Flex your creative muscles and fine-tune your inner artist. We offer exciting dance, music, and theater arts classes with professional instructors who will inspire your creativity.

Our next program session begins in January 2019. Registration opens for YMCA members on December 15, 2018, and for community members on December 22, 2018.

Visual Arts

Drawing and Watercolor

Drawing and Watercolor

Introduction to the basic techniques of drawing and watercolor. Our subjects will be still lifes, art reproductions, and photos. Supplies will be provided for the first class. Enjoy developing your rendering skills in a supportive environment.

Instructor: Nan Carey
Saturdays 10:30 AM-1 PM


This class is for playing with watercolor techniques with an emphasis on finding and developing your own personal style. Frequent subject materials include still life set ups and photos, but students are also encouraged to bring in personal projects. Beginners and those with experience are all welcome.

Instructor: Bonnie Steinsnyder
Tuesdays 10 AM-12:30 PM or 1-3:30 PM

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Glass & Jewelry

Beaded Jewlery
This six weeks workshop is for beginners as well as those with some beading experience. Participants learn square stitch, brich stitch, right angle weave, and others. Supplies will be available for purchase in the first class. Multi-level class, no experience necessary.

Instructor: Carole Horn
Thursdays 1-3:30 PM

Stained Glass
Learn to create beautiful glass objects using this ancient craft. Students learn to create patterns, cut foil, and solder stained glass into a variety of useful and sculptural forms that include candle holders, night lights, mirrors, and light catchers.  Ample individual assistance enables each person to pursue his/her individual projects.

Instructor: Laurie Gregg
Wednesdays 1-4 PM

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Ceramics: Handbuilding

Texture and Clay
In this class, we concentrate on all construction techniques for making vessels, sculptures, wall pieces, and tiles. Glazing and painterly surface techniques are explored to enhance and embellish forms. Personal projects are encouraged; one-on-one help will be given in addition to class demonstrations. All levels welcome.

Instructor: Lisa Chicoyne
Tuesdays 11 AM-1:30 PM

Paper Clay
In this class, we concentrate on all construction techniques for making vessels and sculptures utilizing paper clay.  Personal projects are encouraged; one-on-one help will be given in addition to class demonstrations. All levels welcome.

Instructor: Lisa Chicoyne
Tuesdays 2:30-5 PM

Sources of Inspiration

In this intermediate-level handbuilding class, students pursue their own handbuilding projects with occasional class assignments and demonstrations. Instructor critiques, slides, readings, films, and field trips are also included. Must be skilled in working with clay.

Instructor: Kate Missett
Mondays 12:30-3:00 PM

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Ceramics: Wheel

Explorations With Clay
Beginning/Intermediate Wheel

Push your work forward by exploring functional forms in series. We will also work on altering forms and finish up with decorative and glaze techniques. Beginners are welcome.

Instructor: Nanette Ronner
Saturdays 10:30 AM-1 PM

Zen of Pottery

Investigate how the activity of making pottery can be a wonderful vehicle for quieting the mind. Working with clay can help us be more present and focused in the moment. In this class, we develop skills of working on the wheel while cultivating the practice of mindfulness.

Instructor: Julie Terestman
Mondays 7-9:30 PM

Mugs and More

In this class, students learn basic skills to create lidded jars, oval planters, vases, and other intermediate forms. Beginners develop proficiency on the wheel and learn about our studio glazes.

Instructor: Janet Belden
Wednesdays 6:30-9 PM


Beginners learn the basic skills of throwing on the potter’s wheel and glazing techniques. Intermediate students work on individual projects to further develop their skills and unique personal expression. Demos and critiques are given regularly.  

Instructor: Outi Putkonen
Mondays 11 AM-1:30 PM
Tuesdays 6:30-9 PM


This class focuses on developing sensitivity to the various internal relationships and subtleties of the vessel form. Weekly demos encourage expanding into new forms and personal expression on the wheel. Students also work on individual projects to further develop their skills.

Instructor: Dave Gibson
Wednesdays 10 AM-12:30 PM


This class explores advanced wheel techniques and the refinement of forms. Exploring combinations of studio glazes to create specialized effects. Previous throwing experience is necessary.

Instructor: Outi Putkonen
Tuesdays 10:30 AM-1 PM

The Next Step
Intermediate/Advanced Wheel

Now that you know how to throw, let’s get serious about decorating and glazing. This class features a variety of decorative techniques including latex resist, layering of glazes, and terra sigillata. Throwing demos included.

