Keep Your Brain Engaged With These Hudson Valley Online Classes

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Want to learn something new while social distancing at home? You only need a computer and Internet access to connect with the community and brush up on art, healing, writing, and more.

How’s your quarantine going so far, Hudson Valley? If you’re anything like the rest of the world, it might resemble something like this:

Day One: “This is great! I can work from home! In my pajamas!”

Day Five: “I miss my office. I miss my friends. I miss everything.”

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Sound familiar? If self-isolating has you feeling restless AF, never fear. Across the Hudson Valley, local educators are going above and beyond to keep the community engaged through virtual classes, discussions, and workshops. From printmaking and reiki sessions to an eight-week writing workshop, here are a few ways to keep your mind sharp and learn something new while you hunker down on the couch.

The Art Effect Online Workshops

May 11-14 on Facebook Live

The Art Effect continues to encourage young, creative minds to participate in artistic expression. Join live workshops hosted by program staff to explore the arts on a virtual platform. Join a puppet or paint party and put your creative skills to the test.

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Barrett Art Center: Digital Cultural Quilt Project

May 16-21 

The Barrett Art Center partners with the Reher Center in Kingston to bring communities closer during these difficult times. The Cultural Digital Quilt project celebrates diversity of the Hudson Valley and asks members to showcase their heritage. Participants can take photos of the finished collage and share them using the hashtag #CulturalQuiltHV.

College Planning 101

May 12, 12-1 p.m.

Handling college finances is not an easy task. Current and future college students can register and join a webinar that provides guidance on how to navigate the financial process of paying for college. The webinar simplifies the application process of completing financial forms and signing up for scholarships. It’s perfect for students and families and also covers the impact of COVID-19 on the college admissions process. Join MHVFCU Financial Education Specialist, Sarah Short, and Stephanie Mauro from College Planning 101 for an informative financial planning session.

Distance Reiki Sessions

Dedicate time to healing the mind, body, and soul with 15-minute distance reiki sessions for $15 over the phone. Talk with a reiki master to receive stress-relieving healing power with lasting benefits. Group sessions are available free of charge. Book a session via email ( to reserve your spot. 

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Family Friendly Art with IncrediCon

Learn how to make free cartoon art with award-winning cartoonist and educator, Michael Grassia. Grassia steams live YouTube videos. He also provides pre-recorded drawings and craft videos for young children. Grassia is dedicated to making art for the young and the young at heart, even indoors. See you online!

Free Online Dance Parties and Lessons at DiVa Dance Studio

DiVa Dance Studio takes dance classes to the next level by featuring live classes on social media. Put on your dancing shoes and step to the beat of ballroom, Latin, and belly dancing music. The best part about it is that classes are free for a limited time.

Hudson Valley Writers Center

Hudson Valley Writers Center delivers a full lineup of courses during quarantine. Topics range by genre, so aspiring poets, fiction, and nonfiction writers can find just the class for them. Keep an eye out for stage, screen, and television meetings, which are ideal for anyone interested in the Hudson Valley’s film scene.

Live Inspired Virtual Classes

Poughkeepsie’s Live Inspired hosts free virtual fitness classes to keep locals active and healthy during this period of isolation. Get in the loop about virtual class listings by signing up for the email list. Live Inspired emails links to scheduled virtual classes daily.

Online Puppet Making Lessons

Put on a video that your kids will love. Brad Shur of Poughkeepsie’s Paper Heart Puppets shares puppet making videos to entertain the little ones during this time indoors. Using easy-to-find materials, Shur’s first video is a do-it-yourself cardboard dinosaur.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project

The Poughkeepsie Farm Project presents online video story times, virtual workshops, printable resources, and garden do-it-yourself projects. Learn how to plant carrot seeds or seed balls to distribute pollinator seeds. For creative kitchen videos, learn how to make quick snacks with farm fresh produce with PFP educators, Spanish translations included.

Rainbow Body Online Yoga Classes

Relieve tension and stress through online yin yoga with instructor Tiffany Simoncini. Yin yoga is a deep style of yogic stretching that works on the connective tissue, joints, and muscles. As intense as this may sound, all yoga poses are done from the ground to make them approachable and effective. Classes are appropriate for all levels and start at $10.

Rockland Center for the Arts: Eco-Friendly Printmaking

May 16, 1 p.m.

To keep kids creative and productive, artist and teacher Catherine Graham is here to save the day. Join a free virtual program for kids ages 7-12 to learn how to make at-home ink to transfer lead impressions onto paper. A list of recommended materials will be sent to participants upon registering.

SUNY Sullivan’s Community Learning Class

May 26, 2-3 p.m.

Found naturalist of The Outside Institute, Laura Chavez Silverman, presents an online class in collaboration with SUNY Sullivan. Join a non-credit personal enrichment class and learn something new. SUNY Sullivan offers a free class about the natural world called “Introduction to Foraging: Why, How & Where to Discover Wild Edibles.” This online class teaches inquisitive minds how to forage wisely and properly identify wild edibles. Keep an eye out for a Q&A session after the presentation.

Virtual Zoom Theater Discussions 

May 8 at 12 p.m.

Interested in acting and branding? How about singing and dancing? Casted hosts online audition experiences in partnership with trained Broadway and NYC professionals. These workshops are open to aspiring performers from grade eight up until college. The goal of these workshops is to get students comfortable with the audition process. Students are placed in small groups to get familiarized with artists in four categories and then are moved to a specific audition category. Register for free online today.

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