Spring 2023 Courses

Important Notes

Fall/Winter 2023 courses coming mid-August.

Course formats are both in-person and online via Zoom. Details shown on each course below.

COVID-19 Safety Requirements

WWU's current COVID-19 guidelines can be found at the following link: wwu.edu/coronavirus

If you would like a low-key practice session to become more familiar with Zoom, please email Michou for additional information.

May Courses

Live from China: Understanding the Nation's Ethnic Minorities - Online

Zoom, 9 - 11 a.m.

Wednesday May 3,
Wednesday May 10,
Wednesday May 17,
Wednesday May 24

$96 for members, $120 for non-members

Watch the Preview Video for Live from China: Understanding the Nation's Ethnic Minorities

This course introduces the ethnic minority nationalities of China. We learn about their integration into mainstream culture and their efforts to maintain their identities during the past 70 years. We also discuss the colonial and assimilative pressure applied by the Han majority.

To fully understand the origins of the Han versus minority relations, we explore China’s imperial past. We give special attention to four ethnic groups—the Tibetans, the Naxi, the Moso and the Uygur.

Issues such as tourism, education, separatism and government policies are discussed. Additionally, the promotion of local ethnic cultures through economic development and connections with the outside world are considered.

Dr. Liu Wei is joining us via Zoom from Hangzhou (about 100 miles west of Shanghai), providing a unique opportunity to explore this timely topic with an exciting lecturer live from China.

Instructor: Liu Wei

Liu Wei is a lecturer for the Universities of Long Island and Torino, Italy. He has hosted a literary program at China’s national television for seven years and has produced a 30-episode World War II documentary for China Central Television. He holds a B.A. in Chinese History from Hangzhou University and a PhD in British history from Nanjing University, China. He did postdoctoral research at Edinburgh University.

Registration Link

Register by April 26

Women in the Arts in America - Online

Zoom, 1 - 3 p.m.

Wednesday May 3,
Wednesday May 10,
Wednesday May 17,
Wednesday May 24

$96 for members, $120 for non-members

Watch the Preview Video for Women in the Arts in America

Throughout American history, female artists have faced barriers—lack of access to art education and financial resources, among others—to establishing themselves in the visual arts. Although overlooked, women have always brought great talent and creativity to sculpture and painting, and some have transformed our very notion of art. 

Over four weeks, we survey the most influential women in the history of American art. Starting with the first generation of artists born in the United States following the Revolution, we acquaint ourselves with myriad artists who reflect the development of American art from a female perspective. 

Artists of the 19th century include the Peale sisters, the sculptors of the White Marmorean Flock and the Impressionist Mary Cassatt. Moving into the 20th century, we learn about the Modernism of Georgia O'Keefe and the Abstract Expressionists.

We are pleased to welcome Katherine via Zoom from southern California.

Instructor: Katherine Zoraster

Katherine E. Zoraster is an art historian who holds a B.A. in Art History from UCLA and an M.A. in Art History with distinction from California State University-Northridge. She currently teaches for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at UCLA and Channel Islands, the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Arts and Cal Lutheran’s 50 and Better Program. She also lectures at Moorpark College, Pierce College and CSU-Northridge. Katherine serves as a commissioner for the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission.

Registration Link

Register by April 26

Discover the Elements of Charcoal Composition

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 1 - 3 p.m.

Tuesday May 2,
Tuesday May 9,
Tuesday May 16,
Tuesday May 23

$96 for members, $120 for non-members

Watch the Preview Video for Discover the Elements of Charcoal Composition

This four-week drawing course conveys techniques for creating compositions using charcoal. These techniques include:

  • Skills that allow us to master the art of seeing objects realistically
  • The possibilities charcoal offers for depicting realistic representations of objects
  • Capturing light and shadows so basic shapes appear three-dimensional
  • The composition and creation of an artistic still life

At each session, we explore the work of a different charcoal type, artist, style and subject. All skill levels are encouraged!

