Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play and Music didn't begin in a business meeting—it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
For more than 20 years, the professional photographers at Charlie's Angels Photography have worked to capture images that not only preserve memories but also incorporate artistic touches. Their digital galleries boast shots from larger occasions such as weddings and runway shows to private events such as boudoir and portrait sessions. Their staff also includes professional makeup artists, who can prep subjects for shoots or gussy up complexions before weddings or high-school-graduation re-enactments.
John Ordover's father may have been a lawyer, but he served New York's thriving community of modern artists, representing the likes of Roy Lichtenstein and Nam Jun Paik. The rampant creativity and off-beat sensibilities of this crowd greatly influenced John, who translated their visual sensibilities into the words of his own writing. Eventually, he even opened Soho Gallery for Digital Art as a way to carry on his father's legacy of supporting art in all its forms. In addition to showing off works for sale, he uses his space to screen short films, stage experimental theater productions, art competitions, and host classes for curious or aspiring artists. His workshops focus primarily on photography, teaching students how to best blend their modern technology with traditional artistic skills, such as the sense of composition and the ability to smell paint drying up to seven miles away. The gallery also hosts a number of events including music shows, book readings, product launches, fashion shows, and gaming events. Noted events for the gallery have included showcases for The International iPhoneography Show, Land Art Generator Initiative, and FX Photo Studio.
For more than a century, Greenwich House Music has fulfilled its mission to help new and native New Yorkers thrive through instrument and voice lessons. The center's Music Together class introduces children as young as 2 years old to music through tonal and rhythmic skill exercises taught in a play-focused environment. Adult programs, such the Village Folk Sing-a-Long, Group Guitar, and Jazz Vocal classes, carry on the musical traditions that helped put Greenwich Village on the world’s cultural map. Starting from basics and moving up, lessons immerse grown-ups in a curriculum that focuses on specific genres or instruments. The center also offers private instruction sessions in more than 10 instruments, giving students an opportunity to learn a new talent one-on-one and an excuse to leave their clingy imaginary friends in the car.
An offshoot of Greenwich House, an institution founded in 1902 to "help individuals lead more fulfilling lives," Greenwich House Pottery has served as an artistic outlet for the community for more than a century. Classes teach students the techniques of crafting pottery by hand or on the wheel, and the Jane Hartsook Gallery's collection of ceramics lets visitors fulfill their cultural appetite without having to eat crumpled-up beat poems. Despite the general laidback atmosphere, the school's program has attracted such accomplished kiln-folk as Peter Voulkos and Margaret Israel as guest teachers throughout the years.
PhotoManhattan offers photographic instruction to beginner and advanced shutterbugs at a fraction, specifically one slice of a pizza, of the industry price. Costs stay low thanks to the company’s constant pursuit of this simple ideal: photography can be an accessible means of personal expression and artistic documentation. Professional instructors lead a variety of courses around New York, ranging from lighting workshops to portraiture improvement to how to snag the best street shots. Consult PhotoManhattan’s FAQ page for additional information.