The Village Voice's Winter Education Supplement

The <i>Village Voice</i>'s Winter Education Supplement
Illustration by Jesse Kuhn/


More Bucks, Same Bang by Neil deMause
Most students won't earn more with a pricier diploma. Is high tuition worth it?

Too Unschooled for School by Elizabeth Walters
Why are so many incoming college students getting stuck in remedial courses?

Saving Private Tongues by Michael Rymer
Two CUNY linguists set out to find endangered languages lurking within the five boroughs.


Compiled by Alexis Soloski


It used to be you couldn't step aboard a subway train or cross a downtown intersection without encountering graffiti sprayed and scratched on any available surface. New York presents a cleaner face now, but it's still home to vibrant and clever street art. Graff Tours leads spray paint enthusiasts around Soho, Williamsburg, and Bushwick. At tour's end, instructors will demonstrate safe paint-handling techniques and help you to produce graffiti of your own.

Sure, you could paint ships, sunsets, sunflower arrangements, or platters of fruit. But if your creative spirit can't be contained by the merely figurative, try "Abstract Painting" at Gowanus's Brooklyn Arts Space. Come with a blank canvas and leave with a swirly, spattery acrylic chef d'oeuvre. Other painting classes at the Space include "Encaustic," "Watercolor," "Color Theory," and "Old Masters Oil Painting."


"Computers are useless," said Pablo Picasso. "They can only give you answers." With all due respect to genius, many of us find computers quite useful. If you'd like to start making yours work better for you, consider the introductory classes at the School of Visual Arts. Offerings for beginners include "Alternatives to Adobe" and "Macintosh Basics," after which you can progress on to imaging, web development, and computer animation.


There's nothing like a local election to remind us just how skilled some people are at embroidering the truth. But if you'd like to adorn something just a bit more tactile, enroll in "Embroidery" at the Textile Arts Center in Greenwich Village or "Redwork Embroidery" at Chelsea's City Quilter (don't let the name fool you; you can work in any color of thread you like).,

America boasts a long tradition of silversmithing, harkening all the way back to the days of Paul Revere (among his more unusual efforts: a chain for a pet squirrel and an ostrich egg snuffbox). But even if the British aren't coming, you can continue the proud practice with "Introductory Silversmithing" at Williamsburg's Fitzgerald Jewelry, a six-session course that combines hands-on work with jewelry district tours and culminates in one or two finished pieces.


Sure, you could buy a fittingly sardonic T-shirt. But to achieve full indie cred, you should make your own. At the Gowanus Print Lab, take "Intro to Screen Printing" and emerge with your self-designed garment. And if that hooks you on wearable squeegees and solvents, return for "Print Your Own Converse" or the hops-infused "Pints 'n' Prints."


Time was, it took considerable money, heroic effort, and many enormous film canisters to make even a short feature. With the advent of digital video and ever easier editing software, it now seems like you need little more than a smartphone and a spare afternoon. Still, if you think you could use a little more, "Indie Film Production" at Murray Hill's Independent Film School offers a weekend intensive outlining financing, marketing and distribution, and physical production.

Food and Drink

It takes a certain kind of bravado to label your signature confection "crack pie," but if you've sampled Momofuku Milk Bar's famed dessert, you'll know that it's just as addictive as promised. If you'd like to feed the habit in your own kitchen, the Williamsburg location is offering "Bake the Book," a series of Saturday classes that guide you through Milk Bar's recipes and let you take home the results. Next up: "Cakes," which concerns birthday cake and cake truffles.

Yes, you would prefer to spend the fall hunting for truffles in Umbria or sampling Tuscany's wine varietals. But if you're stuck in New York and looking for a taste of Italy that's more sophisticated than the corner slice joint, sign up for a cooking class at Casa Belvedere, a Staten Island manse that houses the Italian Cultural Foundation. The casa offers classes for both adults and children, such as "Italian Regional Favorites," "Cheese Making," and "Game and Fowl."

For Children and Teens

Have you been reading about teenagers selling their apps and web platforms for millions? Why not help your own darling start paying for your retirement? Give your budding genius a taste for multimedia creativity at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab. This midtown "technology and entertainment museum" offers numerous workshops, some geared toward arts and others (like building solar-powered toys or creating LED-lit holiday décor) toward science.

Most kids will rest content on a cheerfully bland diet of pasta, chicken fingers, and the occasional applesauce. If you want your preteen to develop a more sophisticated (and expensive) palate, enroll him or her in "Urban Foodies" at Taste Buds Kitchen. At some sessions, kids will tour local restaurants and then return to the Chelsea Studio space to cook some of what they've nibbled. During others, kids will cook alongside chefs in actual restaurant kitchens. Other child-friendly classes—for toddlers through teens—include "Chocolate Lovers Camp," "Cupcake Wars Camp," and "Holiday Cookie Camp."

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