You could shell out big bucks for a class or a lecture, or, for only $25 bucks for four weeks, you could learn all of the above and much more at the Brooklyn Brainery.
Launched in January by Fort Greene residents Jonathan Soma and Jen Messier, the initiative is part school and part book club, where small groups of curious people can share information and learn together.
Around their work schedules - Messier at the Met and Soma as a web developer - the friends would take classes or attend lectures together. “We didn’t realize how expensive it was getting,” Messier said. “We thought there had to be a way we could try and do it for cheaper.”
That meant instead of finding experts to teach classes on topics ranging from typography to denim to whiskey, they would find people with specialties who were interested in leading a collaborative learning effort.
Their method was so successful that by April, Messier said they found themselves running out of space and wishing for more of a permanent home than their by-the-hour home at the Gowanus Studio Space on 8th Street. So they started a fundraising project through Kickstarter, a relatively new website for raising money online.
They asked donors to give a minimum of $1 towards a new home for the Brainery, with a goal of $9,500 on or before July 2. The results were officially tabulated at 11:59 p.m., but even a few days before the deadline, donations had already topped $9,600.
“It’s a big sigh of relief,” said Messier. “We’re really excited.”
The new space - wherever it will be - will offer more classes, space for lectures, and lending libraries, but visitors won’t just be checking out books.
Lending libraries “are another big thing that we really want to do with the space,” said Messier. The libraries will stock information and how-to manuals on everything from whittling to perfume-making. That way, “people could come in and experiment, and decide if it’s really something they like” before committing to buying their own supplies, she said.
So far, they haven’t picked out the new digs. Messier said it's likely they won't move until the fall. But now that the funds are locked, Messier said the hunt is on for a new location.
For more information or to register for a class, visit their website.