Sandra Biddix sparks creative fires beneath the right brains of artists during BYOB painting classes. Homebrought wine, beer, and snacks fuel artists throughout the three-hour session, furnishing energy and inspiration to render such themes as Visions of Sugarplums, Tropical Holiday, and Invisible Man on White. As the instructor's words guide and encourage, students stripe canvases with colorful pigments. All supplies are included, and at the lessons' end, guests can take home a completed painting to spruce up a bedroom or conceal a safe full of collectible wooden nickels.
The mixologists at ABC Bartending School divulge saloon secrets during certification-based and recreational bartending classes. During two-week certification courses, burgeoning bartenders mix classic and popular drinks while learning about alcohol laws, responsible liquor service, and stocking and inventory. Alternatively, an entertaining mixology course lets amateurs shake up drinks and take cover from projectile champagne corks behind an ornate bar with mirrors and gold trim. Once finished imparting their knowledge, the instructors set students up with ABC’s job-placement program, which puts certified graduates to work everywhere from restaurants and nightclubs to the zero-G sports bar where astronauts celebrate successful trips to the moon.
At O3 Health and Fitness, Keith Wimsett leads a team of certified trainers while his wife Marlena rubs down recovering muscles with therapeutic massage. Keith and his team advocate a four-tiered philosophy built around increasing strength and cardiovascular endurance while monitoring food intake and hydration. Personal trainers work with individuals or small groups to forge customized fitness plans while also eliciting sweaty smiles through group boot camps.
Each of YMCA of Western North Carolina's five branches and 19 childcare sites remains true to its lasting mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, caring, responsibility, and respect as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, basketball courts, and personal-training sessions. They’ve also filled their fitness centers with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during cardio-dance and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead more than 200 programs, including children’s day camps, after-school programs, and dance classes.
In 2012, the Runaway Circus struck upon a brilliant idea—find an unused studio space to fix up and turn into a community art center dedicated to teaching and practicing acrobatics, juggling, comedy, and highly physical performance art. That dream became the Toy Boat Community Art Space, which today provides a home base for such acts as the jugglers Forty Fingers and a Missing Tooth and the mysterious Wendal Wandell, who conjures waves of applause with his feats of legerdemain. Those without a big-top passion project to work on at the gym-cum-art studio can participate in other upcoming events involving folk music acts, DJ sessions, goofy plays for young and old, and unpredictable comedy shows.
Kids Clubs, led by a former first-grade teacher, warms youngsters to the idea of learning through fun, highly interactive classes targeted at building specific skills, from reading comprehension to public interaction. Craft clubs and Lego-building classes inspire creativity and show students how to accomplish goals through projects. Other classes help students accurately complete their homework and combine elements of literature and theater to strengthen reading comprehension. Even babies can exercise their brains during sessions that strive to improve their motor skills and prepare them to ace the bar exam.