The Center for Life and Learning:
   Arts and Humanities

CLL programming has been suspended indefinitely to mitigate health risks. Read more...


Annual Arts and Humanities Offerings

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

Drawing Fundamentals
Faith Today

French Language

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, taught in the public system in Nice, at North Shore school in Chicago, and at the Alliance Française of Chicago. 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 has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for over thirty years, first as a staff lecturer, then as Director of Adult Programs, and currently as a Research Associate in the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art. Jeff also serves as President of the Classical Art Society of the Art Institute and teaches adult education seminars at the Newberry Library.

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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 aims to make faith come alive, individually and communally, through bringing daily life into conversation with scripture. Using a reflective prayer practice called lectio divina with a text from the previous Sunday’s worship, we take stock of our week in light of God’s word, proclaimed and preached. Then we turn our attention to more traditional Bible study, with the group choosing the book for exploration each semester. We leave enriched, nourished, and inspired for the rest of the week.

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 headlines and issues to discuss and open the group to full conversation on local, national, and world events. Students are encouraged to suggest topics as well. All opinions are welcome for a civilized discussion.

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.

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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
   1:45–3:30 p.m.
   Laura Mueller

In this course you will use a variety of mediums and papers to learn fundamental skills in drawing. Students from all levels of experience are welcome! Anybody who is open to new approaches, willing to concentrate, and able to put in the time can learn to draw, and will enjoy the benefits of this immersive and creative activity.

Laura Mueller worked for the Art Institute’s Department of Museum Education (now called Learning and Public Engagement.) She currently lectures on art for the Road Scholars program of the Illinois Humanities Council, as well as for private groups. From 2000 to 2017, she taught drawing at the Art Institute’s Members’ Sketch program and has been an Art Institute study leader on a number of trips to Europe. Laura has also taught art classes for the Hinsdale Center for the Arts, the Lab School at University of Chicago, and for many years Art Resources in Teaching (A.R.T.)

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Memoir and Creative Writing

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

The writer William Zinsser has called memoir “a window into a life.” Writing short memoir pieces about your experiences can give you a fresh perspective on your past and an opportunity to share the view with others. This class will provide inspiration and motivation to improve your creative writing skills and capture your life stories. Writing prompts and examples will help spark your memory and get your writing going. Each meeting, you’ll share new writing with the group in an encouraging environment. Beginning and experienced writers welcome!

Linda Downing Miller leads creative writing classes at CLL, the Newberry Library, and elsewhere. Her stories and essays have appeared in literary journals and other publications, including Chicago Quarterly Review, Water~Stone Review, The Florida Review, and the Chicago Tribune. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte and lives in Oak Park.

Class enrollment is limited. New for 2019-2020: CLL members who sign up for this class will attend every other week (twice monthly), to accommodate more members (two groups of writers). Call Sue Hakes (312.981.3389) to inquire about availability.

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CLL Art Studio

   Thursdays
   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.

   Josh Graham

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. 

Josh Graham is a percussionist based in Chicago. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the country and at conferences including the International Computer Music Conference, the Society of Composers Inc. Conference, and the International Clarinet Association “ClarinetFest.” Josh is the program coordinator for the Zafa Collective and regularly performs with pianist Yoshiko Arahata. He has performed with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Half Stick Duo, and the Listen! Percussion Group. Josh teaches percussion at Triton College and the percussion methods course at Roosevelt University. He is also on faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University and endorses Marimba One Instruments, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Black Swamp Percussion Instruments.

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For more information about the Center for Life and Learning, contact Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386), Director of the Center for Life and Learning.