For more than three decades, locally owned Spectrum Athletic Clubs have aimed to create a resort-like experience for patrons with upscale perks and personalized care. After workouts, gym-goers can avail themselves of unlimited towel service and change in comfortable locker rooms. Other amenities include saunas, steam rooms, healthy cafes, specialized workout areas, and complimentary Internet access.
In addition, racquetball courts let athletes improve their game independently, and patrons can sweat solo on cardiovascular equipment with individual viewing screens. Group classes, more than 1,200 of which are held daily, include Zumba, Pilates, Body Combat, and CXWorx sessions and enable trainees to draw motivation from each other or from each exercise studio's complimentary tank of moxie. The Spectrum Kids Club gives kids a place to play while adults work out and hosts such events as pool parties and pizza parties throughout the year.
The kiln-savvy teachers at Cibolo Creek Pottery show students how to fuse colored glass, use a throwing wheel, or hand-build ceramic structures. Pottery classes build on fundamental skills, such as using glaze, wielding appropriate tools, and shaping clay into functional toupees. During scheduled classes, pupils can customize their painted clay or glass creations to yield eye-catching decorations such as those in the online gallery.
Founded with the goal of outfitting its pupils with the skills necessary to excel in the spa and salon industries, Milan Institute of Cosmetology deploys a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes professionalism and hands-on learning to train fledgling cosmetologists and aestheticians around the country. As the most important aspect of the course of study, student salons and spas serve as a real-world classroom wherein nascent beauticians—under the careful supervision of their instructors—can practice their newly minted skills on humans or sentient mannequins. The beauty apprentices gussy up patrons head to toe via sundry lavish salon and spa services—specific to each location—that may include nail services, haircare, facials therapeutic massages, or nourishing body wraps.
Since 2008, the planners behind ZSR Event Productions have stayed busy, consulting on big events, managing crowds at large venues, and designing weddings that racked up awards from nuptial-planning sites such as The Knot and WeddingWire. Fortunately, they’re not shy about sharing the secrets of one aspect of their success: DJing. The company’s DJ Academy preps aspiring jockeys for parties of all types, from simple wedding-reception gigs to scratch-filled live mixing sets. Instructors with more than 20 years of experience teach single-session and multiweek courses, each of which cater to different experience and interest levels. Students learn about gear and software, coming away from their classes with DJ and producing skills as well as—thanks to the academy’s certification course—opportunities for employment.
At Vino van Gogh, everyone’s canvas ends up bearing a masterpiece—or at least the semblance of one. “Copying masterpieces is the oldest tradition of learning how to paint,” says Joy, who guides students in re-creating renowned paintings step by step and also tells them about the life of their famous artists. She and her fellow instructors—all certified art teachers—equip pupils with everything needed to reimagine Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky Above the Clouds or Monet’s Venice Twilight, including Winsor & Newton University brushes and a rainbow of acrylics.
“People say this feels like a happy place,” Joy says, describing the 14-foot-ceilinged studio’s atmosphere of encouragement. She helps guests to feel at home by equipping the kitchenette with ice, a corkscrew, cups—everything needed to celebrate a birthday party or just the end of a long week. Students can also bring their own snacks to coax timid muses out of their lairs with trails of graham-cracker crumbs.
In addition to nurturing artistic talent in humans, Vino van Gogh is dedicated to helping fellow furry creatures by offering monthly classes whose proceeds support the Animal Defense League and AAPAW. “I’m lucky to have the resources to give back,” says Joy, herself the owner of three rescue dogs, whose portraits she's often painted in her signature bright, Fauvist--inspired style.:m]]