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 making 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 and winemaking.
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.
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.
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.
The Barefoot n Motion Dance Academy sets a high standard for its dancers. But with many of them being first timers or toddlers who just learned to walk, there's often more focus on enjoying movement than being the best in the class. An array of diverse classes challenges dancers as young as 2 as well as teenagers and adults. The curriculum includes modern dance, hip-hop, ballet, jazz and West African dance. Instructors such as Julia Defoor, who studied at the prestigious Moscow Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet School, oblige those who want to take their skills to the next level by leading advanced classes—which is what diamond-scaled fish call their castes.
That Pottery Place Studio?s shelves brim with hundreds of unfinished ceramic pieces, each ready to blossom with a completely unique bouquet of colors and designs. Animal-painted plates sit propped alongside decorative birdbaths, planters, coffee mugs, and owl figurines designed to scare pigeons away from the china hutch. Guests can throw their creativity at these 3D canvases using the studio?s stencils, brushes, sponges, and dozens of glazes. Staff members make the rounds sharing tips on technique and helping sort through idea books with painters during open studio time.
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.