Three generations of the Hamilton family own and operate The Artist Within.org, a boutique studio that encourages artists of all ability levels to try their hands at painting in a communal environment. The studio provides all the necessary materials for recreating specific projects that include Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Bridge and over a Pond of Water Lilies, and it only requires that students bring their own wine, goodies, and Bob Ross wigs. In addition to public painting classes, the Hamiltons also host private events such as bachelorette and birthday parties and can create custom paintings for groups to reimagine.
For 25 years, Texas School of Bartenders has minted professional-grade mix masters in its hands-on classes held in classrooms that simulate real bars. The school's training labs brims with 42 bar stations loaded with up-to-date equipment, including touchscreen registers and serving trays made of hover boards. Full 40-hour courses run throughout the day to accommodate people with designs on pursuing bartending as a career. Covering drink recipes, customer service, and mixing techniques, introductory crash courses throw students into bartending in the same way Spartans taught their children to swim—by throwing them into a shark tank.
A great painting is often defined by the subject, the medium, and the artist. Arbor House Gallery helps its students find their inner artists in the most relaxing way possible: during BYOB classes. Its evening acrylics classes help amateurs explore the medium by recreating stunning landscapes and florals. As they lift brush to canvas, students can sip on wine or beer and chat casually with their neighbors' palettes.
Arbor House Gallery also offers children's and non-BYOB classes in a variety of media including ceramics, acrylics, oils, recycled art, and pottery.
Handicap accessible: Yes
Staff size: 2–10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Group and preschool piano classes
Pro tip: Group lessons are the best way to introduce your child to an instrument.
Q&A with Victoria Treadway, Owner of The Music Connection of Pearland
Tell us about your business.
We are a family-owned-and-operated music studio. We teach all styles of music, from jazz and blues to pop and classical. We teach individual lessons and group classes, primarily in piano, for ages 2 to adult. Piano is the most sought-after instrument we offer, [but] we also teach drums and guitar.
What makes your business stand out?
[First of all,] we are the only music studio in Pearland to offer group classes. They are more affordable, more fun because of the setting, and create a more independent student. We have our own curriculum, so we are able to give songs that are more well known and fun. [Second of all,] we are the only music studio in Pearland to offer Mommy and Me and preschool piano classes. Our program focuses on the piano and teaches theory through characters and different activities. Once the students have completed the different levels, they'll know the notes on the keyboard [and be able to] identify the dynamics of music, find the rhythm and recognize note values, and play beginner songs.
What inspired you to run this business?
This business has been in the family for 15 years. Once I [the daughter] got involved when I was going through college, I saw the potential to move from a business operating from home to a music studio. The reason we started the classes was for the student that wasn't self-motivated. Some students need a more fun environment than one-on-one lessons. I also strongly believe in starting your children in music lessons as early as you can to help children with their fine-motor skills, developing perfect pitch, and loads of other skills.
What is your most popular offering?
Group piano classes—once a week for 45 minutes—[and] individual piano [lessons, held] once a week for 30 minutes. [We also offer] preschool piano classes [and] Mommy and Me piano classes, [both held] once a week for 35 minutes.
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
One of our students [was] in shock over the amazing progress her son had made over the course of a year. He started as a beginner, and the next year he was playing songs like Solfeggietto and Moonlight Sonata. She recommended so many students to us. We called her our biggest fan.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Watching the students' progress and teaching them different styles of music. It's rewarding to see our students develop a love for music.
Anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We care about each and every student that comes through our door. We never give up on someone who takes a little longer than average to develop their musical skills.