Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the fine arts, co-owners, operators, and artists Chriss W. Hardy and Christopher Hardy are the beating heart of The Painted Room. Together—and with a team of highly specialized painters—the two execute a multitude of projects, ranging from specialty faux finishes to murals of Abraham Lincoln sporting the flat-top 'fro he kept hidden under his stovepipe hat. At their studio, the artists teach oil-painting classes suited for beginners, creating a casual environment where students learn to wield oil paints while sipping on brought-along bottles of wine.
The pottery lining the shelves inside Mighty Mud almost looks like it could have come from an archaeological excavation. With glaze jobs that call to shabby-chic sensibilities or enhance they clay’s hand-worked grooves, each work would be at home either on a windowsill or in a museum. The fun begins when it comes time to make these pieces. Mighty Mud offers classes that teach students how to throw clay, operate a pottery wheel, and build figures by hand. Kids even get their own set of classes catered just to them, and group raku firings happen once a month when the firing process is turned into a group BYOB activity.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
Rent2Ride outfits trail-trekkers and waterborne adventurers with the roaring engines of Honda Rancher ATVs and sleek, speedy hulls of personal watercraft. Latter-day conquistadors saddle up to off-road vehicles decked out with low centers of gravity for easy control, and electric power steering for better traction over stubborn wheel ruts or up the neighbor's spiral staircase. Sea-Doo and Yamaha wave-runners zip and plow through crystal waters and choppy surf alike with ferocious horsepower and responsive handling. Rent2Ride can cart their motorcrafts to clients' locations for an additional fee.
For more than 40 years-since her first diapered yoga pose at the age of 6 months, in fact—long-time Knoxville life coach Shanti has embraced the essence of yoga. She began her career as a yogini by training at Instituto de Yoga Bolonia, her parents' yoga institute in Nicaragua. Between then and now, she has sought the knowledge and teachings of masters from around the globe, expanding her repertoire to include everything from healing breathing techniques and qigong to biomagnetic therapy, reiki, and metapsychology counseling. Today, her resume reads like a who's who of holistic wellness solutions, which she uses to help better the lives of those around her.
She brings the diversity of her skill set to each class at Yoga with Shanti, whether she's teaching beginners or working on an advanced sequence with students. Known for her gentle approach to both group and private sessions, she provides spiritually calming yet invigorating results for students of all ages. These sessions take place within a spacious studio, whose butter-yellow walls and hardwood floors are flooded by the loving natural light that flows through the windows. Meditative music also lilts throughout, transcending each moment and blending nicely into end-of-session sound healing.
Fine Arts Connection provides artistic entrepreneurs of all ages and skill levels with the means to create. Instructor Yichen Reneau enlivens brushstrokers with more than 15 years of teaching experience and prodigious skill in an array of styles and media. The 90-minute introductory drawing course inserts biology-class notebook doodlers into a different classroom to work on fundamentals such as shadow shading, how to make thumbs not look weird, and recruiting fruit models. Meanwhile, the two-hour Chinese brush painting class lets students ink Chinese characters with special brushes on provided rice paper, upon which they'll delicately depict the characters for truth, beauty, and Marilyn Monroe sunbathing on a duvet made of Campbell's soup cans.