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Back-to-School for Adults: Ideas for Continuing Education

Have you taken a class lately?

This time of year stirs memory of the smells and sounds of new shoes, three-ring binders, lined paper, pencils, pink erasers, bag lunches, and the slam of locker doors. What begins as a rite of passage into the grown-up world begins to feel like an endless requirement for adult life as one considers job training and professional options. There is a practical aspect to gaining the needed skills for navigating the world, but the 21st century is packed with too much information. Sometimes we simply need a break—rejuvenation.

Move away from the screen and the multitude of online learning opportunities that call out. There is added value in gathering with others in groups that are not entirely social or entertainment-oriented. The ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates points to another kind of experience: “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Beyond classes taken for credit, certification, or degree is a wide range of enriching workshops and lectures for anyone who wants to fan the flame. Public school systems ( offer low-cost evening sessions for adults, featuring topics, such as foreign language, computer skills, knitting, woodworking, gardening, or dance. Local colleges and universities allow senior citizens to audit some classes without credit for nearly free. You may not be as familiar with the diverse programs offered by numerous arts and cultural centers around Buffalo.

The Western New York Book Arts Center ( at 468 Washington Street hosts classes in papermaking, bookbinding, letterpress, and screen-printing. Find out about “Paper from Plants with Kasia Keeley” in a free workshop on September 21.

Would you like to improve your photography skills? Basic digital photography and Photoshop classes start soon at 617 Main Street, the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts, also known as CEPA Gallery ( Nearby is the Squeaky Wheel (, a resource for media arts workshops that explore all aspects of video and film production.

Find out a how simple digital camera can become a tool for seeing the world in new ways with contemplative photography. Attend a workshop in “Miksang Level One” ( September 28 and 29 at 408 Franklin Street.

The C. G. Jung Center, also located at 408 Franklin Street, is home to the Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York ( Their fall season is full of unique offerings, including writing workshops and thought-provoking lectures. Looking for a women’s group? The “Women’s Book Study Group on the Feminine” begins September 9. Attend a monthly movie screening and lively discussion at “Films to Talk About,” starting September 13. Investigate your nightly dreams during a six-week exploration, “Working Together With Our Dreams,” beginning September 22.

Develop your artistic side in fine arts workshops with local artists at the Buffalo Arts Studio (, located at 2495 Main. Consider “Portrait Painting with Sara Zak” on November 9 and 10. Find out how to market your arts and crafts in an evening talk on September 27, “Selling Your Work with Sara Goldhawk.”

Have you ever been curious to find out what meditation can do for you? Buffalo Mindfulness ( will host “Mindfulness and Loving Kindness,” an introductory class that begins September 29 at Unity Buffalo, 1243 Delaware Avenue.

The cost of these programs tends to be reasonable. They are generally for anyone who is interested and no previous experience is required--most take place over a weekend, an evening, or just a few evenings. However, preregistration is recommended. Browse the websites to find out what peaks your curiosity. Expand your horizons, meet new people, and support Buffalo’s nonprofit organizations at the same time.

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