Written for and originally published on the Downtown Project website. But part of what my ambiguous job entails.
White Gloves and Party Manners. Legal Essentials of Start-Ups. Zen and the Art of Money. Everything is Improv. What do these titles all have in common? They are all classes that have been held Downtown since October 2012 as a part of Downtown Classroom Series, Downtown Project’s community learning initiative. The initiative was created as part of the vision of Downtown Las Vegas as a place where visiting or living will make you smarter.
Why would people spend their free time taking classes? Because learning is fun (or at least it should be). Many people go through life without having learning as a part of their adulthood. Taking classes on top of other daily obligations and activities can feel like another chore, and who can justify doing that? But thinking back to days you were excited to learn something, when were you most excited? That feeling is what Downtown Classroom series hopes to recreate.
The idea for Downtown Classroom Series came about after engaging with Skillshare, an online colearning platform based in New York in which Downtown Project has since invested. It describes itself as “…a community marketplace for classes. Learn anything from anyone.” Building off of that idea, Downtown Classroom Series’ tagline could be summed up as “Classes for the community by the community.” The idea is to connect people with similar interests in the same space to learn together and from each other. With the amount of knowledge already present in Las Vegas and the amount of interest that the city is getting driving more and more visitors our way, there is a wealth of communal knowledge that is ready to be tapped.
So far, classes have been taught by residents of Downtown, residents of the greater Las Vegas Valley, nonprofits, and visitors from out of town. Attendees and teachers are both locals and visitors. Classes are offered weekly on Monday evenings at 6:00 pm in the Downtown Project Construction Zone which is located at 102 South 7th Street. Occasionally, classes are held on other weekdays, too. The format has varied, from presentations, to round table discussions, to workshops. Attendance has ranged from an intimate setting of three to a learning party of sixty. Topics, along the ones mentioned above, included: Do It Yourself Bow-making, Characterization: Making it Real, Forget Weight Loss; Think Health!, and numerous others.
The Classroom Series has started fairly small, but it has the potential to have a really powerful long term impact. Imagine a scenario where you have enough people (and enough interest/space) to have classes being held every evening. Topics could range from just for fun (knitting, improve comedy, cooking), to soft skills (networking, interviewing, relationship building), to technical skills (introduction to Microsoft office, programming, wordpress). The value that could add to the community is immense. That day is still far away, but closer than you may think.
To find out more about Downtown Classroom Series or stay informed about classes being offered, please visit downtownclassroomseries.com or on Facebook. To teach classes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All classes held at Downtown Project Construction Zone located at 102 South 7th Street.
Downtown Speaker Series Event (TBA)
Everything is Improv with Jude Stanion
Coming in June:
Anxiety Free Networking with Gina Bongiovi
Learn to Lindy Hop (two classes) Dean Curtis