The Center for Life and Learning:
   Special-Topic Classes

Center for Life and Learning (CLL) special-topic classes bring in experts from the Chicago area to enrich our annual curriculum and provide a flexible avenue of participation. One need not be a CLL member to register. The special-topic classes cover a broad range of topics from politics to bridge to the humanities; come and check us out!

For information about our special-topic classes, contact Sue Hakes at 312.981.3389.


Beginning in March
   Easter Flower Making Workshop
   The Medici: Patrons of Art and Music

Beginning in April
   The Great Chicago Fire, the White City, and the Burnham Plan
   Russian Music from Catherine the Great to Dmitri Shostakovich
   The Rise (and Small Fall) in Prison Populations
   “Ripeness Is All”: King Lear
   Explorations with Jane Hunt
   Spring Film Series

Beginning in May
   Lunch and Learn: Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast 
   Felix and Fanny: The Mendelssohn Myth and Musical Saga 
   Symphonies and Songs of Gustav Mahler

Beginning in June
   Contemporary Art from India

 

Easter Flower-Making Workshop

   Tuesday, March 6
   11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
   Led by Virginia Wolff
   Space is limited to 14 registrants
   Register online here

Join CLL member, Virginia Wolff as she teaches us how to do easy and imaginative floral arrangements for the Easter holiday with flowers you can get from your local grocer.  Each participant will come away with their very own floral creation.

Over Virginia's 40 year career as an event florist, she has done décor for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, and even former President Barack Obama. 

$20 for CLL members
$27 for guest registrants

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The Medici: Patrons of Art and Music

   Tuesdays, March 6–April 10
   1:30–3:00 p.m.
   Led by Jeff Nigro and John Nygro
   Register online here

The Medici of Florence were the first ruling family to realize that their path to immortality lay through the arts. This class will focus on the most significant Medici patrons of art and music during the family’s Renaissance heyday. The family was among the first to use the revival of classical antiquity in the visual arts for their own greater glory, all while continuing to support the creation of sacred art. The music they inspired ranged from the spiritually contemplative to the intimate and personal to the exhilarating grandeur of theatrical spectacle. Among the artists to be discussed will be Donatello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, and Bronzino. Composers will include Dufay, Isaac, and Cavalieri. These creative geniuses exalted the Medici through the dynasty’s favorite themes of the Return of the Golden Age and the Harmony of the Spheres.

Jeff 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.

John Nygro
 is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$45 CLL members
$60 guest registrants

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“Make No Little Plans”: From the Great Chicago Fire
to the White City and the Burnham Plan

   Mondays, April 9–30
   1:30–3:00 p.m.
   Led by Clinton Stockwell
   (In conjunction with the Graham School, University of Chicago)

   Register online here

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood!” This quote from architect Daniel Hudson Burnham captures the courage and perhaps the hubris of architects and planners in Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871. From the fire, a “second city” emerged from the ashes, as architects, labor activists, planners and reformers attempted to remake the city in their image. We will read their stories, and view their vision through reading their texts.

Clinton Stockwell received his MA in History, his Ph.D in American Urban History and his MUPP degrees (Urban Planning and Public Policy) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also received an MLA degree from the University of Chicago.  Currently he works as an Adjunct Professor at National Louis University in their Masters in Public Policy and Administration program; and also as an adjunct professor at the University Chicago, in their Graham School of Professional Studies.  

$48 CLL members
$65 guest registrants

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Russian Music from Catherine the Great to the Death
of Dmitri Shostakovich (1762–1975)

   Mondays, April 16–June 11 (no class on May 28)
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Led by Stephen Kleiman
   Register online here

Although a trickle of western culture made its way into Russia due to trade, travelers, and the Greek monks who taught church doctrine, Russia remained largely isolated from the fall of the Roman Empire until the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725), when the Emperor’s travels in the West not only exposed him to new military and social concepts, but also instilled in him a taste for the extraordinary cultural life of the West.  Instantaneously, Peter turned Russia from a land isolated by location and its alliance with the Eastern Orthodox Church, into a European power informed, enhanced and inundated by his taste for western culture including music. 

In this class of eight sessions, we will listen to and discuss music from the period of 1762 to 1975 and discuss the socio-political environment to which composers had to continually adapt.

Stephen Kleiman holds a bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College of Music and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. An orchestra conductor in Europe and former music director of the National Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., his compositions have been performed internationally and recently at Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti), International Chamber Artists (Chicago), the Longy School (Boston), the Newberry Library (Chicago), Music at Eden's Edge (Beverly Farms, Massachusetts) and the Chicago Danz Theatre.

$50 for CLL members
$65 for guest registrants

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The Rise (and Small Fall) in Prison Populations:
Understanding the Reasons and Implications
behind the Changes

   Wednesday, April 18
   10:30 a.m.–11:45 p.m.
   Led by David Olson
   Register online here

This presentation will explore the factors that led to the tripling of Illinois’ prison population from the 1970s to 2000,  the crime and political factors that facilitated this increase, and the implications these changes have had for criminal justice policy, practice and the politics of crime control. The presentation will also discuss what efforts are underway in Illinois, and across the country, to reduce the incarceration rate, the likelihood of these efforts being successful, and what is needed to sustain reform efforts.

David Olson is a Professor in the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also the Co-Director (with Diane Geraghty, Loyola School of Law) of Loyola’s interdisciplinary Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice. For nearly 20 years, Dr. Olson worked at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, where he was the director of Illinois’ Statewide Drug and Violent Crime Control Strategy Impact Evaluation Program and was responsible for overseeing the evaluation and monitoring of federally funded drug control efforts in the State of Illinois. David has worked with a variety of federal, state and local agencies to develop and evaluate programs and policies, particularly in the area of community and institutional corrections, during his 31 years in the field of criminal justice.

