A quick glance through Rachael Marie's portfolio shows a deep appreciation for natural light. Her subjects can be seen posing among blooming bushes, lying in piles of leaves, and even immersed up to the hems of their dresses in the bay. Mossy brick walls become the backdrop for attractive headshots, and grassy clearings become the dance floor for newlyweds, presided by a deer DJ. Rachael travels to all of these locations, returning discs full of retouched images to each of her clients.
Laura Monahan comes from an artistic family, and spent her youth practicing sculpture, oil painting, pottery, and what turned out to be her ultimate passion: photography. Her ability to preserve candid moments has left an indelible impression—she has a published portfolio on three continents and product lines appearing at national retailers such as Hallmark and JCPenney. Laura’s photo shoots always take place outdoors, capturing newborns, older kids, and families in soft, natural lighting and poses that never appear unnatural. Her settings span the country from San Diego’s foamy beaches to Denver’s red-rock sunsets and into the Midwest’s autumn leaves, and she holds mom's night out events all over the country, including in Honolulu, San Diego, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Denver.
Lara Olson was unhappy with the quality of art education her children were receiving in school. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to open Kidcreate Studio as a place where youngsters can exercise their creative muscles while practicing the visual arts in a fun learning environment. The studio’s curriculum immerses students in the kaleidoscopic world of art through professional lesson plans, incorporating media ranging from paints and pencils to clay and candy. Birthday parties at the studio keep children thoroughly engaged with hands-on activities and themed projects, and play groups lasting up to three hours give kids enough time to make new friends or think up at least a dozen more imaginary ones.
Amber Hein's longtime fascination with photography—as well as her life as proud mother to a fast-growing daughter—instills in her a passion for capturing precious family moments, with a specialty in documenting weddings, newborns, and family portraits. Amber doesn't ply her trade in a stuffy studio, but instead travels on-location, using her favorite green spaces and secluded urban spots as stunning natural backdrops to engagement pictures, kids' photos, and maternity portraits.
Hein takes an organic approach to her art, snapping memories of real, candid human interaction and family bliss, with a touch of soft-focus vintage charm.
Elite Photography's Sara Delak discovered her initial passion for photography while snapping shots of wildlife in locations such as Yellowstone National Park. She dreamed of working for National Geographic and traveled the globe with her camera, but eventually realized that home was where her heart really was.
So Sara opened Elite Photography, where she's broadened her skills dramatically shooting portraits, sports, pets, boudoir settings, and weddings. She still finds time to travel the world and has even put together a bucket-list book, Been There, Done That, to help people check off activities they most want to do in life, such as taking a gondola ride in Venice or napping in a kangaroo pouch in Australia. The book showcases photos Sara has taken doing the listed activities.
At schools, art studios, and museums across the city, Minneapolis Community Education fosters not only fun and practical skillsets, but also a sense of togetherness for students and teachers alike. While standing in a gym full of exercising neighbors, director Jack Tamble explained the social element of his organization, stating, “Community education is more than just about learning. When people gather together like they're doing behind me in this room, they get to know each other, and they really get to enjoy living in Minneapolis.” The network of community-recruited teachers has been serving the area for more than 40 years, and today teaches various skills ranging from basic computer navigation and multicultural cooking to advanced woodworking and fluency in Pig Latin.