The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center offers an array of educational programs, open to anyone with an interest. Classes are typically geared towards adult learners, with summertime classes offered for youth.
Find current class details and register for upcoming sessions by clicking on the program area links below. We offer classes on a quarterly basis (starting January, April, July, October) and registration opens about six weeks prior to the start of each quarter.
For questions about registering, attending classes, finding us, and more, see "The Fine Print".
Tuition Assistance Scholarships
CAFAC is committed to making our classes accessible to anyone with an interest and are pleased to provide income-based assistance to students. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Community Arts Education Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation to the arts and cultural heritage fund.
The art of blacksmithing has been practiced for thousands of years to create objects from horseshoes to furniture to swords. Blacksmiths heat iron in a forge and use tools such as a hammer and anvil to shape it to a desired form.
Electronics & Kinetics
The electric spark ignites an array of artistic opportunities in light, sound, and motion. The Arduino physical computing platform can be used to create interactive works of art that incorporate lighting effects like LED or kinetic sculpture that responds to the surrounding environment.
Enameling & Metal Coloration
A variety of options exist to add color to metal, from chemical patinas to unique painterly techniques using pigments. Another is enameling, a process of fusing glass powder to a substrate such as metal using heat which results in a smooth durable and attractive coating.
Encaustic is an ancient process in which colored pigments are added to heated beeswax, which is then applied to a surface. The technique has both painterly and sculptural aspects, using special tools and brushes as the wax cools to the surface.
Glass technology and artistry dates back 5000 years and today encompasses slumping, fusing, jewelry, sculpture, and stained glass windows. Glass artisans use fire, tools and ultimately light to bring a vibrant kinetic energy to their creations.
Fire art forms of jewelry fabrication include traditional metalsmithing, casting, and piercing, as well as new techniques using metal clay. Classes also cover patinas and coloration techniques.
Metal casting is an ancient process that is still widely used today. In a foundry, metal is cast into shape by placing it in a crucible and heating it until molten, then poured into a mold where it cools and solidifies.
Neon signage is becoming a thing of the past in commercial settings but it lives on artistic applications. Neon signs are produced by bending glass tubes, coated with phosphors on the interior, which are then filed with neon or argon gas and electrified.
Fire/LED performance is a group of disciplines that involve manipulation of objects glowing with flame or light. They are often performed to music and have been a traditional part of cultures from around the world for centuries.
This ancient metalworking technique utilizes the malleable quality of non-ferrous metals to create a raised design using small hammers and other simple tools. Chasing is the opposite process in which a designed is refined by pushing the metal from the front.
Welding & Metal Fabrication
Welding is a fabrication process used to create a strong permanent bond between metals and is a key skill needed for sculptural and functional projects. Classes also cover torch cutting, brazing, and metal coloration techniques.
Fire arts classes for 13-18 year olds (age ranges vary by class - see class descriptions for specifics).
SPARC: Studio Pass at Reduced Cost
Open shop time for intermediate/advanced students working independently on projects.
The Fine Print
Everything you need to know about how to register and pay for classes; applying for a tuition assistance scholarship; transfers, cancellations, and refunds; and other details related to class registration.
Note: the calendar below displays classes and events happening at CAFAC, but to check the start and end dates of particular classes, refer to the listings above.