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.
Urban Element assembles scrumptious café fare while surrounding guests in an inviting wine bar atmosphere replete with art-adorned walls and live music. The menu abounds with fairly healthy fare, including homade roasted red-pepper hummus ($8) and grilled-pineapple-and-shrimp salad ($10). Patrons can coordinate outfits to match the blue cheese pasta with chickpeas ($10+) or sample a curried chicken-salad sandwich or wrap ($7). The prevalence of paintings at Urban Element allows guests to appreciate local art without the need to pay admission or ship themselves inside cardboard boxes to fancy museums.
Crafted by a cognitive scientist and a design team from the University of Washington according to state academic standards, the A4L program includes five units that merge traditional literacy-education techniques with activities such as theater exercises to accommodate different learning styles. The program anchors lessons in familiar stories such as The Three Little Pigs, with the goal of raising student achievement in both reading and writing. After participating in the A4L lessons, students have shown increased enjoyment in reading, as well as improvement in reading ability, which teachers report appeals to students of various reading levels and backgrounds. Each student will receive a copy of the book from their particular A4L program and an accompanying workbook.