Classes, Lectures & Workshops

The learning never stops at Tohono Chul – discover this for yourself in our Classes, Lectures & Workshops!

We’re all about connecting our members and visitors to the amazing world around us, offering them opportunities to make their own discoveries about the nature, art and culture of our region. Read on for our latest listings of classes, lectures and workshops designed to engage and delight!

Cancellation Policy

We reserve the right to cancel or postpone an event due to lack of enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances. A full refund will apply. If however, you cancel your registration in a class or lecture (generally priced $10-$14), there is no refund. If you cancel your registration in a hands-on workshop, there is a full refund if your space can be filled.


Professional Development Workshop for Artists | How to Present & Submit Artwork for Exhibition

Monday | September 26 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1

With each “Call for Entries – Call to Artists” sent out, Tohono Chul’s Exhibits Department receives numerous inquiries wondering “What exactly are they looking for?”

Tohono Chul’s own Director of Education and Exhibitions, James Schaub will address this question and others through a discussion that will examine the myriad things artists must consider when creating exhibition proposals, submitting their work for thematic exhibitions, and presenting their work as professional artists.

The discussion will start with a PowerPoint presentation followed by a question-and-answer session that is likely to generate a lively and productive conversation.

This event is FREE and artists of all levels are invited to attend. For easy access – please park in the Parking Lot off of Northern Avenue (7211 N. Northern Avenue). Please RSVP as space will be limited.



Tortilla Tutorial

Tuesday | September 27 | 10 am – 12:30 pm | Lomaki House | $55 members, $60 general public

Sandy Villegas of Luna’s Paper Designs returns to Tohono Chul with something a little different from her usual paper creations, but a lot of fun! Join us to learn how to make your own flour tortillas. Sandy, a Puebla, Mexico native later moved to Sonora, Mexico before coming to the United States. Her papier mâché skills transfer to kitchen where she will demonstrate and guide you through the complete process from making the dough to cooking your flour tortillas. Ingredients will be provided. Please bring a large mixing bowl and a wooden rolling pin. Each student will make ~ 10 flour tortillas.

Sold out! If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email khayes@tohonochul.org


Healing Sound Meditation

First Saturday of the Month | October 1, November 5, December 3 | 8:30 – 9:30 am | Performance Garden | Free with Admission

Embark on a journey of frequency in the gardens this fall! Take a meditative stroll and immerse yourself in a sound healing experience led by TC Chicago. The sound of her 28-inch gong, crystal bowls, Himalayan singing bowls, and shamanic drum will alter patterns of brain activity bringing you into a higher state of consciousness as you focus on your breath. This practice can reduce stress, promote more restful sleep, and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Come surround yourself with nature as you enjoy this multisensory experience!



At Home in the Nest – Avian Life Cycle | Raptors

Monday | October 3 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Tohono Chul Docent, Marion Cimmino is here to remind you that they are all around us – you see them and hear them, drumming, hooting, squawking, and singing. We feed and water them. Perhaps because of their apparently carefree existence and non-threating behavior, we are comfortable in the presence of BIRDS. 

In this three-part series, we will use the life cycle of birds to explain their anatomical and physiological adaptations, breeding behavior, and importance in our Sonoran Desert ecosystems. A few species will be singled out for a more in-depth look. A PowerPoint presentation plus show-and-tell of specimens will leave you brimming with bird knowledge. Bring your flock and soar into class ready to experience all things avian!

  



“Let’s Meet in the Garden: Ten Artists Who Cultivated and Painted Gardens” Talk from the Tucson Museum of Art

Tuesday | October 4 | 10 – 11:30 am | Education Center Classroom 1 | $5 members, $7 general public, Free for TMA members

Throughout history, gardens have been a favorite subject of artists. Their artistic renderings are as varied as the gardens themselves and reveal much about each artist’s relationship with nature. Join us for an in depth look at ten artists and their garden interpretations. Presentation by Jaye-Lynn Trapp courtesy of the Tucson Museum of Art – Docent Art Talks.



