Portrait painting used to require a subject to sit for hours on end, forcing them to first take tedious lessons on not moving from willing ventriloquist dummies. Thankfully, modern technology allows Daniel Dean to take a more practical approach. When a client commissions a portrait, Mr. Dean first snaps hundreds of images of them during a photo shoot, focusing on capturing natural expressions that show their personality. As clients return to their daily lives, he refers to the images to produce works of art. The result is a life-like, yet uniquely stylized, oil painting.
Every stroke of Mr. Dean’s brush is guided by his extensive art background. The artist trained as an oil painter, and earned an undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati. When not painting, he shares his expertise as an adjunct professor at UC and the University of Dayton, and trains younger students during classes held at his studio.
The aesthetic champions at My Little Red Haus put the power of paint, canvas, and crafts into tiny, eager hands, earning recognition as The Best Place for Kids by Montgomery's Downtown District for the last two years. Children’s mixed-media courses welcome youngsters to learn and practice using a variety of materials and skills. Diminutive Da Vincis and atomic Andy Warhols will draw, paint, and glue a mixed-media creation to beautify fridges, bedrooms, and adorable interrogation rooms. Younger mini-artists (ages 4–6) begin with the basics, polishing motor skills and exploring crafty knowledge of color, line, textures, and shapes, from the familiar circle to the tricky five-pointed triangle. Older kids (ages 7–12) get pointers on their budding artistic skills.
From the welcoming confines of her art studio, Jen Meade calls on more than 35 years of experience as a self-taught artist as she shepherds visitors through their own colorful journeys of self-expression. Group classes for adults instill painters of all levels with new brushing skills, and private lessons give students one-on-one attention to focus on useful techniques, such as disguising mistakes with unobtrusive trees and bobcats wearing sunglasses. During Jen's specialty classes, brushstrokes elude the canvas to instead embellish a variety of creative keepsakes, such as paintable wineglasses and articles of clothing.
Patty first discovered rock climbing in college. “I got sucked in right away,” she says. Before long, she found herself marrying a fellow climber—a man she met at Climb Time back when it was still managed by the original owners who also blended their relationship with climbing. “They got married at the gym,” Patty says, describing how the first owners scaled the roof to say their "I dos." Though Patty and her husband didn’t exchange rings at the top of a wall, they did decide to buy the gym.
The expansive arena challenges climbers with a 24-foot climbing wall, where novice and expert mountaineers alike grasp handholds with chalked palms or coax a gorilla to carry them up piggyback style. Along the other side of the facility, Patty and crew dare climbers to test their strength on a wide array of 15- to 60-degree bouldering inclines that sit above moveable pads to cushion jumps or falls.
All year long, Ohio ATV World hands over the keys to a stable of well-maintained Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Polaris all-terrain vehicles that purr beneath riders as they wind down through 16 miles of trails in Hocking Hills Nature Trails. In rain, sleet, snow, or sun, attentive staff members provide helmets before indoctrinating off-road skills into beginners and experts, who can zip through trail barrels and ramps atop their four-wheelers. Off the beaten path, Ohio ATV World arranges group outings and birthday-party activities, such as scavenger hunts set amid the park’s scenic foliage and natural wildlife.
Roughly translated, tae kwon do means "the way of the foot and the fist." With more than 2,000 years of history behind it, the ancient martial art mixes movements of karate and kung fu with Korean kicking techniques. Since 2001, Cincinnati TaeKwonDo Academy has shared this authentic style of tae kwon do with students of all ages—some as young as 4 years old.
Today, the academy divides itself into four age-appropriate programs. The Lil Leaders program, for instance, teaches young kids the basics, focusing on the eight specific skills—including coordination, speed, and structure—that are critical to performing tae kwon do and escaping the time-out corner. On the older end of the spectrum, the Impact Teens and Adult program splices tae kwon do training with functional fitness drills and reality-based self-defense practices.
Peachy Seiden, a registered dietitian with 15 years of culinary experience, has penned two books of healthy recipes designed for cooking around a busy schedule. Inside a house painted peach, she teaches groups to prepare nutritious dishes with diverse international influences, including baked penne with health-smart Bolognese and moo shu chicken with flour tortillas for wrapping or tossing like frisbees. She also ladles out health advice and leads weight-loss programs with nutritional assessments and weekly weigh-ins to track progress.