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Courses & Workshops

*Please note sessions not suitable for ages below 14 marked with asterisk (and suggested age ranges in descriptions below).
 

SESSION 1

*Act Like an Artist: The Science Behind Creative Aging
Anne L'Ecuyer

Behind the White Cube: The Secret Life of Museums
Juliet Bellow & Ximena Varela

Dance with AU/DC
Melanie George

Fix It in the Mix
William Brent, Paul Oehlers, Michael Harvey & Ana Cetina

*Fundamentals of Color (Sessions 1-2)
Danielle Mysliwiec & Tim Dowd

The Neurocognitive Basis of Music
Fernando Benadon & Nancy Jo Snider

No Fear Shakespeare
Caleen Jennings



SESSION 2

*Acting Methods for Public Speaking
Cara Gabriel

Art in the Garden: Landscape Photography
Arboretum Staff

*Big Kids @ Katzen
Shelley Brodeki & Susan Cole

Cooking with the Orchestra
Yaniv Dinur

Drawing in the Italian Renaissance
Joanne Allen

Scenes from Childhood:
An Introduction to Schumann's Great Work

Ann Kang

Storyteller: Reflections on Art, Creativity, and Teaching
Don Kimes

SESSION 3
A Cabinet of Curiosities
Ximena Varela

Behind the Scenes of the Auction
Jack Rasmussen

Fix It in the Mix
William Brent, Paul Oehlers, Michael Harvey & Ana Cetina

*Unlocking your Inner Playwright
Carl Menninger

Writing the 4-Chord Song
Matthew Heap



Session 1

Art workshop


*Act Like an Artist: The Science Behind Creative Aging

Anne L'Ecuyer: In the first half of this session, professor Anne L'Ecuyer will review the most recent research on creative aging, including the ways that arts participation improves cognitive function, mobility, and mood in elders. Then we'll test those ideas with a few creative games to help you act like an artist at any age. (Adults only.)


Behind the White Cube: The Secret Life of Museums

Juliet Bellow & Ximena Varela: Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes to make a museum exhibition happen? In this class led by professors Juliet Bellow and Ximena Varela you will learn about the inner workings of a museum exhibition. In an interactive workshop, you will devise, propose, and plan a major exhibition, from selecting works and deciding how to hang them, to the commercial side of an exhibition, including fundraising, marketing, and the running the gift shop.


Dance with AU/DC

Melanie George: Join an interactive open rehearsal with the dancers of the American University Dance Company (AU/DC). Participants will have the opportunity to learn original dance phrases created during the session, then see that material transformed by the student dancers.

Audio mixing


Fix It in the Mix

William Brent, Paul Oehlers, Michael Harvey & Ana Cetina: AU's audio technology faculty will hold an interactive recording and editing session featuring a live blues band in the Kreeger Studio. In the control room, participants will observe and assist in the process of multi-track audio capture, and will have the opportunity to adjust levels for individual instruments, perform pitch correction, add audio effects, and edit together a final product. Those interested in volunteering as backup vocalists and rhythm are welcome to join the performers in the live recording space.

*Fundamentals of Color (Sessions 1-2)

Danielle Mysliwiec & Tim Dowd: This two hour course will introduce participants to the fundamental attributes of color (hue, value, and chroma), color mixing techniques, and color perception and illusion. Demonstrations will be performed by faculty and students will have the opportunity to experiment with mixing paints and creating color illusions created with collage.  (Ages 16 and up.)


The Neurocognitive Basis of Music

Fernando Benadon & Nancy Jo Snider: Participants will explore the mental mechanisms by which music is created, listened to, and ultimately enjoyed. How do our brains convert raw sound waves into meaningful musical concepts such as rhythmic beats, expressive melodies, and consonant harmonies? Why are there no human cultures where music isn't made? How does music evoke emotional responses? We will connect recent advances in psychology, neuroscience, music, and evolutionary anthropology to understand some of the sophisticated cognitive systems underlying this universal human art form. (Ages 10 and up.)


No Fear Shakespeare

Caleen Jennings: Shakespeare's works are made fun and easy in this workshop. Emphasis is placed on creating engaging and relatable characters and staging scenes. (Ages 8 and up.)

