Spring Course Offerings 2020

Here is an archival listing of our cancelled Spring 2020 course offerings.

Spring Semester is cancelled due to COVID-19.

Welcome to the 2020 Spring Session of Belfast Senior College beginning Thursday, March 26. Classes run for six consecutive Thursdays, ending April 30. All classes are offered at the Hutchinson Center, Rte. 3, in Belfast. Please register early for classes to avoid disappointment and be sure to order your text(s) and/or materials at least TWO weeks in advance. Annual registration fee is $25.00, valid Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, and is required for all courses, except summer, which is free. Six-week courses are $35.00, while one-day or two-day classes are $20.00. (Four-week courses are $30.00).

Registration begins February 27

You may register: 1) online; 2) by submitting a printed form by mail; or 3) in person at the Senior College Office. All messages will be forwarded to the registrar. Please note that YOU are now responsible for purchasing the text(s) and/or materials, if required for your courses.

Classes with a size limit will be filled on a first come first served basis. If a class reaches its limit, please contact us and ask to be placed on a waiting list in case a spot becomes available.

Please note: If in doubt about classes being held due to inclement weather, please call the Hutchinson Center main desk at 338-8099. There will be recorded message beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Take a look at all the classes, and after you’ve decided on the ones you are interested in, fill out our quick and easy registration form. No login necessary.

Morning Classes

Understanding Your Dreams

Instructor: Cheryl Fuller

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 20
  • Required text

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” –Carl Jung

Our dreams provide us with images, symbols, and messages from our unconscious selves. Unfolding the meaning of a dream into conscious understanding provides a rich source of inner guidance, self-understanding, and healing.

This course is designed for those who wish to learn about the richness in their nightly dreams. We will explore the gifts of the unconscious through reading and discussion. Participants may, if they wish, share dreams of their own; they will be asked to keep a dream journal. Class limit 20

Required Text(s): “Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth,” Robt. Johnson. Available in paperback from Amazon, $10.99

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Are Abraham Lincoln’s writings, addresses, and speeches more than Gettysburg Address’s ten sentences and 272 words? Or not??

Instructor: William Fergusson

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 30
  • No class on April 16

Scholars continue to dispute this question. Our course will focus on Lincoln’s evolution as a political theorist and moralist as illustrated in his “Lyceum Address” (1838), “House Divided Speech” (1858), “Farewell to Springfield Neighbors” (1861), “First Inaugural” (1861), “Meditation on the Divine Will”(1862), “Gettysburg Address” (1863), and the “Second Inaugural Address” (1865).

The speeches and writings will be distributed by email or copy as applicable. This class will include some slide presentation on historical memory and context. A syllabus will include discussion questions on each primary source. YouTube and other video sources will supplement readings and discussions. Class limit 30. No class on April 16.

Required text(s): None (see preceding paragraph)

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Drawing with Clarity and Confidence

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 12
  • Materials required

Through exercises assigned in class, homework, and weekly discussions of our art, we will continue to explore our inner selves as we gain confidence and clarity in honing our drawing skills. Students working in their own areas of interest, with guidance from the instructor, will be expected to create several finished drawings by the end of this class. Students should bring their own drawing materials to class (sketchbook, pencils, eraser, ruler, and charcoal).

N.B. This course is designed for students who have taken a basic drawing class at Senior College or elsewhere and who have already developed a basic drawing proficiency on their own. It is NOT an introductory drawing course for folks who have never tried their hand at drawing. Class limit 12

Required Materials: $5.00 special materials fee will be collected at the first class.

