Arts Courses

                                                                                             art palette

The following arts courses are currently being offered.  Check back often as new course offerings are added on a weekly basis.  These 7-week, 2 hours per week courses are designed to give you an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter in a fun and relaxing environment.  Click on any class below for more information or call 205-726-2739 and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Performance Arts

A Patron's Guide to Birmingham Arts ($75):  Mondays, 10:00-11:30 a.m., course begins March 31st. The Birmingham community is filled with extraordinary music, theatre, dance, art, and design events, but here is a way to better understand and enjoy these experiences.  Dean Hopkins will teach a class entitled A Patron’s Guide to Birmingham Arts. The class will meet each Monday at 10:00 a.m. to preview upcoming events around our community and study subjects related to these performances, exhibits, and festivals. Special guests will provide an inside perspective of the arts and how to make the most of each opportunity. 

Improvisation and Comedy for Beginners ($195):  Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., course begins March 31st. The key skills used in improvisation -- such as creative thinking, trusting one's self, teamwork, and "leaving one's ego at the door" -- are applicable to a broad range of life skills and careers. This course introduces these concepts in a classroom and a hands-on workshop environment where everyone performs with and in front of everyone else. This allows students to employ new ways of thinking and working with other people, even if a student never intends to perform on stage.


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ($195):  Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., course begins April 3rd. This course is designed specifically for photographers to organize and edit images quickly and safely, and to cut editing time in half. Learn how to streamline your workflow by importing, organizing and postprocessing your images within one fast application. Photoshop Lightroom is an essential tool for speeding up your workflow, and it integrates with other postprocessing software programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Photoshop Lightroom is safe and nondestructive to your original images. Prerequisites: Basic computer skills.  

Architectural Photography ($195):  Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m., course begins April 1st. Discover architectural photography by photographing exteriors and interiors. Discuss the technical challenges of composition,distortion and lighting. This class emphasizes design, styles and on-location problem solving to create your images. Equipment needed: tripod, multiple lenses or zooms, shutter/cable release cord. Prerequisite: Basic SLR Photography and Intermediate Photography. 

Black and White Digital Photography ($195):  Mondays, 6-8 p.m., course begins March 31st. Black and white is the ultimate photographic expression. Explore classic black-and-white photography from a digital perspective. Examine concepts of lighting, highlights and shadows, image contrasts, and tonal range in the context of digital imaging. HDR, infrared, toning and other digital techniques are covered. Evaluate various methods for converting color images to black-and-white. Prerequisites: Photography I: Basic (AR190), and a basic working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop or other digital editing software. 

Essential Digital Printing ($195):  Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., course begins April 3rd. This class takes you from the original concept of your picture to the finished image in a digital environment. Learn the workflow through the digital darkroom while discussing file size and resolution, printer basics, and fundamental issues regarding paper and ink choices. Participants discuss color calibration and management, and output of the finished digital image. Prerequisites: A good working knowledge of one of the following: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. 

Explorations of Portrait Photography ($195):  Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m., course begins April 2nd. Explore the essentials of portrait photography. Discover how to plan a portrait session, including wardrobe, background and backdrop choices. Using the proper techniques of posing, lighting and composition, students produce technically sound portraits in live shoots with different genders and body types. Learn how to best use off-camera flash and reflectors as additional light sources. Required: Students must meet on location to shoot at various places throughout downtown Birmingham as well as the Samford campus. Prerequisites: Photography I: Basic (AR190) and knowledge of using off-camera lighting, such as studio lights or flash units. 

Photography I: Basic ($195):  Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m., course begins April 1st. Building on "Understanding Your Canon or Nikon DSLR" (AR110 or AR120), this course is designed to help you make effective images using the capabilities of your DSLR. The course's goals are to increase your understanding of photographic technique and composition. Topics covered include exposure, selecting the appropriate aperture and shutter speed, lens choices, lighting options, and basic principles of framing and composition. Equipment needed: DSLR Camera. Prerequisites: Understanding Your Canon or Nikon DSLR (AR110 or AR120).

