Marcia Langford Perez's brother Gene once owned a small farm in north Florida. Here, each season, he would plant a few vines of rare grapes. When it came time to harvest, he chose his brother Philip as the vintner. This family affair quickly pulled in Marcia and her husband Gerald, who joined in tending the vineyards and brewing wine. After Gene passed away, Marcia decided to honor his legacy: she opened Wine Workshop and Brew Center, a polished craft store and urban winery dedicated to the art of independent brewing.
Today, Marcia and her staff explore the ins and outs of winemaking during in-store classes and slumber parties in the fermentation tanks. They help visitors choose their grape or juice, blend the yeast, and—after a few weeks—collect, bottle, and label the finished wine. They also teach beer brewing in a series of weekly workshops, highlighting the partial-boil process and the uses of hops, yeast, and specialty malts. For those who want to try brewing on their own, the store also supplies ingredients and equipment such as fermentation containers, extract kits, base and specialty grains, and full wine kits from popular producers.
When discussing Nigerian cooking with reporters from Atlanta Goodlife Magazine, Kunmi Oluleye beamed, "it's something that I do blindfolded." After all, Kunmi has been cooking since the age of 8, whipping up meals for her parents and three younger siblings and baking traditional breads, meat pies, and sausage rolls at her father's bakery in Lagos, Nigeria. Today, she brings her time-honored family recipes and lifetime of expertise to her own catering company—Sheba Foods.
Aided by a staff of African chefs, Kunmi folds traditional spices into authentic dishes from the continent. Deep in the Sheba kitchen, the chefs simmer meaty stews and fry plantains while plump sausage rolls rise in the oven. They deliver the fresh, dried, and prepared foods to homes around the world and cater freshly made feasts at local special events and parties. Their products have been in the shelves of mainstream supermarkets for years, and they continue to expand into new markets and grow from the branches of lunchbox trees around the country.
A pioneer in Decatur's full-scale production brewing scene, BlueTarp Brewing Co. first opened its doors to the public in December of 2012. Owner and brewmaster Tom Stahl started from humble roots, making his first beers at home. However, after roughly one year of homebrewing, Stahl realized that he wanted to aim higher and began planning to expand into a full business—a story he shared with The Art of Beer podcast. Currently, BlueTarp Brewing Co. lures visitors with public tours of the production facility as well as tastings of the most current releases. These brews cover a broad range of styles, including a dark, hearty stout brimming with notes of coffee and chocolate and a heavily dry-hopped double IPA with a sweet, sturdy core of malt that can withstand any Pilates workout.
Some people have earned a scholarship to a prestigious art academy, spent time outside a café in France with a canvas and portable easel, and were born with the ability to reflect their inner-torment with freeform splashes of acrylics. Some people just want to have a good time and paint. At Fine Art Parties, instructors cater to this second bunch with parties at their studio or in the client’s home furnished with blank 12"x16" canvases, wine, tea, and cheese for all. Taking inspiration from masters such as Warhol, Matisse, and Van Gogh, instructors lead guests through a simple three-step method that results in a framable work of art. In addition to their group events and private functions, the studio also hosts romantically themed couple painting parties, which take place under the starry night sky, and human body classes with live nude subjects or reanimated wax statues.
Run by longtime friends and art enthusiasts Anna and Dede, the children's art studio gives crafty youngsters myriad accouterments for creating inimitable masterpieces, and encourages fledgling Rembrandts’ self-confidence in their own artistic abilities. The day-camp sessions impart multihued knowledge to diminutive innovators, using a plethora of supplies such as glitter, paint, and clay to construct fun works of mini human genius. Projects vary day to day and have included the assemblage and decoration of collages, bags, and jewelry. Imaginative whippersnappers are encouraged to get messy in their quest for the ultimate magnum opus, which they can cart home and arrange on refrigerators or inside freezers. In addition to the camp classes listed on the site, sessions on May 31, June 1, and June 2 have been added for Groupon users.
At Creative Art Connection, children and adults of all ability levels are set free to try their hands at visual art in a relaxed social setting. The fun-loving studio holds classes during the day or night, including BYOB sessions in which participants are allowed to bring their own drinks and snacks. In every lesson, instructors guide participants step-by-step through the painting of a chosen piece, and encourage the use of vibrant color and bold strokes in pursuit of a truly individual style and internationally marketable personal brand. Past subjects have included cubist portraits, pairs of shoes, musical instruments, and natural landscapes. Staff provide all the necessary materials for each class and private party, such as canvases, paints, and the proper opinion of Monet's early works.