Signature service: Creative Arts Programs
Specializing in everything from knitting to Photoshop, Niagara Artist Studio's instructors have established a space where artists of all ages and experience levels flex their creative muscles using a variety of media. The Artistic Director has more than 25 years of personal and teaching experience in fine arts, which she puts to use in designing programs that contribute to a well-rounded education. In addition to honing artistic technique and learning facts about art history, her students develop cognitive skills, focus, tolerance, and both risk-taking and problem-solving abilities.
Dustin Ballinger knows guitars. With a degree in applied music and jazz guitar, extensive experience recording music with local musicians, and 15 years of performing under his proverbial belt, Ballinger approaches the instrument with ease and familiarity. “I have always believed that music lessons of any kind should be fun and friendly as well as challenging,” he says. He backs up his belief by leading his roster of classes with an encouraging and dedicated approach. Lessons unfold in a cozy, homey studio space complete with couches, rustic wooden accents, and windows that look out onto sparrows trained to sing the guitar parts from “Free Bird."
At Pilates Emporium, the classes cater to a diverse clientele?therapeutic yoga sessions, for example, help students combat chronic soreness and aches, and Osteo-Pilates sessions hinge on bone-strengthening work. STOTT-certified instructors helm the sessions, which also can focus on traditional mat or reformer work; they keep classes small to allow for a level of customization. To complement the group workouts, the facility hosts personal training and an infrared sauna, whose warmth helps detox physiques.
Judging from the hordes of magpies waddling outside its windows, Ancient Beads is obviously full of shiny objects. Pegboards line the walls, gridded with tiny baggies of gleaming Swarovski crystals and glass beads in all colors. Semi-precious stones and wooden baubles stand ready to be thread into delicate lengths of wire.
During more than 125 classes, visitors learn the finer points of jewelry-making from experienced threaders, including such techniques as glass fusing, chainmaille, and macramé.
Reading, writing, and mathematics don't come easily for everyone. At Canadian Learning Centre, dedicated staff members harness their own expertise to connect with adults and kids and guide them toward mastering their areas of difficulty. A phonics-based curriculum familiarizes students with vowels and consonants and helps them easily distinguish between silent letters and the ones that shout out loud. In writing sessions, pupils learn to apply grammatical rules and proper punctuation as they write stylish paragraphs. During mathematics sessions, students cover the basics, including addition and measurements, as well as more advanced skills such as calculus, geometry, and trigonometry.
In 4Cats Arts Studio's workshops, children ages 5–12 learn to sculpt, craft, and paint masterpieces in the energetic confines of a professional arts studio. In non-competitive workshops, fingers take a break from the ennui of pencil-limited schooldays to mould clay into a sandcastle, sculpt polymer into an owl perched on a tree, or paint a Van Gogh–inspired flower pot. Kids help paint achieve its kinetic potential in the Pollock Room, where brushes fling paint and technicolor acrylics shower canvases. History too takes a front seat, as expert curators recount humorous stories about the life and work of famous artists. Young apprentices craft their masterpieces using provided professional-quality art materials, such as polymer clay, acrylic paint, and tips from a talking bust of The Thinker.