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Session 2


*Acting Methods for Public Speaking

Cara Gabriel: This class will provide participants with a sampling of some basic acting techniques and methods. Participants will then learn, in an interactive workshop, how to apply those basic tenets of acting to their own public speaking, presentations, or teaching. (Ages 14 and up.)


Art in the Garden: Landscape Photography

Arboretum Staff: Take a hands-on photographic journey through American University's Arboretum and Gardens, one of the most noteworthy features on campus. This class will include both technical and artistic aspects, allowing each participant to take photos with your camera or smartphone. Enjoy a lovely stroll as you learn about the nature of this jewel of D.C.

Yaniv Dinur
Orchestral Director Yaniv Dinur conducting in the Katzen Rotunda.


*Big Kids @ Katzen

Shelley Brodeki & Susan Cole: Do you want to get messy, use your imagination, and learn about art? Join us for Big Kids @ the Katzen! Experience the grown-up version of American University's Kids @ the Katzen, a unique art program for children which distinguishes itself by featuring an artist whose work is currently on display in the AU Museum. (Ages 14 and up.)


Cooking with the Orchestra

Yaniv Dinur: The art of performing music is similar to cooking. The recipe-or the score-is a collection of symbols that only exist on paper. It is up to the chef-or the conductor and musicians-to turn the recipe into a delicious masterpiece. In this session Director of Orchestral Activities Yaniv Dinur and the AU Symphony Orchestra will demonstrate the different ways to interpret the mysterious signs that the composers have left us, and turn them into a life changing musical experience. (Ages 6 and up.)


Drawing in the Italian Renaissance

Joanne Allen: Ever wondered how a Renaissance masterpiece was created? How did a composition evolve from initial concept to finished work? How was a drawn design converted to a full-scale fresco? This class will introduce the methods and materials of Italian Renaissance drawing. After a short illustrated talk, you will learn the technique of charcoal pouncing and take home your own handmade copy of a favorite work of art. (Ages 12 and up.)

Don Kimes
Art Professor Don Kimes; photo: Benjamin Hoste.


Scenes from Childhood:
An Introduction to Schumann's Great Work

Ann Kang: An interactive course for children ages four and above that helps participants connect to Schumann's Scenes from Childhood through movement. Movements, some lasting less than one minute, are briefly introduced and participants are guided through a short discussion following each. (Ages 4 and up.)


Storyteller: Reflections on Art, Creativity, and Teaching

Don Kimes: A series of sometimes serious, sometimes humorous analogies, vignettes, and anecdotes based on 40 years as an artist who also teaches.  


Session 3

Gallery Talk with director Jack Rasmussen
Gallery talk with museum director Jack Rasmussen.


A Cabinet of Curiosities

Ximena Varela: Cabinets of curiosities emerged in the sixteenth century to demonstrate the owner's power, cosmopolitanism, and interests. This session will provide an brief introduction into the formats, uses, and contents of cabinets of curiosities. Participants will then be able to build their own cabinets to take home. (Ages 6 and up.)


Behind the Scenes of the Auction

AU Museum Curator Jack Rasmussen: A behind-the-scenes examination and discussion of the art featured in the 2014 Fall for the Arts live auction.


Fix It in the Mix

William Brent, Paul Oehlers, Michael Harvey & Ana Cetina: AU's audio technology faculty will hold an interactive recording and editing session featuring a live blues band in the Kreeger Studio. In the control room, participants will observe and assist in the process of multi-track audio capture, and will have the opportunity to adjust levels for individual instruments, perform pitch correction, add audio effects, and edit together a final product. Those interested in volunteering as backup vocalists and rhythm are welcome to join the performers in the live recording space.

Rehearsal


*Unlocking your Inner Playwright

Carl Menninger: Engage in a series of exercises and activities designed to help you discover and express a character's point of view. The group will write, create, and perform a short play of thematically connected monologues. (Ages 14 and up.)


Writing the 4-Chord Song

Matthew Heap: Many of the most popular songs of the last 50 years use the same four chords over and over, yet they all sound different. In this class participants will examine some of these songs to find out what makes them work musically and emotionally. They will also work together in small groups to create the first verse of their own 4-chord song, which will be played by instructor. (Ages 12 and up.)