform and shape our lives. This class is open to anyone on a drop-in basis, and no RSVP is required. All ages and walks of faith are welcome.

Susan Quaintance holds an M.A. in theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. She taught high school theology and English for more than twenty years and has facilitated many adult days of recollection and retreats.

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Current Events

   Wednesdays
   12:00–1:00 p.m. 
   Roger Becker

Come together to discuss the daily headlines. Our leader brings stories to discuss and open the group to full conversation.

Roger Becker graduated in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. Most of his professional career was spent in leading owners, architects, and contractors in developing health care design and construction projects. Roger was in charge of facilities services at St. Louis Children's Hospital, led the design and construction program at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and prior to retirement was Senior Vice President of Program Management at Lillibridge Healthcare Services. He also served as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers. Roger and his wife Jeanette have four children and three grandchildren, and they have lived in Chicago since 1997.

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Art in the Modern World

   Wednesdays
   12:15–1:15 p.m.
   Margaret Farr

This course exposes participants to visual arts from the nineteenth century to today, inviting discussion about artworks both familiar and unfamiliar. We will consider a variety of media, from painting, sculpture, and photography to newer forms of expression. 

Margaret Farr is an art historian who worked at the Art Institute of Chicago for seventeen years and has taught at St. Xavier University and Columbia College as well as served as Assistant Director of Education at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in nineteenth-century art. Her other interests include modern and contemporary art. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago. 

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Drawing Fundamentals

   Wednesdays
   1:45–3:15 p.m.
   Laura Mueller

In this course we use a variety of tools and surfaces to learn fundamental skills in drawing. While learning to draw, students also experience drawing to learn how the ordinary world around us can be turned into extraordinary expressions of art. Students from all levels of experience are welcome!

Laura Mueller received an M.A. in comparative studies in literature from the University of Chicago. Her teaching experience includes teaching at the Members’ Sketch Program at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hinsdale Center for the Arts, Art Resources in Teaching, and the Lab School at the University of Chicago. 

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Memoir and Creative Writing

   Thursdays
   10:00–11:30 a.m.
   Linda Downing Miller

Explore your life experiences through writing, expand your creative writing skills, and share your stories in a supportive environment. In this class, thoughtful discussion and weekly writing prompts and examples will provide you with inspiration and ideas you can use to bring your stories to life. Beginning and experienced writers welcome.

Linda Downing Miller earned an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Her fiction has appeared in Crab Orchard ReviewFiction International, and Fifth Wednesday Journal. Her creative nonfiction has aired on Chicago Public Radio and appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Parent, and elsewhere. She lives in Oak Park, where she has also worked as a freelance writer and editor for more than fifteen years.

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CLL Art Studio

   Thursdays through June 2017
   11:30 a.m.—1:00 p.m.
   Organized by CLL Member Carol Ferstman
   No RSVP necessary 

This opportunity is designed for CLL art students to enjoy free time to work on their projects outside of class. Artists bring their own materials, work independently, and enjoy this special time together with their classmates and friends. Students at all levels are welcome!  

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Music History

   Thursdays
   1:00–2:00 p.m.

   Kathryn Bacasmot

This class takes an informative and entertaining survey of musical styles and history, including popular music, musical theater, classical music, and opera. Illustrative selections are presented on the piano, via film clips and sound recordings, and by guest artists. 

Kathryn Bacasmot, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, has her B. M. in Music History and Literature from Wheaton College as well as her M. M. in Musicology from New England Conservatory; she studied piano at both institutions. Currently, she works as a freelance writer and for Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras.

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