Sacred Selma Photography ($100): Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Explore the spiritual power of Selma's historic and artistic treasures and learn to capture their mystery and what draws us to them. This workshop will photograph on location at Selma's churches, monuments and Live Oak Cemetery where, as one inscription reads, "There is glory in the graves." Interpret what you feel is sacred through the lens and learn how different types of light and the time of day affect the mood and experiences of these locations and monuments. Equipment needed: tripod.

Understanding Your Canon DSLR ($195):  Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m., course begins April 1st. Are you intimidated by your Canon digital SLR camera? Don’t settle for photographs that are less than your camera is capable of delivering, and don’t be left in the dark about the vast array of features that you can use to take professional-quality images. Learn to navigate the menus, submenus, options, and settings of Canon digital SLR’s to your best advantage. Beginning with the basic camera controls and progressing to the most advanced options, you will learn to unlock your camera’s potential. Soon you’ll be able to tailor the camera’s settings and options to suit your individual needs.

Visual Arts

Art for Children ($85): Mondays, 3:30-5 p.m., course begins March 31st. Children ages 8-12, join local ceramic artist Carolyn Wass in this artistic class, where emphasis is placed on personal creativity. Join us once a week after school for an artistic adventure at the Academy! Your adventure will include painting cheetahs on canvas, building clay animals, and creating a futuristic watercolor landscape! Young artists will enjoy creating art in this fun-filled class and share their creative masterpieces with family and friends. Supplies are included.

Art for Children ($85): Mondays, 3:30-5 p.m., course begins April 28th. Children ages 8-12, join local ceramic artist Carolyn Wass in this artistic class, where emphasis is placed on personal creativity. Join us once a week after school for an artistic adventure at the Academy! Your adventure will include painting cheetahs on canvas, building clay animals, and creating a futuristic watercolor landscape! Young artists will enjoy creating art in this fun-filled class and share their creative masterpieces with family and friends. Supplies are included.

Ceramics for Children ($85): Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m., course begins April 9th. Children ages 8-12, join local ceramic artist Carolyn Wass for a three-week clay class beginning Wednesday, April 9, 3:30 pm-5 pm. The class will meet every other week (April 9, 23, May 7). Students will learn to create fun projects from clay. Build pinch pot animals and clay stencil tile wall hanging using many fun designs. Each class is small with personal attention from the instructor. This class is for children who have or have not worked with clay before. Everything a young artist will need is included: non-toxic clays, glazes, firing, and materials.

Drawing I ($195):  Thursdays, 2-4 p.m., course begins April 3rd. Drawing is the essence of pictorial art.  Everything we see consists of shape, boundaries, and form.  Whether art is render via pen, pencil, or paint, drawing is the chief component.  In this class, we will focus on the following: basic shapes made up of light and shadow, composition, balance and imbalance, perspective, and principles of depth and design.

Painting Impressionistic Landscapes: Level I ($195):  Mondays, 6-8 p.m., course begins March 31st. Using a limited palette of acrylics, beginners learn how to paint spontaneous landscapes from photographs. This course focuses on color mixing, lighting, simple shapes and editing photos to develop good painting.


Creative Writing I ($195):  Mondays, 6-8 p.m., course begins March 31st. The poet Wallace Stevens once pondered thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird. Socrates said that a life unexamined is not worth living.  So what if you took a course that helped you to examine a subject (any subject—person, place, thing, idea, feeling, memory) and wrote about it in several different ways or genres?  This creative writing course will allow you to find your voice by exploring several genres including: poetry, essay and fiction. Upon our first meeting, we will discuss the genres we wish to explore as a group, then you will decide, with the help of some prompts, which subject(s) you want to examine. By the end of the course you should have a body of work that you created by flexing your creative muscles and taking risks in a supportive, friendly community. 

Creative Writing II ($195):  Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., course begins April 3rd. You wrote it and now you don’t know what to do with it. You want and need a community of writers to read your work, mark it up, and discuss it so that you know you are on target, reaching the readers you desire to reach. Whether it’s poetry, fiction, memoir, drama, or chapters from a novel, this course will help you in a workshop setting as we read, critique, and discuss what you have written and suggest ways to make it even better before you submit it for publication.