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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Business partners teach painting, karate via Skype

Artist Jennifer Meade, who lives in Montgomery, Ohio, started her Painting on Wine Glasses class in Tampa through Skype. Meade teaches the classes, which are growing in popularity, with her karate instructor Mark Tracy of South Tampa at their combination karate and art studio, 4259 Henderson Blvd., Tampa. They also host classes in Ohio.
"Since we began these unique classes, their popularity has been phenomenal," Meade said. "Students enjoy the fun and casual atmosphere in a group setting. They get to choose what they would like to put on their glass, which increases the fun as each glass tends to reflect the personality of the painter. People like displaying something they have done themselves, but often times our people are giving them as gifts or making them for a specific event such as special get-togethers."
Meade and Tracy also teach students how to "bake" the glasses so they become dishwasher safe. The glasses can be used every day, she said, without the paint wearing off.
Meade, who has been an artist for more than 40 years, opened a combined art and karate studio with Tracy in the Cincinnati area after Meade sold her art studio. Just a few months after opening in Ohio, they heard about an available karate studio in Tampa.
They named their Tampa studio Tracy's Karate/Art Classes by Jen and Mark. Tracy, who has a 7th degree black belt, now runs most of the Tampa-area art classes, although Meade flies in for special events.
"Mark and I flew down and fell in love with the gorgeous studio and wonderful location," she said. "We began the classes over a year ago with us Skyping - me in Cincinnati, Mark in Tampa. The students enjoyed sharing their masterpieces with others in another state."
In addition to teaching karate as a form of self defense, they also offer tai chi. However, it's the art classes that appeal most to people looking for a unique party idea.
"We schedule multiple bridal showers, bachelorette parties, company events, book clubs, birthday parties, team building, girls' night out and more," she said. "The class also makes a great date night. We can even bring the class to the students, such as community centers, retirement centers, as well as other businesses."
Tracy hosts the art classes at Keel and Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road in Plant City, and at their Tampa studio.
"I love hosting the fun events," Tracy said. "People come in with family and friends and they are able to create a gift or something they will remember. Who knows? They might hand it down to family members. I like people developing their talents and having a great time."
Tracy said the next classes at the winery are Sunday, Aug. 4, from 2 to 5 p.m. and Aug. 25 from 2 to 5 p.m. Students use the winery's covered back deck patio for the class.
"Keel and Curley could not be more gracious or friendly to me," he said. "I look forward to just going out there. The people I teach are relaxed and want to have a good time. I just recently had 28 people there. It was just fantastic."
They also teach 90-minute wine glass classes at their Tampa studio on Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Reservations are required.
Meade tells people the art class is not a "paint-by-number class," but no one has to be a Picasso or a Rembrandt to participate, either. They also are instructed on how to paint their own margarita, water goblets or dessert dishes.
"No one is too old, untalented or too left-brained to paint a wine glass or margarita glass," she said. "In the 35 years that I have been teaching art I have never seen such enthusiasm and festivity out of an art class as in those painting on glass. Cheers to them."
Tracy, who has been teaching karate since 1990, is the son of Al Tracy, a grand master martial artist with a 10th degree black belt. Al Tracy, now a resident of Lexington, Ky., is the man behind the Tracy's Karate franchise.
Mark Tracy said he doesn't just use Skype to teach art classes with Meade. He also uses Skype to pass on his father's karate teachings.
"I teach people online using Skype all over the world," he said. "I'm one of the first martial artists who is doing it the way I'm doing it."
For more information on the karate or art classes, call (813) 374-2257.
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(813) 731-2008
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