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 $6-$20), 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.


Organic Veggies and Herbs

Wednesday, October 7 | 10am | via Zoom | $5

Challenged trying to grow vegetables in Tucson? It can be done! Jason Isenberg, award-winning designer and owner of REALM, has a creative and environmentally friendly way of approaching organic vegetable gardening in the desert southwest. In this approachable class, Isenberg covers the basics from garden design, soils and amendments, plant selection and planting. All that will be left is the harvesting!


Patios for the Pandemic – Virtually

Saturday, October 24 | 10am | via Zoom | $5

Join garden designer and author Scott Calhoun on a virtual tour of desert patios and backyards that are perfect for social distancing, whether watching birds or enjoying a sangria with your significant other. The talk will focus on outdoor retreats for humans that are beautiful, water-efficient, and serene as Calhoun discusses adding outdoor living spaces to be alone in, or for gathering with a small group.


Virtual Pocket Sketching

Tuesdays and Fridays | November 10, 13, 17, 20 and 24 | 10am-12pm | via Zoom | $150 members | $175 general public

As seen on PBS, this quick-draw technique of artist Kath Macaulay is perfect for travel journaling, hiking, biking, sauntering or just sitting in a roadside café. Capture what you see in 25 minutes or less using a water-soluble pen, 4×6 inch pad and a small paint set. This five-session virtual workshop includes basic technique anyone can learn and is ideal for timid beginners who want to fearlessly paint in public, and for experienced artists who want total portability, speed and no clean-up. During this Zoom event there will be opportunities for social exchange and interactive critique. Cost does not include supplies which can be purchased from Sarnoff Artist Materials (4747 E. Sunrise | 520-795-1229) for $45.


Pruning 101

Wednesday, November 11 | 10am | via Zoom | $5

Are you ready to make that first cut? Get expert pruning advice from REALM’s award-winning designer and ISA Certified Arborist, Jason Isenberg, as he guides us through the basics of pruning in the desert. Topics covered include choosing the right tool for the job, basic do’s and don’ts of pruning, specific pruning approaches and philosophies, and pruning timetables. Isenberg also provides recommendations and materials to help you succeed.


The following workshops will be held in the larger Classroom #1 of the Education Center.

All workshops will be limited to a maximum of 12 participants who can be seated at separate tables ensuring social distancing. All participants are asked to wear masks at all times and practice social distancing when not seated.

Instructors will be wearing face shields to allow for better communication.

The classroom and tables will be thoroughly sanitized prior to each workshop and spray sanitizer/wipes will be available during class, as well as hand sanitizer and gloves.

The restrooms in the building are being cleaned frequently and there is a water bottle refill station on the porch.

Please bring your own paper, pens, pencils for note taking, as none will be provided.


Mosaic Day of the Dead Sugar Skull

Saturday, October 10 | 10am to 4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 members | $100 general public

David Jarvinen is celebrating the season with these fun Day of the Dead designs! Working from doodle books, we simplify the designs to work with mosaics, select porcelain tiles for the accents and glass tiles for image and background. Learn mosaic techniques related to both porcelain tiles and glass tiles all in one project! All materials included. This is a six-hour workshop and there are no formal breaks, please bring lunch/snacks & beverage.


Photographer’s Eye

Saturday, October 17 | 10am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $60 members | $75 general public

Taking remarkable photographs is about the photographer’s eye, not the particular camera gear you may be using. Today’s digital cameras offer the amateur a wide variety of options and they come in many formats – DSLR, smartphone, point and shoot or mounted on a drone. In this workshop, iPhoneography instructor William Walther provides tips for using whatever camera you have to its fullest potential. There will be basic instruction on the fundamentals of photography, questions to help you hone your photography skills are encouraged, and then it’s outside to explore the grounds of Tohono Chul to capture thoughtful pictures of plants, flowers, animals, architecture and people. With an easy pace, this is a participant-centered photography class.


