Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Best of Indy Awards

This has been an up-and-down year for adult continuing education in Indianapolis. I had lots of great class experiences (see below), but I also had a lot of duds, such as no-show instructors, over-priced classes and closed venues.

This coming year, I resolve to take even more classes -- such as that blacksmithing class I've been putting off -- and to keep learning new things.

And now, the winners of the 2010 That'll Teach Me "Best of Indy" awards:

Best class -- Hands down, this award goes to the new Wine and Canvas. The nomadic painting class, which meets at restaurants and its new studio, is a fun, low-commitment outing. Instructors walk through the painting process step by step, making the classes perfect for all skill levels (even my kindergarten-level art skills).

Best continuing education venue -- For the second year in a row, this award goes to IU's Mini University, a week-long "summer camp" of classes for adults. I had another phenomenal experience this past June, learning about such topics as stem-cell research, Bob Dylan and the exploration of Mars. With the thriving Bloomington restaurant scene and the beautiful campus, I can't think of a better way to spend a week.

Best instructor -- As it turns out, playing the blues harmonica isn't really my thing. But instructor Allen Stratyner, who teaches the class through the IUPUI Community Learning Network and the JCC, was a methodical and patient instructor. He set clear goals for each class, gave us useful homework assignments and -- most important -- communicated his passion for the blues.

As always, let's take a moment to mourn our losses this year: chiefly, the cooking classes at Frasier's Gourmet Foods. We wish the owners a wonderful retirement!

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