Like many artists, Jamie Lindholm explored a few routes before answering her true calling. Although she’d been painting her entire life, she acquired her first college degree in marketing and management. Shortly after, she started training with artists including David Leffel, presidential portrait painter Everett Raymond Kinstler, and photorealist Robert Neffson, all masters who helped hone her ability to capture life on canvas.
At her own studio in Martinsville, Lindholm takes on the role of instructor. Her classes include foundational studies in drawing and painting as well as BYOB sessions in which students can unleash their artistic potential alongside a glass of wine or vintage tempera paint. She conceives of her studio as a traditional atelier where students and the artists who share her space through the Open Easel Program can feel inspired and at home.
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.
Kettlebells and TRX suspension-training are just a few of the tools the instructors at Pure Energy Fitness use to strengthen and sculpt physiques. Students can focus on building muscles, burning calories and toning muscles in spin classes, or combining cardiovascular exercise with strengthening resistance routines in boot-camp sessions.
Following the lead of professional dancer, choreographer, and studio owner Michael Cuomo, the instructors at Premiere Dance Studios teach young dancers ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and a host of other styles while instilling an enduring love of dance. At both the Bridgewater and Flemington locations, parents can watch their kids cut a rug on monitors in the lobby, and their tykes can keep tabs on their own form with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, perfecting ballet leaps or trying to stop their reflections from dancing the "Macarena." As their dance skills improve, students can audition for the Legacy and Dynasty competitive dance troupes, depending on their studio.
The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium entreats attendees of all ages to sit back, look up, and gaze upon constellations and other light-based spectacles. Astronomy shows entertain younger audiences during afternoon showings, with summer gems such as Attack of the Space Pirates or Solar System Odyssey. On weekends, the staff caters to older crowds with laser concerts with music from bands such as Coldplay, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd. After the show, guests can stop into a gift shop filled to the brim with science, astronomy, and star charts, along with freeze-dried astronaut foods such as ice cream or apple wedges. With an eye toward community outreach, the Planetarium also hosts group shows and field-trip programs. The crew also regularly tricks stars into attending the third grade by dragging them to schools via the Starlab Portable Planetarium’s inflatable dome.