Karen Creager, the woman behind the lens at Focus Saint Louis Photography, can shoot photographs almost anywhere in the Saint Louis area. She travels to homes, weddings, parks, and family gathering places to capture the perfect tableau. Creager skillfully photographs everyone from kids to engaged couples to-high school seniors.
Doc’s Harley-Davidson works to keep owners and aspiring riders outfitted with knowledge, maintenance, and necessary equipment, earning Dealernews's 2007 Grand Prize for “best practices in retailing” and community involvement. Amid 28,000 square feet of parts, accessories, and service space, owner Patty Bush and her staff of motorcycle specialists consistently update the shop with innovations and promotions while maintaining a commitment to quality that began with Patty’s father, Doc, in 1955. In addition to equipping riders with new and preowned Harley-Davidson motorcycles and gear, the staff educates newcomers with a blend of classroom instruction and real-road experience that instills confidence when handling tricky turns or encountering speed-limit signs that involve fractions.
At The Great American Diving Company, swimmers and scuba enthusiasts plunge into a 10-foot-deep, custom-built training pool heated to a balmy 85 degrees. Under the guidance of PADI-certified instructors, students in Open Water Diver classes learn to breathe and explore beneath the surface, opening the doors to continue underwater education and obtain certification or finally put to rest a fear of really big puddles. Divers can gear up for their next expedition in the shop, and the staff also leads scuba trips to diving locales.
In 1998, School of Rock's first location was built in Philadelphia to strengthen students' self-confidence, develop their musicianship, and most importantly, spark an insatiable enthusiasm to learn. Today, the School of Rock franchise has branched out to more than 65 locations throughout the United States and Mexico. During the school's music lessons, encouraging instructors well versed in methods of rocking and rolling?such as strumming guitars, tickling keyboards, and causing avalanches with yodels?demystify music theory for mini Mick Jaggers of all skill levels.
School of Rock's Rock 101 program acquaints beginners with the instrument of their choice using a curriculum of weekly private lessons and group band rehearsals. Virtuosos ready to hit the stage can participate in the performance program, which prepares students for live performances that pay homage to beloved rock icons such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Mount Rushmore.
Fire. Hammers. A pottery wheel. Some of humanity?s most elemental and primitive tools, yet into the 21st century they remain. And Craft Alliance Program Director Susan Donahue Yates attests that they?re some of the coolest. With each season?s catalog of classes, some of the most popular, according to Yates, let students play with fire, hammer metal into jewelry, or shape a lump of clay into something as fundamentally beautiful as a baby seal mimicking the Mona Lisa?s wry smirk.
At Craft Alliance, the focus is art in all its forms. Whether the tool is the raw flame fusing cut copper or a Mac loaded with Photoshop image-editing software, the intention to inspire and to create remains the same. Its two locations schedule seasonal terms with four- to six-week classes, as well as intensive workshops and children?s classes. Guiding each student along his or her adventure, skilled faculty instruct from experience. Most are working artists who exhibit their work and who have reaped their experience from the trenches of the art world.
Craft Alliance is not just empowering people with knowledge; they are also helping people make mugs, bowls, wooden spinning tops, rings, rugs, and digital photo albums. Many of these things are practical and serve a functional purpose. But many do not?they?re just beautiful things, like vestigial tails. A good number of these pieces are created by hand and are meant to remind us, as Yates remarked, that everyone can do something different from their everyday, workaday lives by adding beauty to a world that truly needs it.
The student and faculty artists backbone the Craft Alliance community, which in 2014 celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Grand Center location represents a regeneration of an arts district already pillared by the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Powell Symphony Hall, and St. Louis University.
[[m:####St. Louis Photo Authority
The “authority” in St. Louis Photo Authority comes from the experienced eyes and minds of its staff. On Thursday nights at the company’s West End studio, budding photographers turn to their pedagogues, who instruct groups of 15 during Thursday-evening classes on one of seven subjects. True beginners may wish to sit in on Intro to Digital Photography, wherein apertures and eyes are opened in equal measure as shooting techniques are disclosed. The instructors also cover a class in travel photography that helps vacationers frame the cleanest shots of their visited landscapes, no matter how badly thumbs want in the picture. More advanced students may opt for one of the studio's three-hour Saturday-afternoon seminars, many of which leave the studio to secure shots of cityscapes or local nature.:m]]