Today, writer Claire Gibson joins us with an update on The Skillery‘s fall classes:





Imagine it’s a hot afternoon, and you’re staring down a brand new ice cream maker you brought home from the store. But there’s a problem. You’ve never made ice cream. So, what’s your next move? For many of us, the next move would be a handy dandy Google search.

But thanks to The Skillery, that’s no longer your only option. The Skillery launched in 2010 as an online marketplace for in-person classes led by experts. It’s like grad school without the debt. Or, like camp without the mosquito bites. After all, who wants to read an online ice cream recipe when you can join a class led by the founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Jeni Britton Bauer? No one. That’s who.


Jeni demonstrating ice cream how-to’s at a class this summer



“Our ‘offline focus’ deliberately runs counter to the overwhelming and exhaustive trend of ‘online everything,’” says Skillery founder Matt Dudley. “We’re not shy about trying to get Nashvillians up off the couch, to shut off Netflix and Facebook, and to connect with the wealth of talent that lies just around the corner.”

In the last three years, The Skillery has offered hundreds of classes to thousands of people across Nashville on topics ranging from ballroom dance to DIY composting. (I even led a class for freelance writers once, called “How to Pitch.”) And this spring, the Skillery’s programming coordinator Katie Vance facilitated an ice cream making demonstration, led by Jeni Britton Bauer. At the event, 50 ticket holders salivated while Jeni churned Backyard Mint and Strawberry ice creams from her James Beard Award-winning cookbook. Students asked questions, taste-tested, and learned the basics of butterfat, texture and flavor from a woman who lives and breathes dairy.

And all along the marble bar, there was a notable presence of food bloggers and female entrepreneurs, too—as interested in Jeni’s business model as they were in her ice cream. The Skillery attracts a natural following of creative entrepreneurs, self-starters, and freelancers. With that community clamoring for more in-person education, Dudley and his team took note.


“The Skillery’s upcoming [fall] schedule will focus on helping members of this community start and grow their creative businesses, while highlighting the work they do and the brands they’re building,” Dudley said. “We’ve learned a lot in the last year. Now it’s time to take some bold steps that combine what we’ve learned with what we believe is still possible.”

After a brief summer hiatus, The Skillery will re-launch this October with newly designed programming, their first brick-and-mortar location, and a fresh outlook on their mission in Nashville. And though the practices might change, the mission of the Skillery will always remain the same. In a world where Google vies and often wins the battle for our curiosity, The Skillery hopes to serve learners face-to-face.

Thanks, Claire! Our curiosity is killing us–we can’t wait to see the fall lineup of workshops. 

Like The Skillery on Facebook today to be the first to know about their soon-to-be-announced new home and their fall offerings: (You can sign up for their email newsletter on FB, too.)

Headshot2012_1Claire Gibson is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. A former Army brat, Claire loves writing about travel, food, faith, and education. When she’s not writing, drinking coffee, cooking, or running with her Vizsla named Cooper, she’s probably out hunting for the world’s best margarita. Claire is the Forbes Travel Correspondent for Nashville and her work has been featured in The Christian Science MonitorThe TennesseanThe Nashville PostAmerican Songwriter, and Bearings, among others. See more of Claire’s writing here.