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Exploring Music: Listening & Discussion

Instructor: Brian Richardson

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 12

Participants will listen to and discuss recorded music from nearly all periods and genres. Music selection,s are available from a large collection of records and CDs, represent various periods such as Gregorian Chant, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, and Contemporary. Genres include chamber music, overtures, symphonies, solo and small ensemble works, opera, and much more. The class will be informal and participatory with members helping to make selections both for listening and discussion. Class limit 12

Required Text(s): None

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Learning to Use GIS and GPS Software to Make Maps

Instructor: Fred Bowers

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 20
  • Materials required

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a system of satellites that maintain a fixed orbit position above the earth. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications are common, and Google Earth and other directional systems in cars have become part of our daily lives. Many Web maps are available on servers that allow understanding of soils, geology, tax maps, census data, etc. Creating these maps is challenging, but not too difficult. In the past, one needed to purchase expensive software like ArcGIS to create maps. Now, there is Opensource Software (free) and tracking and path apps for smartphones that enable us to take control over what and how we view GIS information. The instructor will interactively teach students how to use these tools. The students will use their laptop computers to access the Internet and install some or all of the software. There are many free data sources in Maine. Class limit 20

Required Materials: A modern operating system like MacOSx, Windows, or Linux. If you only have a smartphone, either Android or iPhone, you can take part in the class, but you will need to pair up with someone who has a laptop. By pairing, you will be able to learn the concepts and develop paths and maps that can be sent to friends or associates.

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Intro to Permaculture: Design for Life

Instructor: Cynthia Blackshear

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Cancelled

Permaculture is a design methodology rooted in horticulture and agriculture, utilizing both indigenous wisdom and contemporary knowledge. It can be applied to anything, from a home garden or farm, to a manufacturing process, to a city block or entire town. Indeed, many Permaculture practitioners say it informs almost all aspects of their lives.

In this class students will learn about the origin and history of Permaculture, explore the ethics and principles, and be introduced to the analysis and design processes. You will have homework! But I promise it will be fun! (And it’s not required!)

Required Text(s): None, but an extensive suggested reading list will be provided.

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The Role of Religion in History

Instructor: Ron Jarvella

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 30

We will look at both early and current humans who revere their departed and the significance of that reverence on the development of belief systems. We also will review the evolution into monotheism of those who originally believed in multiple gods. In summary, we will examine current examples of the role of religion in world events. We will focus on Western religions and their impact on our world today. With no attempt at criticism, we will look “objectively” at religions, the goal being to have an open exchange of views. Class limit 30

Required Text(s): None

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Playwriting: Take the First Step

Instructor: Marjorie Arnett

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 12
  • Materials Required

This workshop will take you step-by-step into the intoxication and fun of writing in play format. Improvisational writing games to inspire creativity will be used to get participants in touch with a more playful part of themselves and to help silence the critical voices in their heads. Become part of a fun, welcoming community formed through building confidence and trust in your voice and your unique personal style. Short created pieces could be the seeds of longer projects you have never dreamed of writing. Some pieces will be based on memories, some on real experiences, and some will engage the imagination.

Class participants will be encouraged to bounce ideas off one another, commiserate about challenges, and be inspired by sharing reading and writing throughout the workshop. There will be an understanding that class participants are new to the playwriting process, and no theater experience or drama experience is required. Class limit 12

Required Materials: Pencil, paper, computer and/or notebook

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Great American Historians: WW II and Beyond

Instructor: Bob Rackmales

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

This course will examine the life and work of six eminent American historians whose writings have profoundly influenced our understanding of United States history and continue to be shed light on our current predicaments. Each class will be devoted to a single historian and will provide an account of their life and an assessment of their contemporary relevance. The six historians we will cover, followed by the title of one of the books for which they are best known are: 1) Richard Hofstadter, ”The Paranoid Style in American Politics;” 2) Eric Foner, “ The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery;” 3) C. Vann Woodward, “The Strange Career of Jim Crow;” 4) John Hope Franklin, “Racial Equality in America;” 5) Drew Gilpin Faust, ”This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War,” and 6) Jill Lepore, “The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity”

Bob must miss the April 2 course and his make-up date is scheduled for April 21.

Required text(s): None. A syllabus and readings will be posted on the Senior College website.

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Afternoon Classes

Watercolor Workshop: Pick Your Poison

Instructor: Nancy Blatz

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 14
  • Required materials

This is a great six-week course for all levels, especially beginners. Paint any subject or style you want. The emphasis will be on refining techniques, brush work, design and composition. Students should bring their own supplies. Per usual, the best paper and paint yields the best results. If you are a beginner and need supplies, let me know. Course limit 14.

