Michelle Childs Beedle practically grew up performing—she began at the ripe young age of 3. Since then, she's taught competitive singers, snagged roles in various movies, and even won two Emmy awards. With Antonia Studios, she shares her talents not only through voice and piano lessons, but also by painting faces and hosting princess parties.
Spurred by a drive to instill children with a love for the arts and to build their self-esteem, professional actor Miles McMahon helms an array of educational programs at Theatre of the Imagination. He and his staff of local theater lovers build on more than 2,000 successful children's theatrical productions through creative summer camps, acting and performance classes, special workshops, and birthday parties for performers in prekindergarten through ninth grade. Miles writes a completely new work for each class and camp, using the script to immerse students in a cooperative, creative environment while freeing them from the pressures of lead roles, auditions, and autographer's elbow. Staff members can also conduct Movie Star Acting birthday parties, where they shoot a short film with the birthday child as the star.
In 1988, potter Michael Smith invited a small group of peers to his home to share ideas and further explore the art of clay manipulation. After just a few meetings, the group quickly grew to include around 70 craftspeople, who started meeting at the Kansas City Art Institute instead of inside Smith's giant conch shell. These regular get-togethers laid the groundwork for the initial incarnation of KC Clay Guild, a place where artists could socialize, buy materials in bulk, and learn from one another.
Now, the volunteer-run co-op is even larger. It occupies its own facility and has vastly expanded the number of services it provides. Amidst the changes, KC Clay Guild has remained true to its initial goals, guided by a mission statement to support the clay community. Artists of all skill levels enroll in classes that cover an array of techniques, such as wheel throwing, hand building, and slip casting. Members take part in regular meetings, open-studio time, and monthly shows, and visiting artists stop by to lead workshops and repair their ceramic automobiles. The guild even offers a scholarship to high-school seniors and hosts birthday parties, team-building exercises, and family-fun nights for casual potters.
Founder and professional shutterbug Mike Freeland calls on more than two decades of photographic experience and camera-handling in shoots ranging from staged portraiture to mostly improvised weddings. Joined by a team of 10 other photo pros, Freeland Photography captures moments during special events, documents images for commercial businesses, and invites families into the studio to strike poses before being frozen in carbonite. Freeland Photography was recently inducted into The Knot's Wedding Hall of Fame.
Communiversity developed out of the freethinking student movements in Berkeley, California in the '60s, when All Student Association President Steve Eimer campaigned on a platform of providing accessible education to the entire community. UMKC Communiversity carries on an honorable tradition of shared experience and ideas, offering nearly 1,000 nonacademic, noncredit, pandisciplinary classes each year, suggested and taught by volunteer experts. Courses on parenting, arts and crafts, martial arts, cooking, and social development are all represented on the everchanging course roster, which reverses traditional dynamics by making leaders of students and demanding that essays be written on the sides of pencils. Now helmed by program director and official jazz guitarist Rick Mareske, Communiversity is a part of the UMKC Office of Student Involvement, and remains ever committed to, in the words of Mark Twain, not letting school get in the way of education.
First-time scuba divers will learn from professional, certified trainers during Skin-n-Scuba’s Discover Scuba training session. The training course includes all necessary diving gear and is conducted in the facility’s 26’x52’ indoor saltwater pool, featuring salt, water, and two sunken Spanish Armada galleons. Individual class enrollment is capped at 15 in order to maintain a reasonable instructor-to-student ratio and leave room in the pool for the dolphins enrolled in backstroke. The two-hour classes for Groupon buyers are offered Fridays (starting at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.), Saturdays (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.), Sundays (1 p.m. and 3 p.m.) and Mondays (10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.).