Exploring Nature Through Watercolor

Thursdays | October 6, 13, 20, 27 | 1- 4 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $160 members, $180 general public

Deepen your appreciation for nature by learning to capture it in watercolor! This watercolor workshop is great for beginners to advanced painters and will cover composition, representation of form, color mixing, and painting from photos and nature. Students will explore gesture sketching and nature journaling and will complete several small paintings throughout the four sessions. Taught by Katie Iverson, an artist, photographer, marine biologist, and Tohono Chul Docent, who will have plenty of insights about representing the flora and fauna of our beautiful Sonoran Desert region! Katie will provide supplies for the first class as well as a list of recommended materials for the remaining classes. (Students are welcome to bring any materials they have to the first class, but are discouraged from purchasing new materials until AFTER the first class.) Unlock your creative cortex and join us for some fun this fall!

Sold out! If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email khayes@tohonochul.org



Gourding 101

Friday | October 7 | 10 am – 11:30 am | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Gourding is one of the hottest growing hobbies today. People around the globe are creating whimsical, practical, and avant-garde objects from these humble ‘woody’ fruits.  Join gourd artisan, Sue Brogdon for a lecture on the basics of gourd crafting. Sue will talk about the various species available, where to buy gourds, and how to prep them for use in projects. Sue will bring her tools and demonstrate how to use each, discussing low budget ways to get started as well as more expensive tools available. Sue will also share her small collection of ethnographic gourds from around the globe. Join us and dive into the gourd-geous world of gourds!  



At Home in the Nest – Avian Life Cycle | Nesting Birds

Monday | October 10 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Tohono Chul Docent, Marion Cimmino is here to remind you that they are all around us – you see them and hear them, drumming, hooting, squawking, and singing. We feed and water them. Perhaps because of their apparently carefree existence and non-threating behavior, we are comfortable in the presence of BIRDS. 

In this three-part series, we will use the life cycle of birds to explain their anatomical and physiological adaptations, breeding behavior, and importance in our Sonoran Desert ecosystems. A few species will be singled out for a more in-depth look. A PowerPoint presentation plus show-and-tell of specimens will leave you brimming with bird knowledge. Bring your flock and soar into class ready to experience all things avian!   



Tree Pruning 101

Tuesday | October 11 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Don’t think you’re ready to make that first cut? Gain expert pruning advice from 20-year industry veteran, REALM’s award-winning landscape designer, and ISA Certified Arborist, Jason Isenberg, as he leads you through the basics of pruning the desert landscape. Topics covered include choosing the right tools for the job, the basic do’s and don’ts of pruning, specific pruning approaches and philosophies, and pruning time tables. Jason will provide resource recommendations and take-home materials to help you succeed in your own yard!



Sonoran Desert Tree of Life

Thursdays | October 13 & 20 | 9:30 am – 12:00 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $55 members, $65 general public

The tree of life symbol has been around for centuries and appears across cultures. We are putting a Sonoran Desert spin on this icon with a fun papier-mâché project! In this two-day workshop with Sandy Villegas of Luna’s Paper Designs you will learn how to make your own Sonoran Desert Tree of Life with wire, traditional papier-mâché, paper clay, and acrylic paint. In the first session you will make your saguaro and adorning pieces. The following week you will paint and decorate your creation. The instructor will provide all papier-mâché materials and paint. Students are asked to bring a 5” x 4.5” clay pot (design/color of your choice) as a base for the sculpture.



Mosaic Garden Flower

Friday | October 14 | 10 am – 3:30 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $130 members, $150 general public

Flowers are an important part of the landscape. Since year-round blooms aren’t guaranteed, why not add a permanent mosaic flower with garden stake to your landscape? Mosaic artist and instructor, David Jarvinen will teach nipping and fitting techniques to help you create a beautiful 8×10” flower which attaches to a custom 36” long stake. Sure to be a lovely addition to your garden with no watering necessary! All materials are provided. No formal breaks are included so please bring lunch and/or snacks and a beverage.