Instructor: Nanette Ronner
Thursdays 6-9:30 PM

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Open Studio Time

Open Studio Time is available for class participants whenever there are no classes scheduled. Participants are asked to vacate the studios half an hour before classes begin. For information or questions, call ArtWorks at 212-912-2638.

FAQ - Materials, Firing, Lockers

You will be expected to buy beads and needles during the first meeting of the beading class from a selection provided by the teacher.

For ceramics classes, there is a firing fee charge of 4 cents per cubic inch that includes both the bisque and the glaze firing. This includes the cost of clay & glazes and is only charged when a piece is successfully completed and ready to go into a kiln.

Painting and Glass
For classes such as watercolor, Chinese brush painting, & stained glass, the teachers may suggest that you purchase additional supplies as the class develops. All the class requirements are different so please call or email the office below in order to inquire about specific class costs.

Artworks Lockers
We have lockers available for storage of your tools, available <em>only</em> while registered in an Artworks class. Lockers cost $12 per session to rent. 

Theater Arts

Reader's Theater

Adults 55+
A great class for theater enthusiasts to learn, explore, and experience dynamic new plays. Each week, the class reads a contemporary play cold from start to finish, developing character spontaneously. With the instructor's creative guidance, students learn to accumulate circumstances and make creative choices about character. At the conclusion of the cold reading, the class has a thoughtful discussion of the play, its cultural context, impact, and themes. No prior theater experience required. Maximum enrollment is 12 students.

Instructor: Cynthia Mace
Tuesdays 1-4 PM

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YMCA Singers Forum

Enjoy singing in the shower? Looking for a place to practice new material for professional singing? For the novice or seasoned performer, Singers Forum is a friendly and supportive environment for anyone who loves to sing. Classes include group songs and warm-ups as well as individual vocal coaching. Instructor, John Prestianni, has been a vocal coach and an accompanist in NYC for 2 decades. Developing confidence is the most essential part of a singers' success. Singers Forum is a low pressure and fun way to find this confidence and a unique opportunity to be a part of a new YMCA Community of Singers.

Instructor: John T. Prestianni
Wednesdays 5:30-7:30 PM

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The Writer's Voice

About The Writer's Voice

Founded in 1981, the West Side YMCA Writer’s Voice is one of New York City’s longest-running and well respected creative writing programs. Each class offers writers a great opportunity to generate new or hone existing material with the support of our faculty and writing peers.


Life Stories
For people who have lived and worked and want to write about their childhood as well as their more recent past. Whether you are a published writer or last wrote in a childhood diary, you are welcome in this class. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” Finding the right word is the goal of this workshop. Suggested weekly assignments will be given to help trigger memories. Along with weekly writing in class, everyone can bring in 2 pages to be critiqued each week by classmates and teacher. The teacher will also take home weekly work, which will be read and returned the following week.

Instructor: Patty Dann
Tuesdays or Thursdays 10AM-12PM

Memoir Splash
Take the plunge into the refreshing waters of memoir writing. Dip your toes, paddle in the shallows, observe the ripples on the surface, and dive into the depths. As we share and discuss short pieces, we'll explore elements of craft, tackle obstacles to creativity, and inspire one another. Whether a novice or experienced writer, you’ll enjoy the company of fellow swimmers, and emerge renewed.

Instructor: Mindy Lewis
Tuesdays 6:45-8:45 PM

Shaping the Stories in Our Lives
Every life has stories worth writing. This class provides tools to overcome fear of the blank page and writing prompts to jump-start the creative process. Inspired by collaborative discussion and examples of great writing, participants will hone in on their stories and explore elements of craft. No pre-registration requirement: Open to writers of all levels.

Instructor: Mindy Lewis
Tuesdays 1:30-3:30 PM

Jump Into Memoir
Whether you’re a new, continuing, or returning writer, take the plunge into memoir writing! This workshop will provide a supportive and stimulating springboard for shaping the raw material of your life into short pieces worth sharing. Together we'll explore elements of craft, experiment with form, tackle obstacles to creativity, and inspire one another.

Instructor: Mindy Lewis
Tuesdays 6:45-8:45 PM

The Art of the Personal Narrative
This open-level class is for anyone interested in writing personal narrative in any form: memoir, creative nonfiction, or personal essay. Through insightful critique and focused discussion, we hone the tools of strong writing: distinctive voice, precise language, resonant imagery, vivid sensory description, dramatic scene and dialogue, and inventive form. No pre-registration requirement: Open to All Levels, Maxium enrollment is 9 students.

