Richard Stromberg is so dedicated to teaching the art of photography that he's held class during a freezing blizzard, a blistering heat wave, and while he was confined to a wheelchair after surgery. Richard brings his fierce dedication and 45 years of photography and teaching experience to his school, where he leads a variety of photography classes alongside a dedicated staff of volunteers. Within spacious classrooms, the seasoned instructors guide students through the techniques of DSLR photography, from basic camera operation to tips on starting up a studio. In addition to mechanics and fundamentals, they also encourage their students to see the world in new aesthetic ways, helping them recognize the beauty of a sunset or the fogged-up monocle of a sensitive millionaire. The dedicated staff can often be spotted at the school before and after class hours helping students work on assignments in the lighting studio, the darkroom, and the expansive computer lab. Twice a year, they showcase pupils’ work in their onsite WithInSight Gallery.
Val Westover and Stephanie Adriana, both authors and photographers, draw from diverse artistic backgrounds. Val once trained hundreds of photographers as the manager of a nationwide portrait studio, and Stephanie has seen her work featured in an array of photography and fashion magazines. Applying fine-tuned artistic styles, they snap candid photojournalistic compositions and posed portraits of new couples, newborns, mothers-to-be, families, and secret families.
They also pass on their skills through step-by-step workshops, during which they use a blend of professional tips and practice exercises to teach the basics of ISO, shutter, and aperture alongside applied artistic principles. They then give protégés free rein to practice what they’ve learned in hands-on, on-location photo safaris, during which students capture shots of wildlife and people.
Like all baby photographers, Steven Kowalski's career began with a heavy dose of rock ‘n’ roll. For three years, he used his camera to capture the up-tempo antics of bands such as Mötley Crüe, Weezer, and Public Enemy. But after more than 300 concerts, Steve decided to settle down and open a Chicago-based photography studio. Steve translated his experience shooting convivial crowds at concerts into expertly photographing family-focused shoots, giving him a unique talent for capturing memorable group shots.
And just as he did with rock stars, Steve uses his camera to capture a baby’s or parent's unique personality. Depending on the client, he can shoot in-studio, at their home, or at locations such as Millennium Park. In addition to babies, Steve also specializes in wedding and fashion photography.
The instructors at ACM School of Music pass the torch of musical aptitude with piano lessons and music-theory classes that kindle classical-music appreciation in a new generation. With a focus on teaching students to write their own compositions, experienced musicians explain the rudiments of the form, from a piece's first quarter note to its adolescent experimentation with mixed-meter phrases to its emergence as a full-grown adult arrangement. The school's resident ensemble, Palomar, breathes life into contemporary compositions with an annual concert series. As a nonprofit driven by the goal to expand the cohort of composers and audience members, ACM also facilitates educational initiatives in local schools and offers programming to Boys & Girls Clubs.
An established arts emporium in its Roscoe Village neighborhood since 1999, Unicoi Art Studio continues to make a name for itself as the go-to destination for children’s art classes. It was the 2008 and 2009 Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Pick Award winner for Best Children's Artsy Classes in the city, and was featured on WGN’s “Around Town,” where youngsters crafted wallets and shoulder bags out of duct tape rather than more conventional materials such as leather or feelings. With an emphasis on unearthing everyone’s innate artistic abilities, the teachers at Unicoi have recently begun instructing adults as well, helping them glean art fundamentals, stretch canvases, and find their own distinct styles.
Guitar Chicago caters to music lovers of all ages by helping them achieve their melodic and rhythmic goals through relaxed, effective instrument instruction. Teachers schooled in myriad genres draw sound buckets from wells of music knowledge and performing experience in order to fortify the skills of both beginning musicians and experienced bards. Fledgling chord learners can take advantage of the school's in-house instruments for no additional charge, eliminating the risk of accidental busking when carting pianos on the bus. Ideal for hectic lifestyles, Guitar Chicago boasts flexible lesson times and easy online scheduling and is within walking distance of public transit.