A “Novel” Project in Silver Clay

Saturday | October 15 | 9 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $110 members, $125 general public

This mini book may not land you on the best seller’s list, but your friends will be clamoring at your door for their own personalized copy. Award-winning metal clay artist, Lyle Rayfield guides participants through the process of creating and texturizing miniature book covers using silver metal clay, embellishing them with tiny clay elements, and filling them with colorful pages or personalized notes or pictures. When complete, you will want to proudly wear your story for all to see.

Microscopic particles of pure silver are combined with an organic binder to produce the clay-like substance known as silver metal clay. When fired at high temperatures, the binder burns off and the metal particles fuse into a solid piece of silver. Students will learn the a-b-c’s of working with fine silver metal clay while creating a mini-book inspired by the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. Demonstrations and instruction will cover how to properly roll, texture, shape, refine, fire, and finish metal clay creations (no experience necessary). All materials supplied, but please bring a magnifying glass and an apron.



CHARM-ing Memories

Saturday | October 15 | 1:30 – 4:30 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $110 members, $125 general public

Charms can hold special memories for many of us. They may commemorate a significant event, a special trip, an enjoyable experience, or celebrate a momentous occasion. Some are even lucky charms.

Discover how to capture your memories in silver metal clay with award-winning artist, Lyle Rayfield. Microscopic particles of pure silver are combined with an organic binder to produce the clay-like substance known as silver metal clay. When fired at high temperatures, the binder burns off and the metal particles fuse into a solid piece of silver.

Students learn basic metal clay techniques and create personalized bracelet charms, from stamping clay with descriptive words or symbols, to capturing fingerprints, to making molds for charm replication. No experience is necessary, and all skill levels are welcome. Demonstrations and instruction will cover how to properly roll, texture, shape, refine, fire, and finish metal clay creations. All materials supplied, but please bring a magnifying glass and an apron if you have them.



At Home in the Nest – Avian Life Cycle | Birds & their Flowers

Monday | October 17 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Tohono Chul Docent, Marion Cimmino is here to remind you that they are all around us – you see them and hear them, drumming, hooting, squawking, and singing. We feed and water them. Perhaps because of their apparently carefree existence and non-threating behavior, we are comfortable in the presence of BIRDS. 

In this three-part series, we will use the life cycle of birds to explain their anatomical and physiological adaptations, breeding behavior, and importance in our Sonoran Desert ecosystems. A few species will be singled out for a more in-depth look. A PowerPoint presentation plus show-and-tell of specimens will leave you brimming with bird knowledge. Bring your flock and soar into class ready to experience all things avian!

  


Yoga in the Gardens

Tuesdays | October 18 & 25 | 8:30 – 9:30 am | Performance Garden

Outdoor yoga with Mary Carhuff continues this fall! Mary is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. All are welcome!  Open your senses to an understanding of our connection to the earth while you practice amongst pollinators in a beautiful garden setting. All are encouraged to practice at their own pace and modifications will be demonstrated. Please bring your own mat. Stay and enjoy the beauty of the gardens after class!

$10 members | $10 plus cost of admission for the general public
Students pay instructor directly | Preregistration not required

Chair Yoga in the Gardens

Tuesdays | October 18 & 25 | 10 – 10:45 am | Performance Garden

This outdoor class with Mary Carhuff is ideal for anyone who struggles with earth (floor) poses. Mary is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. This balance focused class is broken up into seated yoga followed by standing poses using the chair for balance. Chairs will be provided. All are encouraged to practice at their own pace and modifications will be demonstrated. Please bring a water bottle and a hat. Stay and enjoy the gardens after class and get to know your fellow yogis!

