But what’s the Columbia way? Depends what you want to do. If you want to learn about Plato, but do it decidedly off-campus, there must be a way! In that noble pursuit, Bwog presents a feature dedicated to the alternative ways to learn. All you have to do is take the subway.

Drawing is a delightful break from doing problem sets and reading Bwog comments. It’s just not that easy to actually take drawing classes at Columbia: woe betide us to discover via CULPA that Basic Drawing, offered in the Visual Arts Department, can sometimes come with a heavy burden. An informant who also took the class confirms, “With some teachers you’ll have to do a full-size life portrait within a few days, and during finals week!” Eegad!

The Arts Students League at 215 57th Street. Photo via wikimedia

No one should be discouraged from taking Basic Drawing – you might get a great teacher who will give you very little homework. But you will get homework, and if you tend to stress over your grades, you will probably stress at least a little over your grade. The same is true in classes in other arts methods, especially those you might have no experience in as a non-major. So if you want a low stress way to learn to draw, sculpt, paint, or even weld, Bwog recommends you head to the Art Students League of New York.

Classes at the league range in price depending on how long they are, how often they meet (prices are almost all monthly) whether a live (you know, naked!) model is present, and whether an instructor is present. Drawing classes every evening for five evenings a week will run you 200 for the month, but you can get two evenings a week (one with instructor, one without) for as little as $70 for the month. Some classes are pay as you go – show up at 5 Monday through Friday for a 1.5 hour class with no instructor, but a live model, and draw for only $7. On Friday and Saturday there are walk-in morning, afternoon and evening classes for $8-12.

The League atmosphere is friendly; no one will know you yet, but if you stick with it, they will soon. The student population is completely mixed—students like you, retirees, and people working full time (especially in night classes) who need a creative outlet. No one is judgmental, and being surrounded by an unfamiliar crowd reminds you that you really are not in school. You’re just another real person who wants to learn to draw.

Take the 1 to Columbus Circle and head to 215 57th between Broadway and 7th Ave.