Sharon Owens lowers the bulb of an ornament into the sharp blue flame of her workstation’s torch, heating the glass until it glows a vibrant yellow. Applying the skills she learned in her schooling at Purdue University, her three-year apprenticeship, and her studies with a host of artisan glassworkers, she presses her mouth to the piece’s hollow stem. Whatever shape it will take, only she knows.
This scene has been a regular occurrence at Inspired Fire since 2002, when Sharon founded her studio in her hometown of Lafayette. The workshop is equipped for all manners of projects, including 4 kilns, 12 torches, and, most importantly, air conditioning. The shop’s staff oversees classes for beginners and advanced glassworkers, as well as offering the space for crafters unable to find the “glass” setting on their microwaves.
At Lala Gallery & Studio, creative types collide, from local artists displaying and discussing their newest exhibits to kids and parents bonding over the clay wheel. Studio classes include afterschool programs for grades 1–12, adult classes geared toward clay throwing, and drop-in sessions for one-off lessons. Inside the gallery, work from regional artists dresses the walls, which inspires visitors’ art projects and gives people something to look at other than the backs of their weird, veiny hands.
Historians and university professors team up with professional tour guides to create Freedom Quest Cultural Tours, LLC's comprehensive cultural excursions. The company helms tours in seven cities around the country, giving visitors an up-close and curated look of museums and historical sites. The "I Am The Greatest" tour visits the Muhammad Ali Museum and Kentucky Railway Museum in Louisville, Kentucky; the American Patriots tour browses the National Mall and passes the White House in Washington DC; and the "Roots" tour heads to Memphis, Tennessee to visit the Underground Railroad Museum and other monuments to black history.
More than 50 years old and 8,500 members strong, the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) strives to promote percussion through education, research, and performances across the world. To carry out this mission, the organization includes more than 50 chapters in the US and 28 chapters abroad, all of which communicate online via resources such as lessons, free practice exercises, and annual events. Each year PAS hosts the annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention—the largest of its kind in the world—in which exhibitors convene to showcase the newest developments in percussion technology, instruments, and publications. The convention also includes over 120 clinics and performances with lauded artists covering all genres and styles of music.
The staff at Art of the Soul encourages an inner examination of the self through artistic expression. Creative Spirit classes grant students three hours of freedom to delve into the process of creating art without the constraints of a specified media and models that refuse to pose in fruit baskets. During each course, artists adorn surfaces such as canvas, fiber, and metal work with eco-friendly materials to visually interpret the workings of the subconscious, and Picassos can take home their finished masterpiece after class. The program’s only goal is to inspire personal expression and build upon a love of art and a penchant for wearing smocks.
A short walk from Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse, the Indianapolis Convention Center, and several world-class restaurants, the Hampton Inn Downtown is a welcoming home base for both businessy and pleasurable excursions. The Hampton Inn’s classily comfy guest rooms have 32-inch LCD televisions, complimentary high-speed WiFi, and plush new beds with feather and foam pillows. In the morning, tickle your taste buds with the free continental breakfast, a spread of more than 45 delectable delights. And, if hotel guests need to relieve the stress of a rough flight or to clear their minds before the tic-tac-toe national championships, they can head to the 24-hour fitness facility and work out on the elliptical machines and stationary bikes.