$10 members | $10 plus cost of admission for the general public
Students pay instructor directly | Preregistration not required

Master Gardening

Tuesday | October 18 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Dedicated Tohono Chul Docent, Hank Verbais is also an Arizona Master Gardener and is excited to share his gardening wisdom with you! Master Gardeners are trained by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and provide environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping tips to serve their communities. Hank will focus on gardening in our Sonoran Desert environment and will cover everything from how to grow cacti, desert adapted trees, vegetables, herbs, citrus, and flowers to watering guidelines, soil management, and how to deal with pests. This class is great for beginners to advanced gardeners. You will leave with a better understanding of our unique desert environment and a greener thumb!  



GROUNDS for DRAWING

Monday, October 24 | 10 am – 1 pm AND Tuesday, October 25 | 10 am – 1:30 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $50 members, $60 general public

The act of drawing is the earliest and most immediate of all art processes. The awareness of its elements, the line, and the mark are universal. The materials utilized are ubiquitous.

GROUNDS for DRAWING is an introduction to the principles of drawing: figure/ground, the elements of design, perspective, contour/blind contour, and composition. This six-and-a-half-hour workshop taught by Tohono Chul’s Director of Education and Exhibitions, James Schaub, is split over two days. Three hours on Monday and three and a half hours on Tuesday. A power point presentation of drawing principles will be followed by exercises in the gardens and on the grounds of Tohono Chul. A group critique will round out the workshop.

This stress-free workshop is geared towards beginners while offering new insights to the seasoned draughtsperson. Each participant must bring their own materials. Any sized drawing book/pad will work; however, 11 x 14”, 16 x 20”, or 18 x 24” pads are recommended as they allow for more freedom. In addition to a small sketchbook, a variety of basic monochromatic drawing materials are encouraged: pencil, ink, ball-point pen, vine and compressed charcoal, kneaded rubber, and magic rub erasers. Drawing is for everyone – it exercises and tunes the eye, the brain, and the hand.



Hypertufa Planters

Thursday | October 27 | 9 am – 12 pm | Propagation Area (meet at Ed Center) | $40 members, $50 general public

Tufa is a natural, porous limestone that has been carved into planters, troughs, and garden ornaments for centuries. While tufa is difficult to come by and expensive, hypertufa is a great alternative “rock” that you can make and shape with your hands to create the perfect succulent planter! Lightweight and impervious to even the harshest weather, hypertufa is made by combining cement, water, and porous materials (perlite or vermiculite) and natural fibers (peat moss). Led by Tohono Chul volunteer, Pam Olson, participants will learn how to mix hypertufa, how to select the appropriate mold, and how to form their pots and planters. Each student will make two pots during class and prepare their pieces for the curing process. Be prepared to get dirty and dress accordingly! All materials are provided. If you have a mold you would like to try, bring it along!


Master Gardening

Saturday | October 29 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Dedicated Tohono Chul Docent, Hank Verbais is also an Arizona Master Gardener and is excited to share his gardening wisdom with you! Master Gardeners are trained by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and provide environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping tips to serve their communities. Hank will focus on gardening in our Sonoran Desert environment and will cover everything from how to grow cacti, desert adapted trees, vegetables, herbs, citrus, and flowers to watering guidelines, soil management, and how to deal with pests. This class is great for beginners to advanced gardeners. You will leave with a better understanding of our unique desert environment and a greener thumb!  



Bloomin’ Barrette

Saturday | October 29 | 1:00 – 4:00 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $65 members, $75 general public

Twinkle, glimmer, sparkle, shimmer! Use sequins to stitch up a pretty barrette. Taught by craft book author and embroidery fanatic Nathalie Mornu, this project is easy to learn! The barrette measures 2¼” long, but large sequins and beads make fast work of this fun project. Since the 8-mm sequins used are easy to source, you can make additional barrettes in all the colors of the rainbow! In this class, we’ll make the project in periwinkle—with both shiny and matte sequins, for extra visual texture. Wouldn’t this bloomin’ barrette look beautiful in a quinceañera’s hair or in a bridal up-do? All materials and tools provided. Bring a magnifying lamp to help you see small things close up (optional).



