AnnMarie McLaughlin | - January 14, 2010

“How do they do that?” If you’ve ever wondered how to compose a poem or use a potter’s wheel (without covering yourself in sludge), your next question may have been, “How can I learn to do that?” The answer is to take a class and in a curious town like Santa Fe; classes, workshops and seminars abound. Have a creative bent? Love literature? Wish you could make a molé as sublime as the one you tasted downtown? It’s all here. So, if you’re looking to draw your first portrait or wrap your head around Hamlet, keep reading. You may just find yourself looking forward to the first day of school.

Arts and Crafts

Española Valley Fiber Arts Center – 325 Paseo de Oñate (Española), (505)747-3577
Located in Northern New Mexico between Santa Fe and Taos, the Fiber Arts Center specializes in traditional textile work including beadwork and embroidery. Classes are taught for children and adults with a summer day camp for young artists, ages 6-13. In addition to classes, Monday evenings are informal gatherings for knitters and crocheters, a relaxed setting for community connection. Classes are ongoing and include some one-day workshops.

Heidi Loewen Porcelain - 315 Johnson Street, (505) 988-2225
Heidi’s childhood love for mud led her to the ceramic arts and to the creation of a studio and workshop space in Santa Fe. Available for group or private lessons, Heidi’s specialty is wheelwork and an affinity for fun. Her own pieces exude vibrancy and light and she brings her enthusiasm to her instruction. Her work has been shown across the country. Call directly to schedule a personal class.

Laura Orchard – Orchard Studio, 1895 Camino de Pabilo, 438-4330
If you’ve been meaning to crack open that sketch pad or you’re ready to focus on what makes us move (literally—we’re talking muscles and bones) consider this Santa Fe artist’s drawing or anatomy classes. A lifelong artist, sculptor and former mural painter, Laura brings extensive experience to the studio. Classes are small and designed for all levels. The anatomy classes are intended for those students ready to delve into a deeper understanding of how the human body works as a foundation for their art. Contact directly for class schedule.

Project Life Stories – contact via email at
Founded by performance artist Tanya Taylor Rubinstein, Project offers group monologue workshops, life videos and solo performance workshops. Drawing on life experiences and inner wisdom, Tanya’s philosophy sees the development and performance of each work as a transformational process, empowering for both performer and audience. Workshops are weekend intensives while solo performance classes require a longer commitment. Contact Tanya for upcoming projects or to arrange private classes.

Santa Fe Clay – 1615 Paseo de Peralta, (505)984-1706
This is clay central with an extensive series of classes in wheelwork, tile-making, free form pottery and you-name-it-they’ve-got-it. They offer classes for children and adults and operate a fully stocked supply shop. Recent class titles: “Contemporary Approaches to Traditional Japanese Decoration”, “Making Pots from Parts”, “Earthenware Surfaces”, “Figurative Sculpture”. Classes are ongoing and usually several weeks in duration. Preregistration is required.

Santa Fe Photographic Workshops – 50 Mt. Carmel Road, (505) 983-1400
This group is serious about photography and offers extensive classes in all both black and white and color photography as well as digital image-making. All levels are welcome and classes are small but intense, scheduled for a week at a time. Students usually travel to Santa Fe specifically to participate and spend their time immersed in visuals. Instructors come from across the broad fields of fine art and journalistic photography and are stand outs in their disciplines. Some special, one-day seminars are offered.

Santa Fe School of Weaving (Miriam’s Well) - 614 Paseo de Peralta, (505)982-6312
Housed in lovely Santa Fe adobe and operated by the energetic Miriam Leth-Espensen, this is the place for knitting, weaving and spinning. With her shop, Miriam’s Well, fully stocked, you’ve got a world of textiles at your fingertips and Miriam’s tutelage draws on a lifetime of experience. Classes ongoing; call for current schedule.

Valdes Art Workshops – 1006 Marquez Place, (505) 982-0017
This artists’ supply shop also offers classes in drawing and painting including pastels, watercolors and oils. Classes are appropriately designated as beginner, intermediate and advanced. Workshops are intensive, covering several full days.