Required Materials: There is a charge to new students for art materials purchased by the instructor.

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Planning to Age Well

Instructor: Karen Gleeson

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 25

None of us wants to get older, but with good planning, and utilizing the resources from our community, aging doesn’t have to be stressful. This course will be a hands-on discussion course with visiting local experts who will be available to answer questions about the law, will-writing and advance directives, finding alternative housing, funeral planning, and local resources for aging well. Participants are asked to “bring a problem/bring a solution” to share. Class limit 25

Required Text(s): None

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Intermediate Conversational French: Part II  (“Continuons!”)

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 15

French Frogs a-Leaping! This semester we will “leap” into the Imperfect, Plus-Perfect, and (real) Future tenses (and we will get to that tense when we will have enough time!).  Before you know it, you will be able to jump from one tense to another without “croaking.”  You are strongly encouraged to speak only French, and there will be plenty of time for Qs and As and review.  You will need to have completed, at least, two years of high school French, or one year of university French, and, obviously, if you have lived in a French-speaking country and spoken the language, that will count, as well.  Please come join the fun for a “riveting” French experience! Class limit 15

Required Text(s): None. All handouts will be provided.

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The Russian Meddling: Forensic Counter-Intelligence

Instructor: Richard Topping

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election set off a political firestorm that has yet to subside. Although additional information will almost certainly come to light in the future, this is a good time to review what we now know about that interference. Our six sessions will examine precisely what Vladimir Putin and his cohorts did; when and why they did it; what they have actually accomplished to date; and with how much help from which quarters, if any, here in the United States. We also will look at what we as private citizens can do to help ensure that any sort of repeat performance by the Russians – or anyone else – does not lead us down this troubled path again.

Required Text(s): None. The instructor will provide links to the Mueller Report and other pertinent topics as they become available.

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The Mayflower 400 Years Later

Instructor: Arlin Larson

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm

In 1620 a small band of English refugees, fleeing religious persecution, landed at Cape Cod. Hounded from England, they had first settled in Leyden, Holland, more tolerant than England, but still not hospitable to a radically individualistic and local spirituality. At Plymouth, these Puritans were free to begin a new way of life unhindered by the British Crown, nor did they meet opposition from indigenous people, the Wampanoag, already decimated by recently introduced European diseases. Augmented by a much larger emigration in 1630 to nearby Boston, the Pilgrims pioneered a highly democratic and communitarian society, one that was to contrast starkly with the aristocratic and libertarian society created in the slavery-based American South. In this course we will first examine the social and religious controversies that caused the Pilgrims to flee from Europe. Next, we will consider both the colonists’ voyage and the question of why the indigenous people had been so weakened by disease. Finally, we will trace the Puritan society’s development and explore its contribution to American life in what Colin Woodard calls “Yankeedom.”

Required Text(s): None

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Telling Your Family Stories

Instructor: Jane McLean

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 15

We all have family stories that deserve to be told. But where do we start? To whom do we tell them? And how do we get our stories out there? Creating a family story can be as simple as writing a few notes on an index card for the next family reunion, or as high-tech as setting up a family website for collections of photos, genealogical records, and articles. In each class, we will explore platforms for passing on our stories to family members or the community via oral histories, print publications, memory books, and online blogs or websites. Students will have opportunities for guided reading, research, and writing. Students may submit three projects for personalized feedback from the instructor. Class limit 15

Required Text(s): None, but “Telling Your Family Stories” by Jane McLean is highly recommended and is available from the author/instructor for $12.00, payable at the beginning of class.

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Exploring Modern Art

Instructor: Anne Spencer

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Required text

The period of art history frequently referred to as Modern Art began in the late 1700s, when artists in Europe began to break from Classical idealism in painting. Changes in style in the l800s resulted in Realism and Impressionism as artists left their studios to paint outside where they explored the nuances of light and color; they are now known as the “paysagistes.”

