Amara Yoga & Arts Celebrates Expanded Space, New Leadership and Direction with Art Opening Reception Featuring “Outer Limits” -- New Work by Local Artist Travis Hocutt
This Sunday, November 15, 2015, Amara Yoga & Arts, 300 South Broadway Avenue in Urbana, will celebrate its expanded space, new leadership and direction with a free, family-friendly reception from 5:00-7:00 pm. Guests will enjoy live music, henna tattoos, drishti point art marking, and food and wine while exploring local artist Travis Hocutt’s new exhibit “Outer Limits.”
The recent renovation of the former Great Impasta space into a second yoga studio has made it possible for Amara to double its offerings to 40+ classes per week ranging widely in intensity and style. And with the continued success of their summer art and yoga programs for kids, art director Kathryn Fitzgerald has launched a family-friendly approach to weekend yoga. Parents can take a Saturday morning or Sunday noon class while their kids enjoy yoga and art classes in the next room.
Amara Yoga & Arts was co-founded in 2009 by Kathryn Fitzgerald and Theresa Brandabur as a yoga studio and art gallery. After being offered her “dream job” in the field of geology, Wisconsin-based Brandabur decided it was time to sell her share in the studio. Earlier this month, Don Briskin, who was Amara’s first yoga instructor, became its new co-owner.
A Los Angeles-native who has been practicing yoga since the age of 11, Briskin brings extensive yoga experience to this new role. “My practice has included many different styles of yoga including Sivananda Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and most recently the Vinyasa Krama Yoga of Krishnamacharya,” notes Briskin. With 12 years of teaching yoga under his belt, Briskin will lead Amara’s Yoga Teaching Training program starting in 2016, in addition to teaching a variety of class offerings. Briskin will transition into his full studio director role in January.
When asked about their goals for Amara, Fitzgerald and Briskin agree “we’re bringing back the “arts” in Amara Yoga & Arts.” This recommitment to the arts component of the studio’s mission will take several forms. Fitzgerald, an artist and art teacher, has recently launched an Exquisite Art Playshop series, which is based on the Exquisite Corpse art salons of the 1920s, and which offers two-hour creative play and art making sessions for adults, in which participants create individual or communal art projects.
The expansion has also increased Amara’s art gallery capacity, which will be evident with Hocutt’s “Outer Limits” installation.Travis Hocutt is currently the Artist in Residence at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. He received his BFA in Photography at the Art Institute of Boston, and his MFA in Photography from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Hocutt’s work encompasses a wide variety of media including antiquated photographic processes, digital photography, bookbinding, sculpture, design, and video. His work, predominately focusing on space exploration as inspiration, often blends science and art into complex installation pieces comprised of several media. Hocutt’s art operates on the idea that curiosity, wonder, and the human desire to explore are not just among the core of what it means to be human, but are forces which continue to elevate us. His works also actively investigate the conceptual framework we have erected in order to explain and continue to expand our sphere of understanding on earth and beyond.
“Outer Limits” will be up through January 15, 2016, and can be viewed Saturday mornings from 8:00 am till noon, and during studio hours or by appointment.
“With both studios, plus the remaining kitchen area, there are endless possibilities,” Briskin notes. As a painter and musician, Briskin looks forward to incorporating more live music into classes and events. His passion for roasting coffee, particularly beans from the Mysore region of India, has inspired him to take the existing bar area within the second studio and convert it into a café featuring small-batch roasted coffee, juices, and more. Amara Yoga & Arts’ mission is to bring high-quality, fun and innovative yoga and arts programs to the C-U community.
Amara offers daily yoga classes at varying levels of intensity on a drop-in basis, workshops, retreats and yoga teacher training, as well as programs for children. More information including schedules, rates, class descriptions and teacher bios can be found at www.amarayoga.com.