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Open MINDS Institute

Open MINDS Institute is an exploratory ‘classroom without walls’ presenting topical seminars and workshops. Guided by master professors, your commitment to the ‘life of the mind’ is rewarded with stimulating, topical ideas. These classes are entirely participatory, seeking ongoing dialogue between teachers and students as a learning partnership. This year marks new collaborations with the Fairfield University College of Arts & Sciences and the Pequot Library.

Courses are $290 each. QCA Member price per course is $275. Enroll in two or more courses and enjoy a discounted price of just $250 per course. All course registrations through the Quick Center Box Office.

Opera and Us for Beginners: Exploring Live from the Met

Instructor: Erik Novoa
Quick Center for the Arts
Begins September 26 - Ends October 31, 2019
(no class on October 24)
Thursdays, 1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.


During our exploration of opera, we will examine some of the most well-known melodies in the upcoming season from Live at the Met as well as other essential works.

The Supreme Court: Its Greatest Cases

Instructor: Alan Neigher
Pequot Library
Begins October 8 – Ends November 5, 2019
Tuesdays, 1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.


This course, designed for non-lawyers, will address the most significant cases of the Supreme Court's 230-year history in the following areas: race and civil rights; freedom of expression and privacy; money and commerce; and criminal justice.

Fact in the Age of Fake News: American Democracy’s Stress Test

Instructor: Matthew Tullis, Ph.D.
Pequot Library
Begins October 9 – Ends November 6, 2019
Wednesdays, 1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.


Fake news is nothing new. In this workshop, participants will discuss what fake news really is and the different forms it can take, who is producing it, how to spot it, who to trust in the media landscape and who not to.

Love, Lust, and Luxury; The Art of 15th Century Florence

Instructor: Fiona Garland
Quick Center for the Arts
Begins October 16 - Ends November 13, 2019
Wednesdays, 10:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.


This course will examine how one city produced such a remarkable and prolific inventory of artists; from Masaccio to Michelangelo and from Donatello to da Vinci. The final class will be a one-hour tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s incredible Florentine collection.

Celluloid Savagery: American Indians, Hollywood, and the Malformation of National Identity

Instructor: Peter Bayers, Ph.D.
Pequot Library
Begins February 3 - Ends March 9, 2020
(no class on February 17)
Mondays, 1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.


This course examines Hollywood’s representations of the “savage” American Indian and its implications for national identity, as well as Native American filmmakers’ appropriation of film to flip the malformed Hollywood script and U.S. National identity.

Modern Art: A Guide for the Perplexed

Instructor: Danielle Ogden
Quick Center for the Arts
Begins February 12 – Ends March 11, 2020
Wednesdays, 11:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.


Get ready to strengthen your visual perception skills, pull back the curtain on today’s art world, and demystify the question, “what is modern art?” The fifth class will be at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Beethoven at 250

Instructor: Orin Grossman, Ph.D.
Quick Center for the Arts
Begins February 18 – Ends March 17, 2020
Tuesdays, 11:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.


No composer has fired the imagination and moved the consciousness of more people than Ludwig van Beethoven, enjoying his 250th birthday in 2020. As concerts throughout the world celebrate the event, this class will explore some of the reasons why his genius continues to resonate with us and inspire us.

Four Writing Challenges: An Author’s Journey

Instructor: Lary Bloom
Pequot Library
Begins March 3 – Ends March 24, 2020
Tuesdays, 1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.


In each of four sessions, this course will focus on one of Bloom’s projects that speaks to the larger issues that writer’s face. Each is drawn from a different project: for The New York Times, Connecticut Magazine, excerpts from a ghost-written book, and culminating in the challenges of researching and writing the new biography, Sol LeWitt: A Life of Ideas.

Affectionate Communication: An exploration of risks & benefits of a pivotal message

Instructor: Sean Horan, Ph.D.
Pequot Library
Begins March 4 – Ends April 8, 2020
(no class on March 11)
Wednesdays, 1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.


This course will discuss the various ways we view affection, its role in maintaining established relationships, and the physiological benefits of affection. We will also discuss the risks of affectionate communication, ranging from rejection to face-threats to deception.