At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
Arts and crafts might seem like a solo activity, but Ink It Up owner Jenn knows it doesn't have to be. The amiable artisan believes her passion is only more enhanced when shared with a group. And together with her network of clients and fellow crafters, she holds weekly meet-ups during which she teaches new techniques for making clever, handmade, and functional paper-based projects. Though the themes often change, her two-hour workshops have previously focused on making decorative bags, playful cards, and working sinks from paper. Sessions also often include goodie bags or other treats that students get to take home.
Local artists reign at Painting Above the Bar, where their work adorns the walls and their expertise is shared during BYOB painting classes. During each evening session, students grab supplied brushes and paints and create their own take on the lesson’s themed project, which ranges from natural vistas to holiday scenes. For a spin on the average party, the staff oversees private gatherings, after which all guests can take home their creations.
One A'Chord creates sweet sounds through instrument and voice lessons. Its instructors help students achieve their highest potential with a focus on technique and devotion to the craft. In addition to offering regular lessons, One A'Chord performs in local venues and hosts Summer Quake, a six-week summer arts extravaganza designed to help young artists pursue writing, music, dance, and other creative interests.
What began as a small studio with five enthusiastic dance students has transformed into a full-fledged company that's educated thousands and won multiple awards along the way—including a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. Today, Strictly Street Salsa has a whole team of instructors that has danced its way across the likes of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, and Rome and is ready to introduce students to new cultures through the art of dance. The studio offers classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced dancers in both salsa and tango and hosts dance workshops that blend Latin dance with various cultural elements, including African movement, gypsy music, and good old-fashioned American screaming.
As a child, potter and instructor Linda Munoz unearthed her passion for the arts during ballet, piano, guitar, and painting lessons. Motivated by her spiritual beliefs, she fleshed out her creative side into a career when she founded Lambda Pottery. Her studio showcases her original stoneware, largely crafted atop the potter's wheel, and houses pottery lessons designed to accommodate all ages. The classes take place once or twice a week for eight weeks and hone in on students' areas of interest. During each lesson, Linda incorporates basics such as molding clay into dishes, trimming and texturizing, and affixing handles or rubber ears onto vases.