With a career spanning more than 20 years, Balanced Exposure's owner, Russell Lowe, has worn many hats, including forensic photographer, wedding photographer, and commercial photographer. Russell has always had a passion for teaching, which is why he finally opened up his own studio space. He and his staff help novice photographers shake hands with their shutter button during introductory Photo Essentials classes for DSLR cameras, whereas DSLR Advanced classes lead intermediate students further into the world of flash lighting by exploring how to use external flashes, set up studio lighting, and sell paparazzi-style photos of local squirrels to National Geographic. Crime-scene processing classes draw on Russell's background as a court-qualified expert in forensic photography and an evidence technician to teach techniques used by real-world forensics experts. Aspiring wedding and studio photographers hone their craft and practice postproduction techniques in the fully equipped studio, which also hosts professional portrait shoots.
Designed by art educators and art therapists, Magical Minds' bright, cheerful studio fosters creativity and visual thinking via process-driven art experiences. Children aged 4–7 can take a whirlwind tour of the palette-populated countryside with Magical Creations, a class that teaches basic painting, drawing, and sculpture skills ($105 value). More developed doodlers aged 7 and older can try their hands at creating comic book characters and inventing new onomatopoeias, such as glarf, in Comic Book Drawing (a $120 value). Kids aged 4 and older can steep their minds in artistry from around the globe without submitting their finger-paints to body scans in Art Around the World ($105 value). Click here to see the complete list of class options. No matter which class your wee one chooses, he or she will engage a variety of visual and sensory stations while boosting hand-eye coordination and confidence.
Nearly a century old history, Oak Park Art League has colored the community by cultivating and sharing the work of local artists through instruction and exhibitions. During a glass-fusing class, students acquaint themselves with the included materials with deep, ritualistic curtsies before instructors launch into a technical demonstration. Students choose from projects including an ornament, sun catcher, or free-form picture frame, and proud craft parents are free to tote their polished progeny home upon completion.
Taking an all-inclusive approach to music instruction, American Music Institute offers group and private lessons for all ages, experience levels, and styles of music. College-educated teachers lead lessons for voice as well as instruments ranging from guitar and percussion to violin, oboe, and flute. Group classes are available for popular instruments—such as beginning violin and guitar—as well as music theory. Private lessons, meanwhile, provide weekly one-on-one instruction at the institute or in students' homes.
Despite an ever-growing base of more than 1,000 clients, Amy Tripple prefers to say she's honed her skills through her main source of inspiration: her own three children. The former elementary teacher employs her advanced child-handling skills as she captures candid images of young ones, preserving childhood memories more easily than laminating a beloved stuffed animal. The National Association of Child Photographers member also shares her know-how through regular classes that cover the basic elements of DSLR photography and how to manipulate the resulting images in digital scrapbooks and Adobe Photoshop.
A student of Native American, Peruvian, and Siberian shaman traditions, Rhonda Day-Kooy spreads her passion for medicinal plants through the green products, classes, and events offered at Blue Feather. Some of Day-Kooy's customers come to the botanical boutique for aromatherapy certification, and others stop in to purchase eco-friendly skincare products by Babo Botanicals and whimsically flammable wares from Flying Wish Paper. In the Healing Hut, Rhonda and her therapists lead spiritual therapies, including guided meditation, chakra balancing, and foot-based reflexology treatments.