At the tender age of 6, Mark Cafiero received his first camera. Though it was broken and filled with cartoons his father had drawn of Mark and his sisters, that camera sparked an early interest in photography. Since then, that spark has erupted into a full-fledged passion, leading Mark to become a professional photographer who has snapped photos for hundreds of clients, including celebrities and professional athletes. To share his spark with others, Mark founded Chimpsy, a resource that helps photographers of all experience levels calibrate their skills with casual in-person and online classes.
Available in more than 30 cities across the nation, Chimpsy's two-hour crash course features a hands-on shooting session and campfire-style presentation on topics ranging from camera anatomy to photo composition. For home study, online classes help photographers—beginners and aspiring pros alike—get more from their pictures through two-hour video tutorials that cover photo-editing software, shooting tips and techniques, and steps on how to build a photography business. From the comfort of their bedrooms, students can watch these professional photographer-led tutorials live or replay previously recorded sessions. Along with instructional classes, Chimpsy offers shutterbugs a place to submit photos for contests with monthly prizes or for feedback from peers, pros, and sentient picture frames.
During guitar lessons, Robinson's experienced instructors school both novice and veteran ax-slingers in the art of stringed virtuosity. Students of all ages can use the lesson to study up on any preferred musical style, including rock, classical, jazz, blues, or bubblegum bebop. Whether helping pupils to perfect basic etudes or to deconstruct complicated Jimmy Page solos, Robinson's seasoned pick pros illuminate valuable playing tips and practice techniques. The center, located a quarter mile from Route 9, houses 15 different studios and more than 500 enrolled students. Call to schedule a lesson.
After purchasing his first DSLR camera, Gary Detonnancourt made the common mistake of investing in expensive equipment before learning to use what he already had. Eventually realizing that his gear was only as good as his understanding of it, he became a self-made expert in the art of digital photography. He went on to become president of the Northern Rhode Island Camera Club, and he now draws on years spent as a science teacher to explain to students how light works and why shining a laser pointer on something is hilarious. That same experience has caused him to apply a hands-on philosophy in workshops and online programs as well as lessons in studio photography, fine-art printing, and Photoshop. The shutterbug also appears at weddings to capture special-day grins, and portraits of young children beg for space in photo albums next to teddy bear–hunting licenses.
Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts bustles with creativity at its three campus locations in Massachusetts, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. Inside the classrooms, seasoned instructors lead hands-on workshops that delve into an array of artistic interests, including filmmaking, photography, animation, graphic design, and audio production. Teachers and students use state-of-the-art tools such as Arri video lighting, Adobe Creative Suite software, and Epson inkjet printers capable of producing counterfeit Disney Dollars.
The faculty members at the School of Rock believe that immersion is the best way to learn any new skill, which is why they don’t just teach students how to traverse the notes and rhythms of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals in isolation. In addition to teaching students the technical skills during one-on-one lessons, the professional music instructors push them to fuse their individual parts into songs during full band practices with fellow beginner rockers. This combination of one-on-one attention and cooperative group learning helps kids of all skill levels hone their craft while overcoming common pitfalls such as stage fright or playing off-tempo. As kids learn to shred riffs, pound out drum solos, and summon Ronnie James Dio by hitting the correct vibrato atop a silver mountain, the classes build their confidence and kick-start a lifetime of loving rock 'n' roll.
Alexandra Rozenman's career has taken her from the Soviet underground to a prominent place among some of America's most revered cultural institutions. Born in Moscow, she found her footing alongside now-famous dissident artists before political pressures brought her to the United States as a refugee in the late 1980s. From that point on, her surrealistic, multilayered paintings have only gained momentum, taking her from an MFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to international exhibitions—including an upcoming exhibit at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge—to a fellowship with the MacDowell Colony, an illustrious group of bohemians whose members have included James Baldwin and Michael Chabon.
Having risked everything to follow her own politically conscious muse, Rozenman knows how important self-expression is to every artist. Accordingly, her classes at Art School # 99 arm students with the technical skills and supportive environment they need to bring their vision to life and the authority they need to keep it from running away and playing pranks on the mayor. Programs often reach beyond the canvas to embrace the artist as a whole person: classes might incorporate readings, movies, or collage techniques, and cultivate salon-style inspiration with French-impressionist-appropriate wine or russian tea.