Screw a diet; create something in 2018

Dance, write, paint, play your way through 2018.

click to enlarge Crafting -, via Pexels, via Pexels

I probably shouldn’t tell you that your New Year’s resolution to lose weight is boring, but it kind of is. It’s great you care so much about your health, but why not throw something more fun into the mix? What if... you had a New Year’s resolution that was healthy and fun? 

A better way to improve your health without starving yourself? Get creative. Studies show that engaging in certain creative endeavors — mainly dance, music, visual art, and writing — can be beneficial to one’s health. Many of these studies are purely observational, but people are seeing more and more that participating in artistic activities can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and pain. Sometimes, they even provide a boost to your immune system.  

Lucky for us, it’s easy to be creative here in the Tampa Bay area. All you have to do is find an activity that works for you and commit to it. We’ve done our research here at CL, and we’ve found over 20 places for you to exercise your creativity in Tampa Bay. Read on for ways to get dancing, playing music, making art, and writing stories in the new year.

click to enlarge Dance - Jazzart Dance Theatre via Wikimedia Commons/CC
Jazzart Dance Theatre via Wikimedia Commons/CC

Let's dance. Check out the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory schedule of classes in dance, music and theater. Most of their dance classes are for kids and teens, but they have some great offerings for adults, too. You can flamenco dance on Fridays, try ballet on Saturday morning or tap out your stress on weeknights. Dance for a season or just dance for a night. 1010 N. WC Macinnes Place, Tampa. Start Jan 16. $21 for one class, $155/10 classes, or $290/20 classes. 813-222-1002. 

Want to learn ballroom or Latin dancing? We have that, too. Actually, we have lots — Arthur Murray, Rhapsody Ballroom and Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Tampa; Salsa Caliente in Ybor; and Suncoast Ballroom and Magic Dance Club in Largo.

click to enlarge Music - pxhere

Play that funky music. Whether it’s participating or just listening, music, like leafy greens, is good for you. Our music editor Ray Roa lists the best live music shows ‘round here each week, so check the paper every Thursday to plan your own music week — and go online to find Ray’s best local albums for 2017. 

Want to make your own music, but you don’t play an instrument? We have a wealth of places to get you started. For private lessons, check out Westchase Music School, New Tampa Piano, American Rock School and Guitar Center in Tampa; Tampa Bay Music Academy in Odessa; the St. Petersburg Music Factory; Sam Ash in Clearwater; and Jim Terry Music in Palm Harbor. The Patel Conservatory offers beginning classes for adults in piano, guitar, violin, cello and voice. 1010 N. Macinnes Place, Tampa. Start Jan 16. $59.50/month. 813-222-1002.

click to enlarge Paint - Jadson Thomas via Pexels
Jadson Thomas via Pexels

Art school girl. When it comes to the visual arts, we’ve got serious game. No matter where you live, there’s an arts center offering classes near you. In St. Petersburg, the Morean has art classes in 10 different media: drawing, painting, jewelry, glass, photography, clay, print making, metal sculpture, fiber arts and mixed media. They host workshops, too, if you’re not ready to commit to a full class. Their Art Snap programs require even less commitment. 719 Central Ave., St. Pete. Start Jan 8. Cost varies. 727-822-7872. 

I had the pleasure of attending Tampa’s Florida Museum of Photographic ArtsPhotography101 class last summer, and there’s another one coming up this month. Also on the schedule: Classes in composition, iPhoneography, fashion photography, Photoshop, lighting, photo blogging, social media photography and creative photography. 400 N. Ashley Dr., Tampa. Start Jan 3. Cost varies. 813-221-2222. 

For the non-photographic arts, take classes at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. They mainly offer drawing and painting classes, but they also have jewelry making and creative furniture finishing classes. 4537 Lowell Rd, Tampa. Start Jan 8. Cost varies. 813-269-1310. 

The Dunedin Fine Art Center has served north Pinellas for over 40 years. Like the Morean, they offer a wide range of classes and workshops in almost every medium imaginable. 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin. Start Jan 8. Cost varies. 727-298-3322. 

Also worth trying: Safety Harbor Art and Music center’s Free Art Fridays and Leepa-Rattner’s new winter art classes in Tarpon Springs.

click to enlarge Writing - Kaboompics // Karolina, via Pexels
Kaboompics // Karolina, via Pexels

Everyday I write the book. Journaling, poetry and personal essay writing top the list of types of writing that can increase your health and well-being. Our local universities overflow with phenomenal writing programns, but if — for whatever reason — you’re not ready to go back to college, enroll in Eckerd College’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. OLLI offers an affordable, non-credit way to take classes. Local author and CL contributor Lisa Kirchner will teach you how to tell your own story in her upcoming Personal Storytelling and Pat Brown will also offer a memoirs workshop. 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Pete. Start Jan 26. Cost varies. 727-864-7600. 

The Paper Seahorse, a Tampa stationary store, periodically offers writing and crafting classes. On January 13, they’ll host a junk journaling workshop, which sounds way more interesting and easy than traditional journaling. 211 S. Howard Ave., Tampa. Jan 13, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. $45. 813-251-8096. 

At Morean Arts Center, Keep St. Pete Lit offers writing classes. Past offerings include poetry and fiction classes, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll have at the LitSpace Literary Arts Institute at the Morean in 2018. 719 Central Ave., St. Pete. Cost varies.  

KSPLit also works with Lisa Kirchner to bring the monthly True Stories at Hawthorne Bottle Shop. You get five minutes to tell your true story, and you can’t use notes. It’s a great way to express yourself and meet other creatives. 2927 Central Ave, St. Pete. Starts Jan 10. $5. 

This should get you started — there’s probably scads of things out there we missed, but we’ll bring them to you throughout 2018. Stay creative, Tampa Bay!

About The Author

Jennifer Ring

Jen began her storytelling journey in 2017, writing and taking photographs for Creative Loafing Tampa. Since then, she’s told the story of art in Tampa Bay through more than 200 art reviews, artist profiles, and art features. She believes that everyone can and should make art, whether they’re good at it or not...
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