Adults will get a chance to go back to school starting this week at a new business downtown.
Pick A Class held its first sessions Tuesday at its new space on South White Street. John Giustiniani – who owns GC5 Vintage & Gifts down the street with his wife, Amanda – is offering dozens of adult enrichment classes. The topics range from wedding planning to poetry writing to self defense.
“It really is a community initiative, and we want everyone to benefit from it,” Giustiniani said.
The idea started when Giustiniani became certified as an eBay education specialist and was looking for a place to teach classes on eBay sales. He found a vacant storefront near his existing business, but eBay classes couldn’t fill the entire space.
“I thought we could teach all sorts of classes,” he said, adding that the location will also house an art gallery.
The plan is to get input from residents on what subjects they’d like to learn more about. Then Giustiniani will find someone nearby who’s an expert on the topic and bring them in for a 90-minute session or two. The classes are affordable, with most running $35-45.
“It’s community teaching community,” he said.
He has lined up 12 instructors so far. Many of the topics are serious, such as how to liquidate a loved one’s property or how to help kids defeat a bully.
But some are lighter subjects. One is “How to Speak Fluent Southernese.” That class, taught by a local business owner, should come in handy for Wake County transplants from the North.
“There’s certain sayings that people don’t know what they mean,” Giustiniani said, adding that he had a rough time himself when he first moved from New York. “My father-in-law said, ‘It’s just over yonder,’ and I put ‘yonder’ in my GPS.”
The crafty set can take a monthly Pick A Class session with Suzanne Corey, who’s also holding weekly classes through her own business, Let’s Do This with Suzanne. Her craft classes grew out of an interest in the social media website Pinterest, where users post project ideas.
“I pin things all day long, but I never have the supplies to do it or the time,” she said.
Corey provides the supplies and expertise to help people complete different crafts each Saturday for $10-20 each. Some classes are for kids – on Saturday, they made personalized trick-or-treating buckets. Adults made picture frame key holders and make-up organizers.
“It’s practical items that you can make using just about anything,” she said. “You can literally take a cardboard box out of your pantry and make something out of it.”
Both Corey and Giustiniani hope to expand if the classes prove popular. Pick A Class could have each of its three classrooms in use at once, and Corey might have to find a bigger space – her current location on South White Street can handle only six people. They aim to help other downtown businesses as well.
“My vision is that somebody will come from Raleigh or Wakefield or Heritage, take a class, then go over to the brewery or go bowling,” Giustiniani said.