So many things to do

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Carrie Mae Barba, pictured above in the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts’ production of “OLIVER!,” will instruct many of the summer classes being offered at the arts center this season. At top, from left, American Sign Language, painting and exercise will be among the classes featured.

Summer classes on tap at Suffolk Center

If you’re looking for a bit of excitement this summer, look no further than the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

The center is offering dozens of classes for all ages in all kinds of art, including painting, three-dimensional art, performing arts, literary arts and more, as well as exercise classes like Pilates and yoga and other classes like American Sign Language.

“We do offer classes all year round, but our summer classes are jam-packed with just about anything you can imagine for any age range,” said Bonnie Jo Brashares, marketing and development associate at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. “We have classes for ages 3 to 103.”

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In the past year, more than 200 students have taken classes at the arts center. The classes are taught by local instructors who are experts in their fields and have years of teaching experience in private lessons, secondary schools or college-level courses.

“SCCA instructors pride themselves on developing flexible, inventive and creative programming that caters to a wide variety of students with different experiences and skill levels,” Brashares said.

Many of the classes are one workshop, but others stretch over as many as eight weeks. Prices range from $20 to $150, depending on the length of the class and materials needed.

Art classes include landscape and animal painting and such three-dimensional arts as mosaics and Native American arts, which will be taught by members of the Nansemond Indian tribe.

For those who are drawn to the stage, several classes in the performing arts will be offered, including musical theater, improvisation, how to audition, ballet, tap, jazz, voice and more.

There’s even a class that combines poetry with painting, taught by renowned local poet Nathan Richardson and artist Charisse Minerva.

Workout classes include Pilates, a strength-building exercise that builds body awareness, correct posture and graceful movements; yoga, a stress-management exercise that emphasizes relaxation and breathing techniques, stretches and poses; and Zumba, a workout craze that blends Latin rhythms with fat-burning moves.

“A lot of people are turned off from long-term gym membership commitments, and that’s not a factor here,” Brashares said. “You don’t have to sign up for a 12-month gym membership if you want to take one yoga class.”

To see a full listing of the classes and sign up, visit