Arts & Culture » Visual Art

Community Creativity

Get your art on this summer, cheap and easy


Admit it: You've always wanted to learn how to take great pictures, paint portraits of your family, make kick-ass jewelry or publish your own novel but never had the time. If you're one of the unlucky ones for whom the recession meant an extended "vacation," now you do have time. Instead of hanging around the house this summer, sign the kids up for camp and then go sign yourself up for one of the many adult community education art classes offered by Boise Parks and Recreation and College of Western Idaho. Classes like these are a relatively inexpensive, quick way to learn something new, enrich what you already know or maybe help you become a more well-rounded person--which will come in handy when the job fairy comes knocking at your door.

Boise Parks and Recreation

The City of Boise offers a whole host of courses to help you get in touch with your inner artist. Here are a few picks for that aspiring painter, photographer or jeweler. Registration is available online, by mail, by fax, by phone or in person. Download a full list of classes and registration information at (click on Activity Guide on the right) or by calling 208-384-4486.

Acrylic Painting

DATES: Wednesdays, June 16-July 21

TIME: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

COST: Boise residents: $50.59, Nonresidents: $77.86

This class is for all skill levels, even those who don't know which end of a paintbrush is up. Beginners will learn basic color, composition, texture and layering while more experienced artists can learn ways to refine their techniques. Still-life, landscapes and portrait subject matter will be covered, as well as methods of abstract painting.

Introduction to Oil Painting

DATES: Wednesdays, June 16-July 21

TIME: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

COST: Boise residents: $50.59 , Nonresidents: $77.86

Many artists forgo using oil as a medium because it takes days to dry properly and oil paint fumes can be as noxious as Eyjafjallajokull ash. In this class, students use faster-drying, non-toxic oils to learn the basics of underpainting, glazing and alla prima painting (which is a method of painting all at once instead of layering colors).

Photography: Camera Functions

DATES: Wednesdays, June 16-July 7

TIME: 7-9 p.m.

COST: Boise Residents: $34.04, Nonresidents: $52.21

Just pointing and clicking is fine for your Flickr account, but this class will help wannabe paparazzi focus on finer photography. You will learn the basics of mastering a 35 mm camera (you remember what those are, right?) like understanding shutter speed, composition and attachments such as telephoto lenses. A basic working knowledge of 35 mm cameras is required.

Photography: Black and White Darkroom

DATES: Wednesdays, July 21-August 11

TIME: 7-9 p.m.

COST: Boise residents: $34.04, Nonresidents: $52.21

This class will help further develop your snapshot skills and teach you how to see the big picture. You'll learn how to develop black and white photos including negative development, print enlargement and photo mounting. (By the way, you aspiring Annie Leibovitzes can take advantage of Fort Boise Community Center's dark room for a $4 drop-in fee. They provide the darkroom time and chemicals, you bring the paper. Call 208-384-4128 for more information.)


DATES: Mondays, June 14-July 26

TIME: 1-3 p.m.

COST: Boise residents: $50.59, Nonresidents: $77.86

This ancient fabric painting/dyeing technique uses wax, paint, dyes and heat to create beautiful patterns. The class description suggests the many ways you can use batik to jazz up everything from pillows to wall hangings, placemats, curtains, garden flags and even tool bags. Yep, tool bags. Batik your tool belt and you'll be the most chic DIYer on your block.

Jewelry Making

DATES: Tuesdays, June 15-July 20

TIME: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

COST: Boise residents: $50.59, Nonresidents: $77.86

Sites like Etsy are exploding with hand-crafted artisan jewelry and now you can join the crowd. This class teaches you not only how to simply make a necklace or earrings, but you will also learn how to twist wire, tie hemp, make your own beads and even learn how to peyote stitch (which does not involve hallucinogens).

College of Western Idaho

The valley's newest higher-education edifice also provides a slew of artful offerings this summer. CWI has campuses in both Ada County and Canyon County so it's easy to get to class and they offer courses in everything from dance to writing to photography and more. A full list of classes, locations and registration information is available at or by calling 208-562-3500.

Zumba Gold

DATES: Tuesdays, Thursdays, June 1-June 24

TIME: Noon-1 p.m.

COST: $29

This may sound like a kids' TV show, but Zumba is a dance class that combines (take a deep breath) meringue, salsa, cha cha, cumbia, belly dancing, flamenco, tango and aerobic fitness. All skill levels are welcome, but dress comfortably and be prepared to do some serious booty shaking.

Writing, Publishing and Marketing Your First or Seventh Book

DATE: Thursday, July 8

TIME: 6-10 p.m.

COST: $59

Best-selling author Bobbie Christensen offers a 10-step program for writing a book, from the first tap of your keyboard to the moment you send if off to the printer. She'll help you learn how to get a publisher or self-publish and keep all your best-selling dough for yourself. She'll even teach you how to market and sell your book before you've finished writing it. (Maybe someone should ask for her advice on healthcare reform.)

Introduction to Playwriting

DATES: Tuesdays, June 1-June 29

TIME: 7-8:30 p.m.

COST: $39

Do you ever imagine seeing a story you've written brought to life on a stage? Even Mamma Mia and Hairspray had to start somewhere. In this course, you'll learn how to create characters, write dialogue and translate your story to live actors.

Nightlife Photography

DATE: Wednesday, June 2; Thursday, June 3

TIME: 6-8 p.m.; 5-9 p.m.

COST: $59

Nighttime photographs can be some of the most stunning but also the most difficult to get right. In this class, you'll learn how to make the most of limited lighting as well as how to express a mood by using the darkness to your advantage. Be sure to take along your SLR/digital camera, lenses, memory cards and even your laptop. The class is scheduled to take a fieldtrip to downtown Boise on June's First Thursday to gather some great photo fodder.

Landscape and Outdoor Portraits

DATE: Thursday, June 10

TIME: 6-9 p.m.

COST: $79

This photography class teaches you how to take photos in bright sunlight, which can sometimes be as difficult as taking photos in low light. You'll learn how to frame trees, streams, meadows and mountains as well as people standing in or on them. You'll need the same equipment needed for the Nightlife Photography class.