A reiki healer and fifth-generation painter, Hannah Manges believes in the power of intuition, such as when she sensed that what her adult art students needed most was to finger paint. Though she's classically trained, Manges never cared for the rigidity and competitiveness that often characterized the art industry. She further saw that teaching her adult students in a classical tradition took the joy out of things; most of them were there to try something new and expand themselves, not master technique. So during a class in which her students struggled to find joy in their work, she put their canvases away and grabbed a stack of paper plates. Thus began her BYOB finger-painting class, which has evolved into an experience in which people "kick off their shoes, have some wine, and have some fun."
Though the BYOB finger-painting course remains among her most popular—it's earned recognition in local press, such as the Midland Daily News—Manges leads other classes that range from couples' painting workshops to watercolor for beginners. She also teaches art via her television series, Painting Pictures with Hannah Manges, on Midland Community Television Network Channel 99. "I'm becoming a celebrity to all the 80-year-old women in town who read the paper and watch public television," she laughs.
To further encourage students and visitors to become more comfortable with art, Manges posts signs throughout her gallery that say, "Please touch everything." She encourages everyone to fully experience each piece of her art, which includes The Healing Tree series, a collection Manges began to connect with her deceased mother.
The professional auto jockeys at Springport Motor Speedway educate and oversee heart-pumping racing experiences as drivers burn rubber in authentic stock cars around a 3/8-mile-long asphalt track with 18-degree embankments. Auto adventures begin with a drivers' meeting and introduction to the chief instructor, where pupils absorb a comprehensive overview of safety, techniques, and what to do when you have an itch under your helmet. After slipping into a five-point racing harness alongside a practiced motorist, passengers ride along for four laps while gleaning tips to prepare to execute speedway solos. Drivers swap seats for a second set of laps, during which whip handlers follow the lead car and pick up speed across 8 oval orbits before setting out singularly for 10 rotations around the track. During a total of 35 revolutions, clients are privy to a two-way radio that spouts guidance from coaches during solo jaunts.
At Rock Stars Academy, aspiring drummers, bassists, guitarists, and keyboarders take the stage to share recently learned musical concepts and original compositions as they play as a group. During the week, professional music teachers teach musical techniques and fine-tune students' abilities with personalized instruction. The seasoned musicians teach beginners how to properly hold instruments to prevent bad habits that hinder progress, and they tailor lesson programs to each student’s specific goals, such as better understanding the intricacies of modal jazz or playing solos that summon pet chimeras.
In addition to hosting music lessons in guitar, drums, voice, and other instruments, Rock Stars Academy also houses a recording studio, band practice spaces, and a venue that schedules shows. The academy’s technicians also nurse wounded six-strings back to health with guitar repair services.