Petscapes

Tuesday | November 1 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

As environmentally conscious gardeners we think carefully about the kinds of chemicals we use in our landscapes. As safety-conscious pet parents, we must be even more aware – our four-legged family members spend their time outdoors much closer to the ground than we do, often with their noses in the leaf litter and dirt. Jason Isenberg of REALM offers smart and safe landscape solutions for you and your pet, realizing that beyond health considerations, it is important that outdoor habitats keep cats and dogs happy as well. From non-toxic plants to dog dig pits and paw-friendly surfaces and from pet waste composting to play structures, Jason has ideas for a variety of landscape situations and a variety of pets!


T’ai Chi Chih: “Joy through Movement”

Mondays & Wednesdays | November 7, 9, 14, 16 | 1 – 1:50 pm | Performance Garden

Join certified instructor, Laura Star, in the beautiful gardens of Tohono Chul to learn T’ai Chi Chih (tie chee cha). You will learn the first 10 movements of this soft, flowing, moving meditation practiced by thousands of people around the world. Easy to learn, the practice brings many benefits including peace of mind, improved health, balance, and joy! The primary purpose of T’ai Chi Chih is to circulate and balance the body’s energy, or chi, resulting in a state of health and well-being. T’ai Chi Chih does not require a particular level of fitness or coordination. (For those with physical limitations, movements may be done seated.)

$50 members | $50 plus cost of admission for the general public
Students pay instructor directly | To register email Laura Star at lstar23@gmail.com

Yoga in the Gardens

Tuesdays | November 8, 15, 22, 29 | 9:30 – 10:30 am | Performance Garden

Join us for outdoor yoga with Mary Carhuff this fall! Mary is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. All are welcome! Open your senses to an understanding of our connection to the earth while you practice amongst pollinators in a beautiful garden setting. All are encouraged to practice at their own pace and modifications will be demonstrated. Please bring your own mat. Stay and enjoy the beauty of the gardens after class!

$10 members | $10 plus cost of admission for the general public
Students pay instructor directly | Preregistration not required

Chair Yoga in the Gardens

Tuesdays | November 8, 15, 22, 29 | 11 – 11:45 am | Performance Garden

This outdoor class with Mary Carhuff is ideal for anyone who struggles with earth (floor) poses. Mary is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. This balance focused class is broken up into seated yoga followed by standing poses using the chair for balance. Chairs will be provided. All are encouraged to practice at their own pace and modifications will be demonstrated. Please bring a water bottle and a hat. Stay and enjoy the gardens after class and get to know your fellow yogis!

$10 members | $10 plus cost of admission for the general public
Students pay instructor directly | Preregistration not required


“What in the World is Environmental Art?” Talk from the Tucson Museum of Art

Thursday | November 10 | 10 – 11:30 am | Education Center Classroom 1 | $5 members, $7 general public, Free for TMA members

Come explore the interdisciplinary minds and works of artists whose creations are both timeless and ephemeral. See why they are so important for expanding the definition of art itself joining hearts to science. Leave understanding “What in the World Environmental Art is” and how it raises awareness about issues relating to our planet. Presentation by Nancy Jacques courtesy of the Tucson Museum of Art – Docent Art Talks.



Mosaic & Wire Flower Design

Friday | November 11 | 10 am – 3:30 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $130 members, $145 general public

Mosaic artist and instructor, David Jarvinen has a fun and enlightening mosaic class this fall! Join us to learn how to define an area with wire and use materials of varying thickness to express your design. A 5×7” frame will be provided to encompass your wire design which will be filled with an array of beautiful tiles. All materials are provided. No formal breaks are included so please bring lunch and/or snacks and a beverage.



Electrocuted Gourds

Saturday | November 12 | 9:30 am – 2:30 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $100 members, $115 general public

Every gourd artist needs an electrocuted gourd in their collection – what a conversation piece!  Gourd artisan, Sue Brogdon returns to Tohono Chul with this stunning project. Students will start the morning lightly cleaning the outside of their gourds to remove carbon residue from the electrocution process. Next, we will color the gourd with dye ink before sealing it. Then students will learn how to coil a multi-leveled pine needle rim on your gourd which will be lashed with wire. Finally, an embellishment will adorn the top to complete the piece.

