The students at Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy are not yet professionals, but it would be hard to guess that based on the way their hands deftly untie knotted muscles and nurse sore shoulders back to health. Their signature whole-body massage systemically targets the nervous system, erasing tension quickly.
Equipped with varied experience and an in-depth knowledge of alcohol and service regulations, the instructors at Fine Art Bartending School guide their students toward mixology mastery or job placement in the bartending industry during intensive five-day courses. While many schools focus solely on the craft, Fine Art's instructors also hone customer service skills through a guest bartending program at local bars and clubs?teaching students tip-enhancing approaches and how to graciously deflect customer's attempts at Bryan Adams sing-alongs. They also hold individual classes targeted at everyday drinkers, divulging industry-style instructions for blending specific drinks, performing difficult mixes, or pouring the perfect beer.
Information-technology pro Bill Henthorn intuitively understands the whirling gizmos and rusty sprockets that make up modern computers, and he uses his talent to restore customers' machines to full working order at CSR Computer Service Repair. With services ranging from laptop repair and video transferal to custom-built video-game computers and DVD repair, he helps customers finally free themselves from the burden of carrying a manual typewriter around at all times.
4Cats Art Studio founder Joey Simon and her son Jet developed their fun and educational art program in 2005 while transposing the techniques they learned in a library's collection of art history books onto blank canvases. Since then, their process of teaching students about an artist's method and then allowing them to practice it on their own has expanded throughout North America. The studio draws its name from Els Quatre Gats, or The Four Cats, a café in Barcelona where Pablo Picasso often showcased his work and shared intellectual musings with cats.
Much like the legendary brush wielder, students between the ages of 2–15 expand their creative abilities at 4Cats Art Studio, first discussing famous artists and then using their techniques to create original pieces. Each 60-minute class begins with a history lesson on a famous artist such as Frida Kahlo or Paul Klee, followed by a creative project using the featured artist's techniques. After learning about Frida's life and love of animals, students create their own colourful self-portraits. Likewise, classes on Klee integrate music and colour-mixing techniques to teach students how to truly capture the emotions of a trumpet.
A woman of many passions, Kim McMechan deftly manages to balance her love of her family with a relentless creative energy, wearing the hats of mother, daughter, singer-songwriter, poet, and portraitist. The concept of Paper Sun blossomed from one of her daughter's flights of fancy. When the winter days were short, Ryn, a then-6-year-old girl, drew a big orange sun on a piece of paper, cut it out, and taped it to the ceiling before arranging a beach towel in the middle of the dining room floor and lounging beneath it. While the actual paper sun is now long gone, the image was so powerful that Kim named both her debut album and her photography studio after it. An unstoppable force of self-expression, Kim is not content to merely produce her own beautiful images. Rather, she leads workshops and personal coaching sessions for artists of all stripes. Though most of these classes are aimed at demystifying the camera or revealing professional tricks for photographers with some experience, others focus on the simple act of unclogging creative blockages using collage, writing props, and transcendental plungers.
Photographers Mark and Sarah Coffey met while canoeing and discovered their shared passions: photography and the environment. Mark, the creative director and principle photographer of Freestone Spirit Photography, uses his love of the wilderness to shape his work as an artist—even naming his studio after a freestone river. Through their photography—which they characterize, recalling the river, as “ever-changing and maturing, but still young at heart”—Mark and Laura aim to tell the story of their clients’ lives, working together to put them at ease and capture love, emotion, and character.
Through the educational arm of the studio, Kelowna Photography Workshops, Mark moulds aspiring artists through one-hour classes and weekend-long workshops. After learning the basics of composition and exposure control, students move on to the study of natural light and framing environmental portraits. Mark teaches students to craft images that tell stories of the natural world like otters playing in a stream or mountain goats arguing over insurance claims.