Rick Eggert can take the heat. During his daily labors in front of a 2,400-degree furnace, he gathers wads of molten glass on a metal rod in order to stretch, cut, and bend the glowing silica into eye-catching forms. Eggert received his BFA in glass sculpture over a decade ago, and has since traveled from his native New York to Tahiti, New Zealand, Thailand, and finally Florida, where he founded Lotus Design Group. There, he oversees a small production line where he practices both centuries-old Venetian techniques and more modern approaches to the form to create pieces both for commercial sale and to fulfill his own artistic inspiration. Additionally, Eggert leads a variety of classes that explore these techniques through a hands-on approach, where students learn to craft their own bowls, vases, and stone-proof glass houses.
In 1998, breaking free from the shackles of the business world, Art Institute of Chicago graduate Carolyn Gordon left her Midwestern home and sojourned southward to pursue her dreams. Intent on making watercolor painting and jewelry design her full-time gig, Gordon touched down on Florida’s Treasure Coast, where she flung open the doors of her eponymous atelier, Carolyn Gordon Watercolor Studio, steps from the Port Salerno marina. Within its pastel pink and green exterior, Carolyn’s ethereal, brightly colored paintings bedeck the walls, and Carolyn herself leads classes that impart the watercolor techniques of TV's Terry Madden to groups of 10–12 students.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.