Papier-mâché Sugar Skulls #1

Cancelled

Fabric and paper artist Jennifer Eschedor is inspired by the artistic traditions surrounding El Día de los Muertos, creating pieces that reflect and celebrate this borderland custom. Join her for a one-hour mini-workshop and start your own tradition by crafting a unique and personal “sugar skull” for your own ofrenda (altar). Starting with a blank white papier mache skull, participants will work with paint, paint markers and transparent glitter to design and decorate their personalized skull. Eschedor provides lots of design examples for inspiration. All materials provided. 


Papier-mâché Sugar Skulls #2

Cancelled

Fabric and paper artist Jennifer Eschedor is inspired by the artistic traditions surrounding El Día de los Muertos, creating pieces that reflect and celebrate this borderland custom. Join her for a one-hour mini-workshop and start your own tradition by crafting a unique and personal “sugar skull” for your own ofrenda (altar). Starting with a blank white papier mache skull, participants will work with paint, paint markers and transparent glitter to design and decorate their personalized skull. Eschedor provides lots of design examples for inspiration. All materials provided. 


Copper Basketry Vessel – FULL

Saturday, October 31 | 9am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 members | $100 general public

Gourd artist Sue Brogdon has designed a striking vessel that features sea grass and straight and twisted copper strips. In her fall workshop, students will color and seal their gourds and learn three weaving techniques: twining, coiling and couching. Beads and a large copper embellishment complete this unique piece. Brogdon provides cleaned and prepped canteen gourds, dye inks, sealant, dyed sea grass and copper wire. Students should bring a bucket, old towel, apron, a wire cutter, a heat tool (if you have one) and a brown bag lunch.


Mosaic Ornaments

Saturday, November 21 | 10am-3pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $70 members | $80 general public

Mosaic Artist David Jarvinen is back to walk you through the process of making these a selection of Western-themed mosaic ornaments. The process starts with creating copper ornament bases and then embellishing them with glass tiles. Great for a beginner or crafty person who always wanted to try mosaics! The end result will be three unique ornaments to gift this holiday season – or keep them for yourself! This is a six-hour class with no formal breaks, please bring lunch/snacks & a beverage. 


Electrocuted Gourds X 3

Saturday, December 5 | 9am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 members | $100 general public

One of the hottest trends in gourd art is working with electrocuted gourds which have been distinctively patterned using fractal burning. During this workshop with gourd artist Sue Brogdon, students will work with three small cannonball-shaped gourds. One will be adorned with embellishments such as beads, rocks and feathers. The second will be drilled to take a tiny oil lamp; and, the third will be an open vessel with a pine needle or pygmy date palm rim treatment. The instructor will provide the gourds, inks, sealants, embellishments, botanicals, oil lamp and wire. Students should bring latex or plastic gloves, rags, an old tooth brush, a bucket and a wire cutter. If you have them, please bring an electric drill, gourd cleaning ball and heat tool. Don’t forget your brown bag lunch.


Nature Journaling Part 2

Friday, December 11 | 5-7pm via Zoom AND Saturday, December 12 | 9am-1pm onsite at Tohono Chul | $65 members | $75 general public

This unique hybrid class with naturalist and field notes artist Roseann Hanson focuses on skills improvement for intermediate journalers, particularly those who took her spring workshop. Hanson begins with a Zoom lecture on Friday evening reviewing and honing techniques, and then Saturday morning the class moves onsite at Tohono Chul practicing these deeper skills. Can’t join us in person, or are a little nervous still about COVID? There will be the option of an interactive 360-degree virtual tour of Tohono Chul so you can visit and take part as well! You can join in live via computer if you like, when students are out in the field and when Roseann is facilitating our journal sharing time.

  • Honing observational skills through memory journaling
  • Practicing sketching little landscapes or animals by focusing on shapes
  • Using viewfinders and grids to isolate subjects and draw them quickly
  • Page layout and design — how to use an organic approach to complete attractive pages
  • Improving your journaling practice — how to make your journaling a lasting habit

A simple supply list will be provided and plan to bring a brown bag lunch for journal sharing time on Saturday.