Fire. Hammers. A pottery wheel. Some of humanity?s most elemental and primitive tools, yet into the 21st century they remain. And Craft Alliance Program Director Susan Donahue Yates attests that they?re some of the coolest. With each season?s catalog of classes, some of the most popular, according to Yates, let students play with fire, hammer metal into jewelry, or shape a lump of clay into something as fundamentally beautiful as a baby seal mimicking the Mona Lisa?s wry smirk.
At Craft Alliance, the focus is art in all its forms. Whether the tool is the raw flame fusing cut copper or a Mac loaded with Photoshop image-editing software, the intention to inspire and to create remains the same. Its two locations schedule seasonal terms with four- to six-week classes, as well as intensive workshops and children?s classes. Guiding each student along his or her adventure, skilled faculty instruct from experience. Most are working artists who exhibit their work and who have reaped their experience from the trenches of the art world.
Craft Alliance is not just empowering people with knowledge; they are also helping people make mugs, bowls, wooden spinning tops, rings, rugs, and digital photo albums. Many of these things are practical and serve a functional purpose. But many do not?they?re just beautiful things, like vestigial tails. A good number of these pieces are created by hand and are meant to remind us, as Yates remarked, that everyone can do something different from their everyday, workaday lives by adding beauty to a world that truly needs it.
The student and faculty artists backbone the Craft Alliance community, which in 2014 celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Grand Center location represents a regeneration of an arts district already pillared by the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Powell Symphony Hall, and St. Louis University.
[[m:####St. Louis Photo Authority
The “authority” in St. Louis Photo Authority comes from the experienced eyes and minds of its staff. On Thursday nights at the company’s West End studio, budding photographers turn to their pedagogues, who instruct groups of 15 during Thursday-evening classes on one of seven subjects. True beginners may wish to sit in on Intro to Digital Photography, wherein apertures and eyes are opened in equal measure as shooting techniques are disclosed. The instructors also cover a class in travel photography that helps vacationers frame the cleanest shots of their visited landscapes, no matter how badly thumbs want in the picture. More advanced students may opt for one of the studio's three-hour Saturday-afternoon seminars, many of which leave the studio to secure shots of cityscapes or local nature.:m]]
Above all else, Bikram Yoga emphasizes personal growth and development—not competition and comparison. That means newcomers are welcome to attend alongside experienced practitioners. Although the sessions at Bikram Yoga St. Louis may seem like a more physical challenge at first, the goal is for students to recognize and strengthen the connection that exists between the mind, body, and spirit. This progress does bolster physical fitness, but also creates a restorative and relaxing experience.
Every 90-minute session consists of the exact same sequence of two breathing exercises and 26 standing and seated asanas. These physically demanding postures use deep bends and twists to work muscle groups and organ systems throughout the body, pushing oxygenated blood where it's needed most and building strength and stamina. If you're having trouble with any pose, that's no problem: the instructors can recommend slight modifications. For more advice, visit the studio's website.
The instructors heat the practice space to sweat-inducing levels for each class, increasing circulation and aiding in the release of toxins. In addition to loosening tight muscles—which allows students to sink deeper into each stretch—this heat also has profound mental benefits. The extra challenge encourages attendees to focus on each posture's alignment and orientation while learning how to accept the heat, concentrate on breathing, and practice a calmer mental state. After class, separate changing rooms with showers are available for those looking to refresh themselves.
When camped out at a picturesque St. Louis spot—from an old barn to the iconic Arch—Brian K. Owens sees more than just the opportunity to take a pretty picture. The fine-art photographer and owner of STLPhotoArt grasps for stories in each of his photos, stories that he seeks to bring to his clients through commercial shoots and instill in his students during photography classes. The shutterbug guides beginning shooters through Forest Park and the St. Louis Zoo, dispensing photography know-how along the way. Owens also lends his talented eye to elegantly capture moments at weddings, engagements, and knight-christening ceremonies.
At Pilates + Yoga Studio, the brain is given just as much consideration as the body. That's because the studio's passionate, nationally certified instructors know that people are capable of deeper, more transformative workouts when they're focused and relaxed. So, after a moment of mental centering, small groups embark on workouts that range from Pilates and five types of yoga to kettlebell-pumping classes. Through mindful exercise, students gain grace and balance in addition to muscle tone.
Saint Louis Workout helps members get fit with a fleet of weightlifting equipment, high-tech cardio machines, and more than 30 weekly classes. Elliptical machines assist in bouts of calorie singeing, and free weights tone muscles more efficiently than replacing one's hands with bowling balls. A full roster of classes includes Zumba, yoga, and interval-training sessions, and the brigade of seasoned certified personal trainers customize workouts, drawing from experience in such fields as running, health science, and bodybuilding. With onsite showers and a whirlpool, the gym helps workouts and relaxation fit into busy days.