$15 for CLL members
$20 for guest registrants

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“Ripeness Is All”: King Lear

   Tuesdays, April 24–May 22
   10:30–11:45 a.m.
   Led by Susan Quaintance

   Register online here

Aging. Identity. Autonomy. Relationships between parents and adult children. If you ever think about these things, you are not alone. William Shakespeare’s most humane tragedy takes up these themes in the story of a king who thinks he wants to retire and distribute responsibility (and wealth) to his three daughters. From Act I, scene 1, however, things do not go as planned. What follows is a cautionary tale for anyone who has a temper or loves immoderately or makes rash choices – in other words, all of us. Reading one act a week, we will focus on language and characterization in this timelessly rich masterpiece.

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.

$35 for CLL members    
$50 for guest registrants 

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Explorations with Jane Hunt

   Wednesdays, April 25–May 16
   10:30–11:30 a.m.
   Led by Jane Hunt

   Register online here

Celebrating her twenty-fifth year with us, award-winning teacher Jane Hunt leads this popular class through a new topic based in the humanities each week.  This spring topics will include Lucretius and the Epicureans, Puccini, and Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple.

Jane Hunt is a retired College of DuPage English and humanities Instructor and has been on faculty at the CLL since 1992. She is a graduate of DePauw University and Indiana University and enjoys formulating questions on diverse topics and then looking for answers with her classes.

Free for CLL members
$25 for guest registrants

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Spring Film Series

   Wednesday, April 25–May 23
   1:45–3:45 p.m.
   Free, open to all 60 and older, no RSVP necessary

April 25: Victoria and Abdul (2017)
In this striking period piece, Queen Victoria forges an unlikely bond with an Indian clerk who traveled to London for her Golden Jubilee. The pair eventually become lifelong friends, although the Queen's inner circle are horrified by their relationship. 1 hr, 52 min.

May 2: Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)
This enchanting historical drama details the relationship between children's author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, which was changed forever when Milne used his child and his stuffed animals as inspirations for the Winnie the Pooh stories. As the fanciful tales bring hope to England in the wake of World War I, the family deal with fame and unwanted attention. 1 hr, 47 min.

May 9: All Saints (2017)
Based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock who is sent to a small town with orders to sell its church to developers. But when refugees from Myanmar begin arriving in the community, he decides to try farming the land in order to provide for his congregation in this inspiring religious drama. 1 hr, 48 min.

May 16: Breathe (2017)
After contracting polio at the age of 28, Robin Cavendish is confined to a bed and given only months to live. With help from his wife Diana and her twin brothers, and the groundbreaking ideas of inventor Teddy Hall, Cavendish emerges from the hospital ward and devotes the rest of his life to helping fellow patients and the disabled. 1 hr, 58 min.

May 23: Wonder (2017)
Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. 1hr, 53 min.

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Lunch and Learn: Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast 

   Thursday, May 10
   11:00 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
   Led by Jeff Nigro and John Nygro
   Register online here

Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film, starring Josette Day and Jean Marais, combines sumptuous visual designs, magical effects, and an evocative score by the prominent composer Georges Auric to create a haunting, poetic retelling of the traditional fairy tale.  A complete showing of the film will be followed by a class discussion. Bring your lunch!

Jeff 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.

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$15 for CLL members
$20 for guest registrants

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Felix and Fanny: The Mendelssohn Myth and Musical Saga 

   Thursday, May 17
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Led by Stephen Kleiman
   Register online here

This lecture will explore the musical lives of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, the sociopolitical structure of the time and the reasons why Felix emerged as a great 19th century composer, while Fanny required an additional 150 years. Learn how Felix was afforded every opportunity to realize his musical life which he did, becoming one of the great 19th century composers, along with Schumann and Brahms, while his sister, Fanny, on the other hand, suffered the fate of many female composers of the 19th century and had to settle for publishing her music under her brother’s name.

Stephen Kleiman holds a bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College of Music and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. An orchestra conductor in Europe and former music director of the National Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., his compositions have been performed internationally and recently at Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti), International Chamber Artists (Chicago), the Longy School (Boston), the Newberry Library (Chicago), Music at Eden's Edge (Beverly Farms, Massachusetts) and the Chicago Danz Theatre.

$15 for CLL members
$20 for guest registrants  

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Symphonies and Songs of Gustav Mahler

   Wednesdays, May 23–June 27
   10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
   Led by John Nygro
   Register online here

With only limited time to devote to composing music, Gustav Mahler produced some of the most important works of the twentieth century symphonic repertory. Mahler combined the sounds of nature, marching bands, Christian hymns, and Jewish klezmer music to infuse his compositions with his distinctive personality and a universal spirit.

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$40 for CLL members
$55 for guest registrants

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Contemporary Art from India

   Mondays, June 4–25
   3:00–4:30 p.m.
   Led by Betty Seid
   Register online here

This course will be an overview of Modern and Contemporary Art in India. Beginning with its indigenous and British antecedents, we will traverse the 20th century—from the earliest awareness of Modernism to the current global presence of Contemporary art from India. This course will look at the first modern painters, abstraction, the emergence of women artists and new media and global art to name a few topics.

Betty Seid is an independent curator, writer, and lecturer living in Chicago and Santa Monica. From 1995 to 2005, she was Research Associate and Exhibition Coordinator for South Asian Art in the Department of Asian Art of The Art Institute of Chicago. During her ten-year tenure, she curated and oversaw the installation of several important South Asian exhibitions.  Her exhibition (and catalog) New Narratives: Contemporary Art from India was the first to show 21st-century Indian art in the United States.

$35 for CLL members
$50 for guest registrants

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