The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
Kidz-N-Play's indoor-play facility enthralls youngsters with its plethora of educational and recreational toys, structures, and activities. The masterminds behind the playground flank their moon bounce with two slides and a spacious jumping area, and crowd a large table with a wooden-train set. Their lego table gives kids a chance to practice building skills or explore a policy of aggressive economic expansion. A dance area equipped with Just Dance Kids for Xbox Kinect eliminates calories during lengthy boogying sessions, and a toddler play area sets tots on a foam-cushioned floor awash in age-appropriate toys. When designing the indoor playground, the owners didn't forget about parent and guardian visitors and equipped a seating area overlooking the playrooms with free WiFi and televisions.
The North Carolina Opera's debut concert encompasses classic selections of arias, duets, and instrumentals from Puccini, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky, as well as other composers, along with a splash of contemporary sound-seasonings: well-known zarzuela hits and some rousing numbers from Broadway's Great White Way. Operatic numbers feature Sandra Lopez, soprano; Nelson Martinez, baritone; and Todd Robinson, bass. The full orchestra is conducted by artistic director and conductor Timothy Myers, who leads the starlit aural frolicking with grace, style, and Teddy Roosevelt's proverbial big stick. Broadway fans and opera aficionados will be surprised at how recognizable many of their alter egos' favorites are, and all-genre music junkies can get three kinds of fix at the same time. The program is dynamic, with all three styles of orchestral expression mixed together, eliminating auditory ruts and avoiding the unpleasantness of groove recalibration.
Atop Raleigh Center Ice’s freshly zambonied rink, skaters zip and twirl through nearly daily public-skating sessions. After lacing up the provided rental skates or strapping ice cubes to sneakers, guests can glide over the frost-encrusted Carolina Hurricanes’ logo, jettisoning down the length of the NHL–level rink. Ice jockeys of all levels can fly across the ice in tandem or barrel toward figure skaters in synchronized quartets almost any day of the week, practicing snowplow stops or full-chested hockey slams. The recently remodeled rink aims to accommodate the youth hockey groups and freelance skaters of the community, and boasts a lofty new lobby complete with plans for a pro shop and sports grill.
The resourceful staff at The Collectors Gallery, the sister-store of The Mahler, scours the corners of North Carolina for finely wrought jewelry, ceramics, and sculptures crafted by a slew of talented artists. Stock kitchen cabinets with kaleidoscopically glazed, hand-tossed tea bowls ($20 each) or one of Ken Sedberry's petite pitchers, the perfect size for containing cream or syrup ($40). AraLeigh earrings by Leigh Griffin Harris come in numerous styles that include smoky quartz, black pearls, and orange agate ($25), and Tiffany Coley's enamel-heart necklace makes a great forget-me-not for your favorite person or internal organ ($36).
In 1995, a group of families with children struck by CDH came together to form Cherubs, an organization designed to provide support and information to those touched by the condition. CDH, or congenital diaphragmatic hernia, is a rare condition that causes a malformation in a gestating fetus's diaphragm. The diaphragm either forms with holes or doesn't form at all, allowing the abdominal organs into the chest cavity and hindering the growth of the lungs. Roughly 50% of babies born with this heartbreaking condition don't survive, and those who do survive suffer from numerous and costly medical issues. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Cherubs helps families—more than 4,300 across the world, at current count—understand and persevere through the issues of CDH, while supporting efforts to find the cause and develop treatments for the condition.
One of the ways they achieve this is through their annual Masquerading Angels Ball, a formal event punctuated by elegant masks, live music, and plenty of libations. There, tuxedoed men and gowned women savor gourmet appetizers and cocktails from a cash bar as they play poker and blackjack at casino tables, all in an effort to fight a tragic children's medical condition.