Please bring a sketchbook and a #2 pencil.

A $10 material fee, payable to instructor, includes: willow charcoal, compressed charcoal, white charcoal pencil, kneaded eraser, tracing paper, colored charcoal paper. (If needed, an 8x10 sketchbook is available for purchase in class for $5.)

Instructor: Trisha Dawn Coggins

Trisha Dawn Coggins is an art educator, designer, sculptress and photographer with a BFA from West Chester University, Art Teaching Certification from the Moore College of Art and Design and a master’s equivalency in fine arts from McDaniel College. She has designed, developed and instructed classes throughout Whatcom County.

Registration Link

Register by April 27

A Poetry Caper: From Literary to Lighthearted

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 10 a.m. - noon

Tuesday May 9,
Tuesday May 16,
Tuesday May 23

$72 for members, $90 for non-members

Watch the Preview Video for A Poetry Caper: From Literary to Lighthearted

Most of us first experienced poetry in primary or secondary school, and some of us may have felt intimidated or bored as we struggled to grasp the point of an inaccessible poem. This course offers a lively syllabus with appeal for both those who don’t like poetry—or think they don’t—and poetry aficionados.

We point out basic poetic techniques and terminology as we read poems spanning several centuries and continents. More than 40 notable poems are briefly “unpacked” as we savor each work’s significance in its historical or personal context. While highlighting the artistry of each poem’s form, from sonnet to blank verse, we also gossip a bit about the poets’ private lives, as well as relish the humor woven into works by the “greats,” from William Shakespeare to Billy Collins.

We present poems on screen as well as to the ear, and some via recordings by actors skilled at revealing the emotions, meaning and beauty of compressed language—which is the hallmark of this literary form.

Session 1: The instructor’s childhood favorites and English poets of the 17th century
Session 2: Familiar classic poems from William Wordsworth to D.H. Lawrence
Session 3: 20th century poetry, including WWI, Harlem Renaissance, the “Beats” and feminism

Instructor: Barbara Gobus

Barbara Gobus, M.A., English, has long advocated for the holistic study and enjoyment of literature, music and art. Born in England, she came to the U.S. by way of Australia. She taught at the Marlborough School for Girls in Los Angeles before retiring to Bellingham, where she has launched small groups to study literature, poetry and creative writing. She served as a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo and at Bellingham’s Lightcatcher Museum, and she has recorded poetry for the L.A. Braille Institute.

Registration Link

Register by May 2

Étude Evolution: Historic Overview of the Piano Étude

Unity Spiritual Center, 1 - 3 p.m.

Monday May 22

$24 for members, $30 for non-members

Watch the Preview Video for Étude Evolution: Historic Overview of the Piano Étude

The piano étude originated as a group of keyboard pieces with repetitive patterns for improving dexterity and technique. These pieces were meant to be played only during practice sessions. 

In this class, we learn how the piano étude genre evolved into a mainstream element of concert repertoire in the context of changing concert trends and rising expectations of performers during each musical era. As demands grew for greater technical proficiency by performers, and as composers gradually elevated this genre with more harmonic interests, motivic creativities and overall musical values, piano étude became an important genre in the history of keyboard music. 

Specifically, the session includes:

  • Introduction to the genre of “solo piano étude”
  • Discussion of background and composers who wrote piano étude, including Cramer, Clementi, Czerny, Moscheles, Heller, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff
  • A live performance by the instructor of selected piano études, to illustrate the unique aspects of this genre and further students’ understanding and appreciation of piano étude.

Instructor: Kay Zavislak

American pianist Kay Zavislak enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, teacher, adjudicator and clinician. As a performer, Dr. Zavislak has given solo recitals and chamber concerts regionally and nationally, in addition to public performances overseas. Before joining her family in Bellingham in 2013, Dr. Zavislak was an Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton School of Music. She is currently on the faculty at the WWU Department of Music. 

Registration Link

Register by May 16