A reiki healer and fifth-generation painter, Hannah Manges believes in the power of intuition, such as when she sensed that what her adult art students needed most was to finger paint. Though she's classically trained, Manges never cared for the rigidity and competitiveness that often characterized the art industry. She further saw that teaching her adult students in a classical tradition took the joy out of things; most of them were there to try something new and expand themselves, not master technique. So during a class in which her students struggled to find joy in their work, she put their canvases away and grabbed a stack of paper plates. Thus began her BYOB finger-painting class, which has evolved into an experience in which people "kick off their shoes, have some wine, and have some fun."
Though the BYOB finger-painting course remains among her most popular—it's earned recognition in local press, such as the Midland Daily News—Manges leads other classes that range from couples' painting workshops to watercolor for beginners. She also teaches art via her television series, Painting Pictures with Hannah Manges, on Midland Community Television Network Channel 99. "I'm becoming a celebrity to all the 80-year-old women in town who read the paper and watch public television," she laughs.
To further encourage students and visitors to become more comfortable with art, Manges posts signs throughout her gallery that say, "Please touch everything." She encourages everyone to fully experience each piece of her art, which includes The Healing Tree series, a collection Manges began to connect with her deceased mother.
For many, maintaining a healthy fitness regimen is an off-putting chore on par with cleaning the garage or assembling that backyard roller coaster for the kids. The folks behind Snap Fitness, which now boasts locations all over the world, are of the opinion that this doesn't have to be the case. They believe 24-hour access to premium cardio and strength-training equipment, innovative easyFIT monitors to track personal progress, and perpetual guidance from certified professionals can help transform physical fitness into an accessible activity that yields measurable and tangible results. In addition to providing online workout rubrics and meal plans, they work to keep sweat glands up and running by offering workout rewards programs, making regular check-in calls, and measuring bodies—sans padded muscle suits—every 30 days.
Great Lakes Kiteboarding and its crew of master mariners specialize in converting everyday hydrophobes into Poseidon-punishing aquatic athletes. In a five-hour private lesson, nautical novices can strap a slab of fiberglass to their feet and master wind-riding fundamentals like launching from boat and beach, proper riding form, and self-rescue. Apprentices seeking the deepest secrets of ancient boarders are invited to study at one of Great Lake Kiteboarding’s weekend camps. Starting with ground training to keep too much land from lubbing onto the kites, students will spend a Saturday morning learning about equipment, wind windows, beach etiquette, and safety before hitting the waves to learn basics of riding and landing. After lunch, it’s back out on the water to learn advanced techniques like self-launching, changing direction, and riding the edge, with all of Sunday devoted to honing newfound skills on the water while instructors on WaveRunners play safety shepherd.
Combining various fitness disciplines with solid nutritional counseling, Seung-ni Fit Club's trainers send bodies through a muscle-maintenance assembly line that leaves them trim and fit. Sweat sessions can include the fat-blasting Aerobic Kickboxing class, which sets self-defense, dance, and kickboxing techniques bouncing to a choice of upbeat contemporary music or mash-ups of 18th-century Scottish funeral dirges. Plyo Pump's high-intensity jumps and bounds condition bodies to explode with greater speed and power, and lean muscles surface with Body Sculpt's non-impact dumbbell workouts. Zumba sessions fuse energetic Latin dances with resistance training. Motivational instructors provide students with personalized nutrition programs and weight-loss tracking charts for settings goals and marking progress. Flexible schedules at both locations allow all challenge-accepters to get their muscles' worth in eight weeks, much like the two-month mail-order process for purchasing mussels from a shady internet sea captain.