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A College Campus Downtown for enrichment, education and fun


By Candice Parker

Downtown Oklahoma City transforms to a unique college campus in the evenings and weekends.

It offers courses for college credit or enjoyment, classes for leaning languages, self-enrichment, exercise and several kinds of certification and continuing education trainings.

“These classes are not just for your typical college student, but for anyone who enjoys learning new things,” said Dr. Gus Pekara, Director of the OKC Downtown College.

On Monday evenings, people will enjoy learning about one of our most favorite beverages in the course: the Cultural History of Beer, a seminar and practicum, taught by University of Central Oklahoma Professor Dr. Stephen Law. According to Dr. Law, the, seminar explores the cultural significance of beer from its origins in Mesopotamia and Egypt to the present. The practicum portion of the course will cover the basic science of brewing, both early and modern. There will be on-site visits to local breweries.

The OKC Downtown College, a consortium of five local colleges and universities, offers classes at the OKC Museum of Art, The Civic Center Music Hall, and Downtown Library.

Participating colleges are Oklahoma City Community College, Rose State College, Oklahoma State University-OKC, Redlands Community College and the University of Central Oklahoma. Through the OKC Downtown College the colleges will be offering a fascinating mix of classes this spring ranging from History of Photography to the Cultural History of Beer as well as various language classes. The classes are arranged for both traditional college students and those looking for personal enrichment.

Students in the class entitled J.R.R. Tolkien will examine the author’s works including The Lord of the Rings series and its prequel, The Hobbit. This UCO class explores these fantasy epics as well as the cult following and blockbuster film series that followed. The class meets at the Downtown Library on Sunday afternoons beginning Jan. 19.

The class History of Photography meets at the OKC Museum of Art on Tuesday evenings beginning Jan. 21. In this OCCC class, students will examine major movements, photographers, issues and developments in the history of photography. This course will incorporate visits to two new photography exhibits at the Museum which include the works of Ansel Adams and Brett Weston.

Returning this spring is a community favorite, OKC Arts Alive! offered by OCCC at the Civic Center Music Hall. This interactive course allows participants to attend and critique a variety of performing arts like dance, theater and music while also getting a sneak peek of backstage at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. The class meets for 8 weeks on Friday evenings beginning Jan. 24.

Beginning Mar. 27 at the OKC Museum of Art, OCCC will be offering Understand Art in OKC. This class gives students new insight into art through visual analysis and criticism by viewing and discussing art throughout the Oklahoma City visual arts scene. This 8-week course meets on Thursday evenings at the OKC Museum of Art with visits to the Festival of the Arts, galleries and artist studios.

These distinctive classes may be taken for college credit or for audit with no credit and no grade. In addition, the OKC Downtown College also offers non-credit conversational language classes in Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish as well as fitness classes in Zumba® and Pilates. These courses are conducted at the Downtown Library.

The OKC Downtown College offices are located in the Ronald J. Norick Library at 300 Park Ave.

Students may obtain books and related materials, as well as financial aid consultation at one of the consortium institutions.

Classes are held during the day, at lunch-time, during evenings and even Sunday afternoons. Parking is inexpensive and easily accessible by day, and free at night, thanks to a designated parking area for credit college students.

There you have it. Personal enrichment. Professional development. College credit. Just step outside your downtown office door and step into an enriching college experience.

It’s easy to enroll too. People can enroll on-line,, or in person, from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the college, on the fourth floor of the downtown library, 300 Park Ave. For any other questions, call 405-232-3382.

Note: Stacy Martin contributed to this story.


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