Inspired by the bright, rich colors of 18th-century French and Swedish design, longtime Greenville resident Jennie Leigh Gainey revitalizes tired old home decor or furniture pieces with a distinct aesthetic that Town magazine calls "Alice in Wonderland meets Ethan Allen." Gainey's refurbished furniture pieces evoke simultaneous airs of refined gentility and informal hominess, like an ivy-covered country manor or an English baron in sweatpants. Having traded in the makeup brushes she once used to makeover the likes of Matthew McConaughey for more conventional art supplies, Gainey uses coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to impart an antique finish to nearly any surface. Eager DIY-ers can gather to glean her technique during relaxed BYOB painting parties.
Design With Wine's founders—the mother-and-daughter team of Joan and Susan Earle—supply their students with almost everything they need to have artistic, entertaining nights. The only things they ask students to bring are their favorite beverages, which can be beer, wine, nonalcoholic drinks, or champagne, which is also what most artists use to add sparkle to their paintings. Their BYOB painting classes contain ingredients to nurture students’ inner artists, from paintbrushes and canvases to helpful tips for vividly rendering the nights' subjects. During each two- to three-hour session, instructors take students through the entire painting process step by step from beginning to end, and they leave no individual stranded or helpless. At the end of each night, students walk away with their colorful paintings, mementos of their experiences that add aesthetic appeal to walls.
Forrest Briggs claims the South as his home, and indeed he grew up and attended college there. As a photography student, he earned admission into several galleries and juried exhibitions, but his post graduate work honed his eye. He travelled the world, learning to speak fluent Vietnamese and becoming trapped in Nepal during the 2006 coup d’état, all the while documenting his journeys through his camera. The temporary expatriation sharpened his skills, helping him excel at photographic composition, natural lighting strategies, and more abstract concepts such as how to make photos “pop.”
Now, as a photographer and teacher, he passes along these lessons to a new generation of shutterbugs, while lending his eye and skill to clients in search of classic portraiture and boudoir shoots. He also has an eye for shooting martial arts action, working behind the scenes at mixed martial arts events and even pulling a stint as the personal photographer of Cheryl Murphy, nine-time US Nationals Karate Champion.
Since 1976, American Dance Club's instructors—some of whom spent time stomping the boards in Broadway spectaculars—have transformed students into fancy footworkers. During 30- or 60-minute private and group lessons, teachers two-step pupils through the fundamentals of social dances such as ballroom, Argentine tango, country western, and shag, a style of swing that generally ends with dancers hiding their dropped partners in rolled-up carpets. After perfecting their moves in the encouraging one-on-one sessions, guests can strut their stuff during dance parties every Friday night from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
At Vintage Made Modern, guests learn to breathe new life into furniture, walls, and flooring with Chalk Paint, decorative paint by Annie Sloan. Hands-on workshops teach participants to transform old decor and furniture using a variety of painting and finishing techniques. Water-based Chalk Paint works with wood, metal, leather, fabric, and matte plastic and boast wide versatility—when mixed with wax they sparkle with a polished sheen, and when diluted with water, they allow wood grain to show through.