Get Your Smart On
Green Country offers many opportunities where you can hear a lecture, take a class, or otherwise study and exercise your mind.
For optimal health, you need to do more than exercise your body. It’s also important to exercise your brain. Research shows that there are many benefits to learning something new on a regular basis. Positive psychology experts say that enjoying new experiences and mastering new skills can add to your happiness and build your self-confidence.
Learning also feeds creativity, as you know if you’ve ever gone for a walk in a new part of town and then come home with fresh ideas for reorganizing your office, updating your yard, or writing that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing. Mastering a new skill can help you land a new job or a promotion, boosting your income and potentially leading to future career opportunities.
Educating yourself in a group setting is a good way to make new friends as an adult, when meeting new people takes more effort than just showing up to school, the way you did when you were younger. And if you’re looking to date someone, joining them to learn a new skill together reveals how they handle challenges and can bond you more closely.
With all that in mind, learning something new is clearly appealing for people of any age. And Green Country offers many opportunities where you can hear a lecture, take a class, or otherwise study and exercise your mind. Here are some of our top suggestions for doing just that.
TU Presidential Lecture Series
Every year, the University of Tulsa offers its Presidential Lecture Series — talks delivered by illustrious speakers on any topic you can imagine. Past guests have included well-respected authors such as Dennis Lehane, Michael Ondaatje and Jonathan Franzen; celebrity journalists Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward and Cokie Roberts; and many others. The lectures are free, open to the public and hosted on the TU campus. And TU hosts many other educational events for the public too, all of which are listed on their online calendar.
If you’re a fan of writing or reading, Booksmart Tulsa either is on your radar already or it should be. It’s a project of the Tulsa Literary Coalition, which aims to reach across social divides and connect people through literature, as well as promote a love of reading and education in the Tulsa community. Speakers range from The New York Times best-selling authors like Stephen King to local historians like Michael Wallis, and all the wide range in between.
Tulsa Town Hall
Since 1935, Tulsa Town Hall has been hosting provocative lectures by authors, icons and experts in many fields, with the goal of enlivening area residents with new ideas. This season’s guest list includes astronaut and U.S. Naval Captain Mark Kelly; forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, the first doctor to diagnose chronic brain damage in NFL athletes (the film Concussion with Will Smith was about him); and Piper Kerman, who you probably know for her bestselling memoir turned TV series, Orange Is the New Black.
Tulsa PA C Brown Bag It
Once a month, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center offers a free noontime concert in their Westby Pavilion. Attendees can bring a lunch and eat while listening to great musical performances. The performers often share information such as the history of the pieces they are playing, so the audience can learn about classical and other styles of music over their lunch hour. Brown Bag It happens on the first Wednesday of each month, and the concerts last 40 minutes.
Downtown Tulsa Tours
Tulsa’s architectural history is decidedly rich. Many of Tulsa’s art deco buildings, erected during the early 20th century’s boomtown oil days, make the list of best art deco examples in the world. You can do your own walking tour, of course. But you can also sign up for a tour led by expert docents from the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture on second Saturdays and the Tulsa Historical Society on the last Friday of each month. Both tours require reservations.
Tulsa Garden Center
For those who love gardening and are wishing to develop their green thumb, the Tulsa Garden Center is an ideal teacher. Throughout the year, the Garden Center offers a variety of educational opportunities for children and adults, including lectures on gardening topics such as avoiding pests and improving bee populations, a gardening-focused book club, story time in the Linnaeus Garden, and more.
Oxley Nature Center
When you want to encourage your children to love and respect nature, Oxley Nature Center is the place to go. Oxley offers frequent classes during the day designed to introduce children to such wonders as how trees are dormant in winter and awake in spring, why spiders spin webs, and searching for signs of spring. Adults and children alike can enjoy bird watching as well as join in counting butterflies on behalf of the North American Butterfly Association.
WaterWorks Art Center
Operating under the goal of bringing art to everyone, WaterWorks is an excellent place to learn arts in a hands-on environment. Classes are available for students of any age and any skill level. And the choices of art forms and media are endless — weaving, knitting, ceramics, jewelry making, dyes, tiles, painting, drawing, glass art, you name it. WaterWorks also offers spring break classes for children, and open studio time to students and practicing artists. Costs vary depending on the class.
AHHA Hardesty Arts Center
The Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa (AHHA) sponsors many art classes for area residents at the Hardesty Arts Center. Many of these classes focus on digital media, making the Hardesty Arts Center a great place to study various types of photography, as well as graphic design programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator. There are painting classes too, and even a comic book drawing class for ages 8 and up.
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