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Art, acting and writing classes on Long Island

Artists work on their paintings of a model

Artists work on their paintings of a model for the long pose portrait workshop, run by artist Donna Moraff at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills. Photo Credit: Art League of L.I. / Annette Bernhardt

Whether it's something you want to try anew or pick up after a long absence, the new year may be the time to take on that craft you always yearned to do.

"We had one woman say that her daughter took art classes, and now it was her turn," says Annette Bernhardt, marketing coordinator the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills, a not-for-profit that provides a forum for serious artists, as well as offers classes in most art mediums. "Very often they want to reignite a former passion."

Perhaps someone who was a rather good thespian in high school or college might find a good fit in an acting class with a classically trained actor and director.

"I get a lot of people that always wanted to do it, and somehow it got put on the back burner," notes Rick Imberman, owner of American Art Theatre, an acting program in Huntington. "And that desire doesn't seem to go away."

Opportunities for artistic endeavors abound on Long Island. Here are just a few suggestions.

ART FORMS

WHERE 107 East Deer Park Rd., Dix Hills. Registration is ongoing.

INFO 631-462-5400, ext. 222, artleagueli.net

The Art League of Long Island offers a large selection of serious art classes at its nine art studios, from ceramics to oil painting to photography, often with recognized artists in their fields. Options range from $95 for a two-day watercolor class to $465 for an eight-session ceramic course.

The organization has just instituted "sample" classes in different techniques; about five hours of instruction over two days for about $200, for those who are unsure where to begin. "If you just want to put your toe in the water, try the sampler," says Bernhardt.

Still feel intimidated? The Art League has open studio times, where a live model (both clothed and nude) poses to be sketched. For about $20, you can show up and draw at your own pace (10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Mondays, 7-10 p.m. Wednesdays).

A free instructional demonstration on pastel art will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 for the public to see work done at the league. There'll be live music and snacks to fit the occasion, says Bernhardt.

PERFORM, PERCHANCE TO DREAM

WHEN | WHERE 7-10 p.m. weeknights at the Huntington Center For Performing Arts, 310 New York Ave., Huntington. Next sessions begin Jan. 26.

INFO 631-424-2477, americanarttheatre.com

COST $425 for eight-week course

Imberman has studied under actor-director Lee Strasberg, he notes, and brings that style of formidable instruction to the American Art Theatre classes.

"It's Method acting," says Imberman, of the technique used at The Actors Studio and employed by screen stars such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman.

The eight-week course works on relaxation techniques, memory work, improvisation and script interpretation. In the second part of the semester, actors pair up and go through scenes as if performing. The last class is the presentation of that scene to the other classmates.

"Each student brings something unique to the work," the director says. "You walk away with a skill set, from the audition until you get the part."

WRITING WELL

WHERE Hofstra University, Hempstead Turnpike, Hempstead

INFO 516-463-7200, ce.hofstra.edu

COST $230-$340

Have a great idea for a novel or screenplay but don't know where to start? For those with writing ambitions, Hofstra University offers specific courses, for people ranging from those who have never written anything past a high school term paper to one looking for help in the final phases of a book.

"The fiction courses are very popular," says Debbi Honorof, senior director of continuing education at the university. "We just keep expanding them."

Among the writer-instructors is Ellen Meister, author of a newly released novel published by Putnam Books, "Dorothy Parker Drank Here."

Among courses that might interest a budding writer are a blogging course (noon Saturdays, Feb 22-Mar. 15, $330), Fiction Writing Workshop (7 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 18-Mar. 25, $340) or film and television screenwriting (9 a.m. Saturdays, Mar. 7-28, $340).

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