PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 10, 2010 - "Back to school" is taking on a different meaning in Providence where eclectic and fun learning vacation opportunities, including acting, painting and cooking classes, are being offered alongside opportunities to study programs to conserve and protect Narragansett Bay. Long known as a city that celebrates creativity, Providence is home to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country, including Brown University, Johnson & Wales University and the Rhode Island School of Design, some of which open their doors to travelers interested in more than just swimming pools and shopping. 

Some city hotels are also supporting this trend, such as the Hotel Providence which is offering a new workshop series entitled "Discover Your Passion." The series is ideal for people who wish to pursue their passion such as writing a novel, composing a perfect photo or mastering a paintbrush. One such opportunity is on November 14 and 15, 2010, when Hotel Providence will offer Beginners Photography with acclaimed photographer Robyn Rowles. The two-day immersion program includes accommodations, two days of expert instruction, lunch, and dinner on Saturday, breakfast on Sunday and parking. Rates begin at $369 for single occupancy and $514 for double occupancy. For a complete list of courses and additional information, or to book, visit

Other learning vacation opportunities in Providence include:


Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Providence visitors interested in art will find just what they're looking for at the RISD Museum of Art. An annual calendar of exhibition programs, gallery conversations, art workshops, and art history seminars is available. On the third Thursday of every month, the Museum participates in the city's "Gallery Night," a city-wide celebration of the arts. Guests may participate in a free art lesson anytime from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. while enjoying live music and refreshments. For a complete calendar listing, visit



The Steel Yard Workshops


The Steel Yard is located at the historic Providence Steel and Iron site, along the Woonasquatucket River in the heart of the city's Industrial Valley neighborhood. Two new workshops have been added to the calendar for the fall season including "Beyond Glazing: Surface Decaling, Silkscreening, and Stenciling on Ceramics" with Dave Allyn and "Wearable Mementos: Jewelry Making and Found Objects." The intensive short-term and multi-session courses provide instruction and training in a wide range of industrial and fine arts. Courses include sculpture ceramics, glass casting, and bike maintenance, among others. Taught by working artists and tradespeople, the courses enable students to develop technical and vocational skills while working creatively. For more information and a full course schedule, visit


Trinity Repertory Company Acting Classes

For the 2010-2011 Season, the Trinity Rep is offering new acting classes for adults. Classes are limited to 10 students and courses include Introduction to Acting; Audition Techniques; Advanced Acting; Intro to Improv; and Shakespeare. On Saturdays, the theatre company is offering a chance to explore and investigate the Trinity Rep artistic process during a new and improved "Beyond the Stage" series. Participants will engage in various workshop activities, discussions, play readings and behind-the-scenes encounters that center around onstage work. For more information, visit


Save the Bay Marine Tours

Save the Bay, an organization dedicated to protecting, restoring and improving the ecological health of the Narragansett Bay region, fosters an ethic of environmental stewardship among people who live in or visit the area. As part of this effort, seasonal marine tours are offered to help educate families and travelers about the importance of preserving the bay. The most popular tours are the seasonal seal watch, available November through April and the Ultimate Lighthouse Tours, available in the fall. Boats depart from both Providence and Newport. For a tour schedule and more information on other Save the Bay educational programs, visit


Savoring Rhode Island Culinary Tours

Foodie travelers to Rhode Island can enjoy these specialty tours offered in the ultimate food city of Providence. Chef Cindy Salvato guides participants through Federal Hill, the center of business and culture for Providence's Italian population since the turn of the century. The tour visits traditional and modern bakeries, the wine shop that brought Italian wines and spirits to New England, butchers and poultry markets, and specialty food markets. Chef Salvato describes each retailer and makes introductions to chefs, bakers and pasta makers. She shares tips and advice about Italian cooking and how to use ingredients found in Federal Hill shops. Each tour operates for approximately three hours and costs $50 per person with a limit of 14 participants. For a tour schedule or to book, visit


Johnson & Wales Culinary Art Museum

A brand new interactive exhibit entitled "Rhode Island...Small State, Big Taste," will be on display from October 2010 through June 2011 in the museum's temporary exhibition gallery. Travelers will have a chance to explore the eccentricities of Rhode Island foods, from hot wieners to Del's Frozen Lemonade, coffee milk, pizza strips, and stuffies. Kids will have the opportunity to measure their weight in lobsters, according to a vintage lobster scale from George's of Galilee. Or, they can try their hand as a Munroe Dairy delivery person by taking a seat in a replica milk truck. All visitors can voice their opinion on their favorite Rhode Island food. For more information on this and other food-related exhibits, visit

Johnson & Wales University, Cooking Courses

Chef's Choice® is an innovative program of hands-on cooking classes taught by professional chef-instructors. The interactive one-day classes are designed for chefs of all levels and interests. The minimum age requirement to participate in Chef's Choice classes is 16 years old for the adult classes and 21 years old for wine classes. Kids' and teens' classes are also available. Classes begin at $65 per person. For more information or to register, visit


Chef Walter's Cooking School and Classes

Executive Chef Walter Potenza of Walter's Ristorante d'Italia, located in Providence's historic Federal Hill, begins his 15th year of culinary classes this October. Most classes are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-9:30 p.m., with 1.5 hours of dedicated cooking, followed by dinner and a complimentary glass of wine. Each class is $75 per person and limited to 10-12 students. For a full schedule of upcoming classes or to register, visit


For more information or to book a learning vacation in Providence, please visit


~ The Creative Capital ~

Providence is a vibrant and energetic destination boasting some of the country's finest educational institutions paired with a pulsating artistic landscape.  The city's history of innovation, dating back to its founding father Roger Williams, drives a strong sense of place and encourages residents and visitors alike to view Providence as a leading art and cultural destination.  Providence seamlessly blends the urban sophistication of a big city with the graceful charm of a small town replete with internationally-acclaimed restaurants and a thriving arts scene.  Media can also visit for latest press releases and images. Follow on Twitter at LouHammondPR.