21+ Nights are like a date night with STEAM where you learn how to make something new, and even take it home with you at the end of the night.

People mingle, a guest expert shows us something cool, we all try to make or do that cool thing, and drinks and dinner keep everyone feeling open and energized. When many museums and local businesses here in Pittsburgh started hosting events like this, we knew wanted to get in on the action, and include the STEAMy, hands-on learning that we bring to every Assemble program.

21+ Nights are Assemble workshops geared towards teaching new skills, like coding or 3D printing or weaving, to the big kids like you and me. Everyone gets to meet a local maker, artist, technologist, or hobbyist, and make a friend or two while trying something new.

Adult beverages accompany making and learning, with substance!

<aside> 🍷 Some of our favorite 21+ Night themes: 🌹 Spoken word poetry 📒 Journal making 🍶 Kombucha brewing 🍆 Sex toy creation 🥬 Kimchi making


Why host a 21+ Night?

Programming geared toward adults connects local artists and makers with your broader community. Getting the big broad community into your space is vital: it's how you learn about your community, and build strong, lasting bonds with your neighborhood. Adult programming gives people who don't have kids access to your space, and an avenue for getting involved, creating a mutually beneficial exchange.

Also, if you plan them right, 21+ Nights can be a revenue generator for your organization.


Adults also want to learn things, and to meet new people! They may not have a lot of informal opportunities to learn, especially skills that might enrich their lives but that they don't necessarily need at work. And it's hard to make friends beyond your circles of work and kid's friends. 21+ Nights create a space to learn and make friends. Grown-up people want that, too. (Turns out adults aren't that different from kids, huh?)

Let's get down to the details

When it happens:

Friday evenings, for 2 hours at a time

For these folks:

Curious grown-up people who want to try something different, and maybe make some friends; Singles, couples, and girls nights out; People over the age of 21!

How to participate:

Register ahead of time; $35+ per person (depending on materials needed), no-questions scholarships available

<aside> 🕑 Assemble 21+ Nights happen once a month on Fridays during the summer, from 7pm to 9pm

We start with icebreakers, but we also have an understanding that people tend to drift in throughout the course of the night.

Drinks are available from the start! Food timing is dependent on what's being served.

The guest expert leads the activity for the full 2-hour slot. Some folks will spend the entire evening busily working away. Others will want to just help someone else, or spend a shorter amount of time making.


How does this connect to Assemble's . . .

Pedagogy ?

The learning and care that kids benefit from at Assemble isn't just kid stuff. It can be just as powerful for adults. 21+ Nights give grown-ups a break from the daily grind to try something new and have fun. We use the same pedagogical approaches to designing lessons for adults as we do for kids!

<aside> 💫 We didn't come up with this all by ourselves. Just like everything else we do, Assemble's approach to learning with grown-ups is a remix of lots of things we've experienced and loved over the years, including: Workshops at Machine Project, the Saxifrage School, the idea and practice of lifelong learning, and all the other 21+ nights around town.


People ?

21+ Nights need Coordinators responsible for:

The ideal coordinator is connected to the creative community, and uses 21+ Nights as an opportunity to showcase the amazing talents of local makers, artists, technologists, and hobbyists. They also have relationships with the people who help sell tickets: program regulars and local social group leaders.

21+ Nights revolve around Guest Experts sharing their skills. Be sure to communicate with your guest experts early and often about needs, expectations, and compensation! Make sure they know about your unique approach, and the limitations on budget and timing. The adult audience for this program can really open up the activity possibilities, so be on the lookout for very specific ingredients and materials that may need to be ordered far in advanced, and/or budgeted for accordingly.