A Redken Premier school, The Salon Professional Academy staffs an elite team of certified teachers, each of whom boasts more than 10 years of industry experience and a passion for education. Director of Education Chris Gould garnered 16 years of experience training with well-known brands such as Vidal Sassoon, Jacques Dessange, and Yosh Toya, before opening the academy to share her savvy with top local talent. Up-and-coming hair stylists, cosmetologists, and aestheticians meet for full-time, hands-on classes that dispense wisdom on products, body treatments, and the most effective way to relax tense mannequins. Armed with scissors, enthusiasm, and on-trend taste, advanced students head onto the floor to perform salon services on real clients under the watchful eyes of their teachers.
After a decade getting her hands dirty with clay, artist Donna Schreiter swung open the doors of The Painted Pot in 2001, determined to bring the art of ceramic creation to all ages and skill levels. Inside the open studio, adults, kids, and families dabble raw bisques with glaze-soaked sponges, assemble mosaic works, and shape wet clay on spinning wheels. Kids' classes guide little hands to shape and paint their own pieces, and grown-ups-only evenings throw in margaritas for sipping and instructions for weaving baskets out of old utilities bills.
At My Handyworks, the team specializes in turning handprints into art. They can transform a set of acrylic-paint handprints and footprints on a tile into a custom painting, perhaps of a duck, or dyed wax molds of hands into keepsake statuettes. Their art classes, meanwhile, cover a wide variety of skills, teaching kids to decorate pumpkins and adults to recreate masterpieces by Monet and Van Gogh.
An award-winning artist, Denninger's artistic spark was ignited after attending a particularly dreary exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The joyless displays fueled the positive painter to fill the world with inspirational imagery. Denninger's nature-scapes are the visual equivalent of a foot rub at the end of a long day of work: tiny blooms poke out of clouds, birds soar through the skies, and pretty streams peek out from hard rocks. Larger-sized wall coverings average $20 for an 8x10 and $75 for a 12x18. Upgraded options such as framing and signed prints vary from piece to piece. Those preferring a more-flippable option can invest in one of Denninger's limited-edition inspirational books for $75. To update your interiors without leaving them, apply a portion of today's Groupon to shipping (parcel shipping starts at $5.15 for a 5x7 print; shipping costs depend on the weight of the art and whether it's parcel, priority, or express mail).
Named St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year in 2010, Main Street Gym owner Wendy Black invigorates limp limbs and un-buff thoraxes with her more than 10 years of personal-training experience. In a six-week boot-camp session held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, crews of 15 or fewer huffers and puffers stretch and strain together in one-hour workouts twice a week. Evening sessions at 7 p.m.—led by trainer Marcel Walker—pump up the after-work crowd. Black leads 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. sessions so early risers can achieve their morning sweat without power-lifting medicine balls full of boiling-hot coffee. In addition, a one-on-one consultation will compile body measurements, past workout history, and a cardiovascular assessment to address personal-fitness and nutritional goals and to help barbell adherents overcome their deep-seated fear of aerobics. See Main Street Gym's online schedule for details.
Armed with various facilities, group classes, and state-of-the-art equipment, 24 Hour Fitness molds amorphous adobe muscles into rock-solid flesh houses. Each location boasts cardio equipment, free weights, a steam room, and group exercise classes so social gym junkies can motivate each other. Group cycling sessions burn calories and increase energy levels, and Latin dance-influenced Zumba classes present a fun, dynamic way to slim meat suits. Before breaking a sweat, check the online schedules for upcoming times.