Instructor will provide prepped medium-sized electrocuted gourds, black spray paint, dye and alcohol inks, sealant, black pine needles, wire, needles, gauges and beads, rocks, mosaic tiles, and other embellishments to complete the rim.

Students should bring an old toothbrush, steel wool, heat tool (if you own one), wire cutter, an old towel, and a bucket. Please bring sacks, lunch, and a beverage as there are no formal breaks.



Dragonfly Fused Glass Tiles

Thursday | November 17 | 10 am – 12 pm | Outdoor Living Garden (near the Ed Center) | $55 members, $65 general public

Dragonflies may not seem like desert dwellers, but you can find them throughout Arizona’s riparian areas. At Tohono Chul, we are lucky to observe them whizzing about our water features regularly. Fused glass artist, Dee Taube has a fun project to bring these majestic creatures into your life permanently! Dee will provide a demonstration and tips to get you started painting your 7×12” fused glass dragonfly tile. Let your creativity soar as you paint as much or as little of your tile as you like. All skill levels are welcome, and all materials are provided.



A Pool Repurposed

Friday | November 18 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Has your water-hungry pool become just an empty hole in the ground? There is a way to make that unwanted pool a sustainable feature of your backyard landscape. Jason Isenberg of REALM shares an eye-opening approach to pool retirement. Rather than simply backfilling it, explore your options and discover new ways to incorporate an underused pool into a polished landscape — from an in-ground planter to a water harvesting water feature or from an outdoor living space to a sunken patio for bird watching or entertaining. The possibilities abound!



Holiday Gourd-aments

Saturday | December 3 | 9:30 am – 3 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $85 members, $95 general public

Learn how to create unique holiday ornaments from small, uncut round gourds and alcohol inks!  “Gourd-aments” will be adorned with a modified wire wrapped technique and beads to add a sophisticated touch. Instructor will provide each student four small gourds, alcohol inks, metallic foil, polyurethane finish, beads, and wire.  Students should bring latex or plastic gloves, a jewelry wire cutter, and jewelry-grade flat-nosed pliers (if you have one). Please bring sacks, lunch, and a beverage as there are no formal breaks.


Christmas Memories in the Old Pueblo

Saturday | December 3 | 3:30 – 5 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $10 members, $14 general public

Holiday season celebrations are unique to every community – there is a combination of past traditions and new traditions that reflect the physical changes of the place you call home. Tucson at Christmas time changed as the community grew, new modes of transportation became a reality, and the influences of new arrivals were woven into community celebrations. The Winterhaven Festival of Lights is a prime example of this weaving effect that began very modestly and grew right along with Tucson. Historian, Ken Scoville will explore Christmas memories from the recent past and those beyond the living memory. Discover how Christmases more than a century ago provided the same anticipation and excitement as they do today!



Pot a Plant for the Holidays!

Thursday | December 8 | 10 am – 12 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $40 members, $50 general public

Pot a plant using fun, funky containers. We’ve scoured thrift shops all over Tucson to find unlikely items to transform into planters. These unique gifts will be perfect for office grab bags, hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, and more! Led by Tohono Chul Docent and Master Gardener, Jeanie Honn, each participant will select two-three containers depending on the size to plant with up to five succulents and cacti. If you have your own funky container, bring it along! A great opportunity to get your hands dirty and add a personal touch to your gifts this holiday season.



Mosaic Ornaments

Friday | December 16 | 10 am – 2 pm | Education Center Classroom 1 | $80 members, $90 general public

Mosaic artist and instructor, David Jarvinen will walk you through the process of making three adorable mosaic ornaments for the holidays! Using glass tiles, we will add sparkle and personality to your project. You will leave with three unique ornaments measuring 3×3” to keep for yourself or to give away as holiday gifts. All materials are provided. No formal breaks are included so please bring lunch and/or snacks and a beverage.