UICA fills 4,000 square feet of gallery space with innovative exhibitions by contemporary artists, screens films in a 198-seat movie theater, and organizes creative classes for youths and adults. The institute is going into its 35th year of sharing and inspiring innovative, challenging forms of visual arts, and it continues to engage the public with events such as a speaker series.
When the Douglas J Aveda Institute opened in Knoxville in 2011, it joined a family of institutes and salons that Douglas Weaver started in the 1960s. Here, Aveda students pursue certification in cosmetology and esthiology while practicing their craft on real clients under the supervision of licensed educators. And because students perform the services, the rates are lower than at traditional salons. The Knoxville treatment menu includes hair design—cuts, color, retexturizing—as well as Aveda’s Elemental Nature facials, pedicures, and manicures.
The Institute is inside the historic S&W Grand building, a handsome art-deco landmark that, like a compassionate fairy-tale prince, is equally handsome on the inside. The spa rooms have a rustic balance of exposed brick and wood paneling, and the salon’s geometric light fixtures gleam upon checkerboard tile floors and industrial shelving lined with Aveda’s signature products.
The Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Michigan’s only professional ballet company, is dedicated to staging artistic productions that lift the spirit while inspiring the toes. Who Cares?, named for composer and pianist George Gershwin’s jazzy ode to impartiality, is an energetic if indifferent ballet choreographed by George Balanchine, co-founder and founding choreographer of the New York City Ballet. Balanchine used Gershwin's Broadway hits to compose a ballet that pays homage to the popular pianist’s exuberance, American spirit, and dislike of toothpaste. Grammatically incorrect songs may include jazz standard "I Got Rhythm" and "'S Wonderful," which was notably sung by Gene Kelly in An American in Paris. Before the main event, the stage will flutter with tutus and sparkle with tiaras during Raymonda Pas de Dix.
Family Fitness and FitZone for Women are spread across six locations, but they share a common goal: to help guests find their ideal physique. They accomplish this mission by filling their 15,000- to 25,000-square-foot facilities with ellipticals, arc trainers, and treadmills that engage cardios, cores, and limbs alongside group training classes led by certified personal and group fitness instructors. Visitors can also keep tabs on their progress with the centers’ fitness monitoring program and body mass testing.
Studio owner Ryan Cunningham, a guitarist for more than 20 years, shares lessons and skills acquired while he procured a degree in classical guitar and audio production with a minor in modern air mandolin. With six years' experience as the owner and sole instructor at Mercury Guitar Studio, Cunningham devises curriculums that guide pupils of all ages in whatever direction their musical interests may lead. In addition to teaching guitar and bass-guitar lessons for beginning and intermediate musicians, Cunningham records music at his studio and has practiced crowd surfing during performances with local bands.
At the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse, yogis of all levels practice within a space maintained at a balmy 95 degrees, a temperature ideal for releasing toxins, warming leftover lasagna, and boosting flexibility. Seventy-five-minute cardio-heavy classes tone muscles and keep hearts steadily pumping blood through the body. Senior instructors lead Absolute Beginners classes, teaching the fundamental poses and terminology of Vinyasa sequences so pupils can eventually move on to more advanced Power Vinyasa courses.