In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
It’s always nice to have talented friends. For more than 20 years, photographer Jeff Tureaud has been his friends’ go-to person for capturing special events, and his growing reputation led him to start his own studio in 2007. Since then, the award-winning photographer has accommodated clients with wedding coverage, on-location portraits, in-studio appointments, and outdoor shoots on his acre of gardens.
Jeff’s individual and group sessions yield upward of 50 images, which he retouches in Photoshop, previews for patrons, and dispenses as digital images all on the same day as the shoot. In addition to capturing new memories, Jeff restores older ones with photo repairs, digitization services, and DVD slideshows that set up to 150 pictures to each customer’s favorite pop song or whale call.
The teaching staff at Music University comes directly from such schools as Juilliard, Berklee, and Hard Knocks, as well as bands including Thin Lizzy, The Cult, and Mötley Crüe. With such credentials, it should come as no surprise that Music University students have gone on to play at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Young musicians enjoy access to top-notch gear in private studios equipped with Yamaha grand pianos, Sonor drum sets, and a Fender amp for every guitar room. Students can direct their lessons toward virtually any genre—it’s practically a certainty that someone on staff is a fan as well.
If a subject is art-related, chances are you can learn about it at Around the Corner Art Center. With a slate of teachers who specialize in working with specific age groups and art mediums, students can learn how to sketch or sew, hone their brush strokes, and construct mixed-media pieces. With all these disciplines under one roof, there is a class for everyone from children to college art students to adults. The staff's love of art even extends to the birthday parties they host, with artistic themes that may include recreating a famous painting or learning how to draw cartoons, anime, and manga.
Beginning his career as a hairstylist who worked on photo shoots with well-known photographers, models, and makeup artists, Joseph Mendez has since added a camera to his once scissor-heavy tool kit, combining his eye for stylish aesthetics with his experience on professional sets. During his on-location photo shoots, he'll snap several shots, yielding a diverse array of artistic shots that may range from elegantly simple to dazzlingly abstract.
The experienced instructors at Extra Eyes Photo Tours believe that practice makes perfect. It’s with this mindset that they both teach photography concepts in the classroom and provide opportunities for students to put their skills to use in some of North America’s most breathtaking settings. On tours of Acadia National Park, Sedona, AZ, and Glacier National Park, their pupils get a chance to capture amazing images while honing their craft.