Whether you’re looking to unleash an inner Picasso or see if you’re the next Annie Leibovitz, NSCAD University’s continuing studies department is offering classes this spring and summer that might just help you find out.


Sometimes, the classes lead students to end up studying at the university full-time, says instructor Lillian Yuen. “I always find that very exciting when they do that,” she says. Yuen will be teaching an Introduction to Jewelry Making course, starting May 6.


Portrait Drawing instructor Patrick Rapata says the summer courses attract people of all ages.


“There’s no specific demographic,” he says.


The university has offered non-credit studio courses for the adult general public since 1887.

Currently, courses are offered in areas such as fine arts, photography, and crafts.

“I want the students to learn how to draw what they see,” says Rapata of his portrait class.

In his class, students start by doing a self-portrait and move on to other exercises, such as sketching a portrait from a tiny photo and enlarging it. There is also work involving a live model. Students finish by doing another self-portrait to see how they’ve progressed.

At the end of Yuen’s jewelry course, students will have a newfound appreciation of handmade jewelry, she says. “They’ll appreciate how much work goes into it,” and they’ll also appreciate the qualities of the metal, she says. “They’ll understand why handmade jewelry is so expensive. It’s worth everything they pay for it.”

But more than just an appreciation for jewelry, students will learn fundamental techniques such as sawing, filing, soldering and polishing.

“The basic techniques that we use are the ones that were used hundreds of years ago,” says Yuen.

Some of the projects include ring and chain making. Students will also learn the necessary safety precautions.

Yuen’s course is taught at the NSCAD University property on Duke Street. The setting is inspiring. The bright space overlooks Historic Properties and features brick walls and well-worn hardwood floors.

“I think you really have to be inspired by your surroundings,” says Yuen. “If it’s cold, it’s not really going to add to your work.”

Students of the continuing studies department can also have their work displayed in a springtime exhibit at the Anna Leonowens Gallery called “Night Shift.”