Wordharvest – 304 Calle Oso (workshop venues vary), (505) 471-1565
Begun by two Santa Fe writers, this series is passionate about supporting budding wordsmiths. Classes are each one-day and held in the home of a local author (continually varies). Ranging from plot development to dialogue work and screenwriting, workshops include hands-on writing and feedback. Wordharvest also sponsors contests and the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference.


Santa Fe School of Cooking – 116 West San Francisco Street, (505)983-4511 / (800)982-4688
Ready to delve into the flavors of the Southwest and learn how to create the dishes you’ve been devouring around town? Santa Fe School of Cooking offers a comprehensive schedule that includes Native American, Spanish and Mexican influences. Besides teaching culinary skills, the emphasis here is on entertainment and fun; plan to taste! Classes are taught by local chefs with extensive knowledge of the history and ongoing evolution of Southwest cuisine. The School also operates a market carrying equipment, cookbooks and food items. Consider your own group class for a birthday or anniversary. Classes are ongoing and generally last about 3 hours.


Dance Station Social Dance Center – 901 West Alameda Street, Suite 20, (505) 989-9788
Admit it, you wish you could cut a rug like Fred Astaire. Maybe you want to tango like a native Argentinean. Dance Station has you covered with weekly classes in swing, ballroom, salsa, Latin, tango and country. You can sign up for a series or join a class on a drop-in basis. Going with a friend is fun but you don’t need a partner to join a class.

Moving People Dance – 2536 Camino Entrada, (505) 438-9180
This company’s classes in jazz, ballet, modern dance and tap are anything but traditional. For both children and adults, classes are designed for serious as well as recreational dancers. Opportunities also to audition for community performances with Moving People Too! Company. Contact them for their comprehensive schedule and upcoming events.

Pomegranate Studios – 535 Cerrillos Road (above Sage Bakehouse), (505) 986-6164
Founded by dancer Myra Krien, Pomegranate brings Middle Eastern dance to Santa Fe. Thinking belly dancing and flying veils? They’ve got it, but don’t stop there. Instruction includes tribal, Egyptian, Melange and funk styles. 10-week classes for all ages and experience levels. Student performances take place several times a year.


Tropic of Capricorn – 86 Old Las Vegas Highway, (505) 983-2700
Each month this home and gardening store offers a round of seasonally appropriate lectures. Taught by horticulturist Michael Clark, these take place on Saturdays at 11am and have a “green” focus. Topics cover the garden at large: from readying your soil to designing an appropriate landscape, working with indoor plants, and making the most of patio space. Additional speakers vary; contact for current offerings.

Humanities / Broader Horizons

Renesan Center for Lifelong Learning, 1200 Old Pecos Trail, 982-9274
“Renesan” is an acronym for “renew in Santa Fe” and the eclectic offerings here pay tribute to that philosophy. While the group is membership driven, most lectures are open to the public for a modest fee (and modest means less than $15). Lectures cover issues of interest in the modern world from faith and spirituality to community sustainability and the political process. Curriculum classes require advance registration and typically last for several weeks with 2-3 hour class each week. Where else can you study personal investing, Bach and Mesoamerican archaeology?

Santa Fe Community College – 6401 Richards Avenue, (505)428-1000
Continuing education at this south side institution is vibrant and largely driven by community interest. Let them know if you’ve got an idea for a class you’d like to see made available or if you yourself would like to teach. Every semester offers language classes, art workshops, history classes and cultural appreciation. Many are short, workshop-type settings while others are semester-long.

St. John’s College – 1160 Camino Cruz Blanca, (505)984-6000
Highly regarded for its degree programs, St. John’s also offers a number of ongoing seminars, lectures and performances for the wider community. Using the Great Books Program, wherein the classics of Western civilization are read and discussed, the College has no shortage of mind-expanding material. Recent lectures have included the works of Socrates, Dante and Jane Austen and move beyond literature with titles such as “Gene, Organism and Environment: Good Biology and Bad Metaphors”. Don’t worry, there’s a coffee shop on campus. Community events are popular and fill quickly; so, don’t be shy about getting your brain infusion.