Instructor: Mindy Lewis
Tuesdays 6:45-8:45 PM

Advanced Memoir and Creative Nonfiction
Pre-registration requirement: Instructor approval.
Already working on a memoir, creative nonfiction, and/or a personal essay? This class will help take your writing to the next step by addressing issues of voice, style, structure, pacing, dramatic arc, and thematic focus. Each student will submit new or revised writing for critique, with the option of also working on query letters, book proposals, and chapter outlines.

Instructor: Mindy Lewis
Wednesdays 6:45-8:45 PM

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Playwriting, and Screenwriting and Writing for TV

This workshop covers fundamentals of the craft of Dramatic Writing including; writing dramatic scenes, story structure, character, dialogue and revision. The instructor creates a supportive and participatory workshop environment. Students bring in new pages of their script-in progress on a weekly or biweekly basis and hears their material read out loud. In class writing exercised tailored to individual needs help students who do not yet have a script in progress. All levels are welcome.

Instructor: Charlie Schulman
Mondays or Tuesdays 6:45-8:45 PM



How to Think and Write Funny
Humor is a skill that can come in mighty handyespecially since we’re all gonna die. Whether you’re trying to punch up your online dating profile, become an amusing public speaker, write that memoir, craft essays, find success as a stand-up comedian so you can have an excuse to drink all the time (or sleep around), or publish the next (and first ever) Pulitzer Prize winning comic novel, this class is most definitely for you. Class will cover the different types of humor such as irony, sarcasm, satire, and parody. Discussions about joke-writing, wordplay, incongruity, exaggeration and reversal will be illustrated with video clips of stand-up comics performing. Exercises and games will be used to enhance natural comic abilities. Fun assignments will help students learn techniques to add humor to their writing. Students will share their work in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. Free extra bonus included if you sign up nowor at the last minute: it promises to be a lot of fun. 

Instructor: Stephanie Lehmann
Thursdays 6-8 PM

Intro to Fiction
In this class, beginning and intermediate-level fiction students work toward building short stories and novel chapters and learning the elements of craft. Whether you are a new beginner or want to sharpen up your basic writing technique, this is the class for you. Student work is discussed in a warm atmosphere. Limited to 8.

Instructor: Beth Ann Bauman
Wednesdays 1-3 PM

Strange and Fantastic Tales
In this class, we look at an assortment of genres—fairy tales, fantasy, ghost stories, and other speculative fictions.  Readings and exercises are assigned, and in the final weeks student works-in-progress is workshopped. Class limited to 10.

Instructor: Beth Ann Bauman
Tuesday 6:45-8:45 PM

Filling the Well
This is the perfect class for fiction writers who want to be writing but aren't, or those who feel stuck on a current project. This is a generating class in which students write new material or advance pre-existing short stories or novel chapters. The class provides weekly deadlines through fun and challenging prompts that serve as pricks to the imagination to get you off and racing. Each class session is reserved for workshopping student work.  The class works well for both beginning and more experienced writers who want to increase their creative output. Limited to 10.

Tuesdays 6:45-8:45 PM

Going Deeper
Pre-registration requirement: Writing sample (up to 8 pages of fiction) and Instructor approval.
In this class, students working on novels and short stories learn to improve craft, deepen fiction, and identify and tackle common storytelling problems. Students must have work ready to present. 6 students max.

Instructor: Beth Ann Bauman
Wednesdays 6:45-8:45 PM

Telling Great Stories
Everyone has a story to tell. Whether you’re a skilled practitioner polishing a piece or a beginner learning the craft, this workshop has something for you. Often, there isn't a big difference between fiction and nonfiction, and both formats are welcome here. Many writers begin with incidents that they remember, or situations that are happening now, and shape that material into stories. We will focus on elements of "creative" prose writing—plot, character, setting, voice, and beginnings and endings—through weekly prompts and detailed critiques.  Exercises and works in progress will be reviewed in class in a friendly supportive atmosphere. Revisions of works in progress will be considered, as well. Often, work begun as an exercise grows into a longer piece after the class meeting. Each writer will receive one-to-one attention. The workshop is open to everyone.

Instructor: Thaddeus Rutkowski
Mondays 6:30-8:30 PM

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