Have you ever wanted to try your hand at parkour, juggling, imaginary map-making, investing, or bee keeping? Get ready to try all that and more at no cost this Sunday afternoon at the Center for Arts at the Armory.
Somerville Skillshare invites the community to partake in a day of free classes led by area artists and entrepreneurs for their inaugural “skill sharing” event. The organization, run by a team of volunteers, seeks to connect talented residents across the city by providing a platform for free collaboration and education.
John Massie, the founder and director of Somerville Skillshare, said this is the first event of its kind in Somerville. He said that Somerville is one of the most talented artist communities in the country, and that he is excited to offer residents the opportunity to learn and connect in a way that encourages individuals to branch out and join the artist conversation.
“If you can make [education] free and open it up to as many people as possible, it’s an exciting thing," Massie said. "By definition, you’re hopefully attracting a very wide group and helping contribute to building community.”
Massie said that he and some of the other volunteers for Somerville Skillshare got the idea from similar events hosted in other cities, such as skillshares in Brooklyn and Boston. While these events have been going on for a few years, Massie said it has been exciting to see the overwhelming response to Somerville inaugurating its own event. More than 800 people have already registered for this free event, proving the city’s interest and demand for an educational platform.
“[You are learning] in a space that’s very informal, a fun setting, free, and you’re doing it with friends and other people in the same boat,” Massie said. “It’s making it as easy and accessible as possible to try new stuff.”
Class spaces will be set up throughout the Armory, Massie said, with about seven classes running simultaneously for 50-minute blocks. A small break will occur between each block, giving attendees time to continue their conversations and find their way to another class of interest. Massie said there will also be space available in the Armory’s café—and later in the performance hall—for individuals to continue discussions they may have started in the classes.
“In the spirit of trying to build and support community around education, we are giving people the space and time regimented during the day to help keep those conversations going,” Massie said.
MaMassie said that he hopes many people will take advantage of this opportunity, whether it is only for one class or for the entire afternoon. He said it’s the perfect invitation to try something new with talented teachers who can answer questions and share their own experiences.
“It is a chance to get a dose or small glimpse into the interesting and diverse things that Somerville residents are doing,” Massie said. “[We want people to walk] away feeling inspired by a class they took or a conversation they had, and to maybe jumpstart a brand new hobby.”
The first Somerville Skillshare will take place on Sunday, March 2, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on classes that will be offered, the organization, or to RSVP, visit the event’s website.
Brooklyn Boulders Somerville will be holding tryouts for the SomerVillains, their inaugural youth climbing team, this Saturday. The rock-climbing team invites climbers ages 8 to 18 of all levels to come show what they’ve got on the rocks.
Dan Braun, the instruction manager at BKBS, said this will be Somerville’s first youth climbing team. The Brooklyn location has boasted a youth team for four years, and some of their climbers are already competing at the national tournament in Colorado, Braun said. He is excited to bring that opportunity to Somerville.
“Anyone can climb,” Braun said. “There is no obligation if you come and try out, plus you might find a passion you never had . . . It is great to start in your youth, because you have everything in front of you, and you can become a strong climber very quickly.”
Braun said there will be tryouts for two teams: a competitive team and a non-competitive team. The tryouts will compose of multiple stations where youth will traverse, climb, play games, and complete other activities that will help the coaches gauge climbing ability and how well youth work with instruction.
“We will be evaluating the kids on how focused they are, how well they take direction, and how strong of a climber they are. You can be on the competitive team and be a weak climber. If you’re very determined and take direction well, there’s no reason you can’t be on the team,” Braun said.
The season begins the week following tryouts and will last about 12 weeks. The second season will start in the fall, when tryouts will be held again, giving youth the opportunity to change teams.
Throughout the season, parents and climbers will carpool to weekend competitions that are held across New England. They will be participating in the USA Climbing's Sport Climbing Series this spring and the American Bouldering Series in the fall.
Braun said that it is always interesting for new gyms to start teams. He said typically a lot of younger kids will try out, but it does not take long for them to develop and improve their climbing abilities.
“Generally there will be a lot of younger kids ages 8 to 12, but they stick with it through the years. Then, you see 14- and 15-year-olds who have become very strong climbers and competitors,” Braun said.
Regardless of experience level, Braun said parents should consider bringing their children to the tryouts. He said rock climbing is something that can be done all over the world and the teams give kids a good foundation for a future in the sport.
“Rock climbing is great physical skill to have, but it’s also very mentally challenging: It’s a physical puzzle,” Braun said. “It’s a great combination of camaraderie and competition . . . They’ll develop as strong climbers, and the climbing community is a great one to be part of.”
Tryouts for the SomerVillains youth climbing teams will take place on Saturday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tryouts and gear rental are free. The price to participate on the noncompetitive team is $400 for the season, and the price to participate on the competitive team is $800 for the season. For more information or to register, visit their website.