As the 1900s began, style changes resulted from the increased relationship between the artist and the meaning of the subject, as influenced by changes in society and living conditions, and by using new materials and techniques resulting in Expressionism, Surrealism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, and beyond. Participants will review and discuss slides of several hundred paintings of known and respected artists from approximately the 1850s to 1950s, and, hopefully, share their insights related to other historical milestones of the period.

Required Text(s): None, but recommended “The Art Spirit,” Robt. Henri, 1923; paperback printed in 1984, Lippencott, PA, approx. $8.99 available anywhere; just keep looking!)

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Tennessee Williams and His Plays, 1937-1955

Instructor: Kristin Frangoulis

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Required text

During class we will take parts and read aloud some of the plays’ most significant scenes and discuss their intricacies and themes. Such themes as the innate isolation, loneliness, and longing of the human condition appear again and again in his plays. In seeking to find connections, Williams’ characters often find themselves in dysfunction with the people and the world around them. Although these plays are set in the atmosphere and social and political mores of the mid-century, American South, they are certainly universal and applicable in today’s chaotic world. Because of Williams’ extraordinary poetic language and human insights, many critics have crowned him the American Shakespeare.

This will be a participatory class, which will include literary analysis, lively discussions, and oral interpretation. We will read 5-6 of his earlier and most famous plays including: “The Glass Menagerie;” A Streetcar Named Desire;” “The Rose Tattoo“ and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

Required Text(s): “Williams’ Plays: 1937-1955,” Mel Gussow and Kenneth Holdic. ed., available at Amazon Books, approx.$8.00, or anything else you can find lying around.

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One-Day Classes

Let’s Learn to Draw

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 12
  • Materials required

Drawing is the oldest form of written communication and is easily a favorite leisure activity. In this class you will explore your creative side as you learn how to recognize and create a good composition using such techniques as shading, perspective, line and contrast. We’ll also experiment with a variety of drawing materials so you can see which you like the best (or the least). Drawing still lifes and landscapes are only a small part of this class. All supplies will be provided. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm to learn something new. Learning to draw can evolve into a lifelong skill that you will enjoy for years to come. Class limit 12

Required Materials: $8.00 materials fee payable to the instructor at the beginning of class.

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Rare and Unusual Plants for Our Area

Instructor: Carol Yee

  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm

By using slide shows and open discussions on pruning methods, proper placement, mulches, and other cultural considerations, Carol will enlighten us about unusual plants in our area as well as on last year’s disastrous “non-spring.” Both neophytes and experienced gardeners will benefit from her knowledge of and experiences in gardening here in our Maine climate.

Required Materials: None

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Eliot Porter: His Life and Work

Instructor: Stephen Porter

  • Tuesday, April 7, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm

This course will cover the life of the famous nature photographer, Eliot Porter–his early life, education, exhibitions, publications, travel, and personal recollections–through the eyes of his son, Stephen Porter, who spent countless hours working with and observing his father’s developing research.

Required Materials: None

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Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Instructor: Nick Turner

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Materials required

We will read, discuss, and enjoy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this Spring!

Required Materials: Please bring a copy of the play. Read it thoroughly beforehand, if you would like. There are many free printable and downloadable copies online such as this link at Project Gutenberg.

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Mixin’ It Up with Grandma Moses

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Wednesday, April 29, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 15
  • Materials required

Back by popular demand, this hands-on art history course is all about Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses) and the life of this most wonderful artist. This will not be a lecture class but rather a hands class focusing on her primitive art style. We’ll be drawing, using some simple watercolors, and combining other mixed media to create our own folk art with Grandma Moses as our muse. The New York Times said of her work: “The simple realism, nostalgic simple farm life and rural countryside won her a wide following. Grandma Moses charmed everyone she met”. A $5.00 materials fee payable to the instructor will guarantee that you will have all the supplies you will need for this class. Of course, you may bring your own supplies as well. You are encouraged to bring reference photos of that “special place” that you’d like to recreate in the primitive folk art style. Class size is limited to 15.

Materials Fee: $5.00 payable to the instructor at the beginning of class

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