More and more adults are hitting the books in this economy to switch careers or to gain vertical leverage at their existing jobs. But in these summer months, kickin’ around some knowledge can simply be about personal enrichment. Programs, classes and workshops can expand upon your interests while simultaneously sparking new hobbies and friendships.
There’s a wide selections of offerings from various institutions around the valley, from the University of Utah’s Lifelong Learning courses—which can run upward of $100 and last for several weeks—to one-off foodie-school events at Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli. More vocation-oriented classes can be found at Salt Lake Community College, while informal, dirt-cheap—and literally in the dirt—workshops from Wasatch Community Gardens can encourage would-be green thumbs to garden.
Here’s a sampling of a few classes offered around town to keep your brain activity from simmering down to a snail-snot’s pace in the heat of the summer.
If your Facebook profile suffers from smartphone photos of delicious filet mignon dinners that look like digital dog food, check out this class. Adam Finkle can teach amateur foodie photogs how to turn their kitchen adventures into Bon Appetit cover-shot-worthy pics. This three-week workshop deals with simple, yet beautiful, shots in natural light, food styling, current photography trends and studio setup. Participants must have taken a previous photography class or be able to pass a general photography quiz. 2755 S. 300 West, Studio D, Salt Lake City, Thursdays, July 12-26, $104, Continue.Utah.edu/lifelong
If Adam Sandler can make millions by writing horrible comedies, you can too! Everybody has a story to tell, and screenwriter Stephen Williams will help bring it onto the page in this two-part workshop. The workshop covers screenplay format, story structure and character development. The class outline should help writers avoid Anger Management over the course of Eight Crazy Nights before the Week 2 assignment is completed. Community Writing Center, 210 E. 400 South, Suite 8, Salt Lake City, July 14 & 21, 1 p.m., $30, www.SLCC.edu/CWC
How to Pair Beer
The Spaten Optimator might be the most excellent name for a beer at a pairing party. As it turns out, it goes gorgeously with aged cow’s-milk cheese. Beer, in general, pairs surprisingly well with cheese when done right—as Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli always does. Microbrews from around the world will be paired with artisinal cow’s-, sheep’s- and goat’s-milk cheeses at this tasting class. Come hungry, and leave with a belly full of goodness and a head full of smartness. Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli, 314 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, July 10, 7:15 p.m., $30 class plus $15 for beer, CaputosDeli.com
Using the oven in a studio apartment during the summer is hell. Luckily, urban homesteaders Johnathon Krausert and Julie Nelsen are here to help by teaching the joys of solar cooking. Salt Lakers have one very bright and shiny edge over cooks in other parts of the country: lots and lots of sunshine. So, learn how to harness solar power to cook some mean sweet-potato fries. You’ll also feel the bonus of cutting down on the environmental and monetary costs of conventional cooking. This annual workshop covers solar cooking and drying recipes, tips and techniques. Fairpark Garden, 1037 W. 300 North, Salt Lake City, July 14, 1 p.m., $15, WasatchGardens.org
The most important tenet of improv comedy is Saying Yes. The second most important thing is being funny, or at least having the ability to think quickly on your feet. This six-week improv-aganza will emphasize acting, active listening, comedic timing, pantomime and story focus for would-be comedians. A class like this should draw an interesting mashup of folks from various backgrounds who, if nothing else, will make for amusing evenings of interaction. Egyptian Theatre Studios, 345 Main, Park City, 435-649-9371, Mondays June 11-July 24, 6 p.m., $180, www.EgyptianTheatreCompany.org/Classes
Though throwing a pot on the wheel might be slippery fun for the maker, friends and family members won’t be so delighted when presented with lumpy coffee mugs and ashtrays that weigh five pounds each. Instead, why not create a more colorful piece that a friend would be happy to hang in the window to catch the summer sun’s rays? Over this two-day class, students learn how to cut glass, then design and fuse their own pieces of mosaic-style art. That’s hot, literally. 3474 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, June 19-20, 6 p.m., $144, Continue.Utah.edu/lifelong