Many of my friends have told me that their 2017 goal was to learn something new, whether it be coding, cooking, or throwing on a pottery wheel. Being who I am as a person, I immediately gravitated towards creative classes, and started putting together a list for friends to help them navigate their way through their awesome resolutions. Since I was making a list of places for creativity in Chicago anyways, I thought I’d share with you!
Chicago is just brimming with places to unleash your creative juices. Whether you think you’re a creative or not (you are), I promise I found something for you–take a peek below at the many outlets for your right-brained self, and let me know if you sign up for something!
Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Square and Lincoln Park
I’ve been wanting to play guitar for pretty much my whole life, but never previously had the courage to sign up for classes. This past fall, I decided that it was time, and swiftly signed up for Guitar I classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I’m currently on my second round of guitar classes at the school, and I can’t tell you how much I love it there. The people there have truly created a musical and comfortable community, where every person is given more than enough encouragement and assistance. The teachers are knowledgeable, patient, and personable. One of my favorite things about the Old Town School is that they have a jam session after every guitar class that includes all levels of guitar from different classes — so if you’re a beginner or a seasoned guitarist, you get the opportunity to play with tons of people outside of your class level. It’s so fun to see where you can get with just a few rounds of classes there!
Something else worth noting about the Old Town School of Folk Music is that it’s a nonprofit, and their volunteer program allows volunteers to earn credit towards classes while volunteering! Concert volunteers also get to see shows for free! For more info or to sign up for a volunteer orientation, contact their Volunteer Manager Kaitlin Higgins at volmanager [at] oldtownschool.org.
I finally got the chance to meet and learn from Joslyn at a rewardstyle event this past summer, and couldn’t have been more impressed. Joslyn teaches creative workshops all over the city with classes ranging from embroidery to macrame and weaving and more. Most of her workshops are between $50 and $65, and I have to say they are worth every penny. She also sells craft kits so you can make something at home! How cute is this Chicago-themed embroidery kit?
One Strange Bird in Wicker Park
One Strange Bird is a store and art studio featuring local, handmade gifts! Their art studio is a great place for you to get your creativity on. They offer adult and kids art classes and camps, and you can plan an art party for kids or adults! Sounds perfect for a bachelorette party, huh? Hint hint, future bridesmaids.
Sew Crafty Studio in Lincoln Park
Sew Crafty offers sewing classes for those just starting out, and those wanting to hone their skills with quilting and more. They also have open studio, so if you don’t have a sewing machine at home and want to go work there, you can! And, if you’re not into sewing, they offer plenty of options for “crafting parties,” which I think look so fun! Kids classes are also offered for the little ones.
Lillstreet in Ravenswood
Located in Ravenswood, Lillstreet offers countless art classes for first timers and experienced artists alike, like textiles, photography, ceramics, and metalsmithing. Classes will run you around $180 and last around 5 weeks depending on the session. I’m signed up for a first-time ceramics class this fall, and I’m so excited!
Botanical Arts at the Chicago Botanical Garden in Glencoe (Suburb)
I didn’t know this until recently, but the Chicago Botanical Garden offers art classes! They vary quite a bit in medium, from loom weaving to scarf dyeing to painting. If you don’t live near the Garden, you can take the Metra Union Pacific North Line to get there!
Chicago Printmakers Collaborative in Ravenswood
If screen printing is your calling, you can take classes at the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative. They teach multi-level screen printing, printmaking, relief printmaking, traditional stone lithography, traditional etching, and more. I think the traditional etching class looks so cool!
Woodworking at the Rebuilding Exchange in Lincoln Park
Okay, now this place is cool. The Rebuilding Exchange is a non-profit whose mission is to create a market for reclaimed building materials. You can take their workshops to make all sorts of cool home goods — a cutting board, a triangle shelf, a bench, you name it. Their classes start at $50, but you get to take home something you literally built yourself! How’s that for a conversation starter?
Beadniks in Wicker Park
I’ve been to Beadniks before with a group and made my own bracelet! The possibilities truly are endless with what you can make there, and their helpful staff will be there to offer tips along the way. You can take your beads home and string them yourself on your own time, or you can make whatever you want right there in the store! Beadniks also offers workshops where you can learn to make specific types of jewelry pieces – hammered bangles, malas, earrings, stitch bracelets, and more! When you’re done creating your fabulous jewelry, walk over to one of Division street’s many bars or restaurants to celebrate (and show off your new creations).
Chicago Mosaic School in Ravenswood
The Chicago Mosaic School is exactly what it sounds like. They serve up tons of different classes, all from beginner to expert. You can learn intro to mosaics, and you can recreate famous portraits using tile. I love mosaics because they look gorgeous no matter how experienced the artist is. I can’t wait to take a class here!
Glazed Expressions in Lincoln Park
There’s nothing like some good old pottery painting. I frequented places like this in high school and college like crazy (As You Wish in Arizona was my second home). At Glazed Expressions, you pay $8 for a painting fee, then whatever it costs for the pottery you choose! There’s a wide range of pieces for you to paint, so let your imagination run wild.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below, or contact me!
P.S. Chicago’s best ice cream, my favorite stir-fry in the Loop, and my Chicago fall bucket list
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