Surrounded by the hiking trails, woodlands, and glistening lakes of Millstone Township, Cornerstone Music Studios provides private lessons in more than a dozen instruments, including piano, guitar, saxophone, and voice. Its faculty of like-minded and talented instructors helps create a community-oriented environment, giving students limitless support as they explore new artistic avenues. Monthly and annual recitals also boost students’ confidence, and prepare them to play live in front of a crowd of stuffed animals with sewn-on frowns.
The shelves at Color Me Mine’s studio teem with whimsical bisque-ceramic pieces—pony and princess figurines, piggy banks, and kitty-cat mugs—each stark white and waiting for the brush strokes of a budding artist. That artist might be a birthday boy at a party with up to 25 of his friends, or a grown-up unwinding at a girls' night out. No previous experience is required, as the studio staff dispenses plenty of painting tips, stencils, and artistic inspiration. Afterwards, the staff will fire the resulting pieces, which can then be used as décor or dinnerware thanks to Color Me Mine's lead-free, food-safe, paints. In addition to open painting and private parties, the studio hosts after-school enrichment programs, field trips, camps, or scout-troop events.
To help sugar artists of all skill levels take their desserts to new heights, Francesca Elmenshawy, owner of Francesca’s Cakery, joined accomplished cake designer Silvina Barboza to teach intensive baking courses. Though their 10- to 12-student classes range from Baking 101 to an intensive course held in Spanish, most of the lesson plans fall somewhere in the middle. Fondant classes, for instance, introduce the versatile cake-decorating and sculpting medium to cake decorators who prefer their art to be edible. A three-part series on gum-paste flowers targets lessons to specific skill levels, teaching beginners the basics of rolling and cutting material for the dessert flowers. The hands-on, accessible classes earned a mention on Food Babbles, a blog whose writer described the teacher as "a gracious hostess."
While some husbands gift their wives with flowers or candlelit dinners, Bob Lang knew this wasn't enough for his wife Patty. Her stroke in 2008 led to an unexpected flurry of artistic activity that inspired Bob to found A Stroke of Creativity, which won the Home News Tribune's Readers Choice Award for Best of 2011 in Central Jersey, as both a place where Patty could create her opuses and where participants of all levels and abilities could find their inner artists. Classes divulge the secrets of creating jewelry, fused glass, and paintings to help students hone their personal style and express their angst at the cancellation of Golden Girls. Patty's extensive background in special education, coupled with Bob and Patty's experience raising children with special needs infuses the studio, which is accessible to people with disabilities, with a fully inclusive vibe, allowing all who enter a chance to create without fear of judgment or ridicule.
GT Dream Cars unleashes its elite fleet of exotic, automatic sports cars on a temporary basis to help add a touch of luxury, beauty, and raw power to an afternoon. The lineup of swanky steeds includes the powerfully sleek Aston Martin Vantage, the luxurious Bentley Continental GT, the Ferrari F430 Scuderia, the Maserati GranTurismo, or the Lamborghini Gallardo, with the power of 550 horses or 78 furious mastodons. Inside car cockpits, conquer the 2.7-mile road course, blasting down the straightaway and deftly maneuvering the mini corkscrew with the ease of a bobsled team weaving down a water slide.