MEET THE FOUNDERS OF ARTSLINGERS

Maria Gross

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Hello!! My name is Maria and I am so excited to begin this new Children’s program with Denice McClure, owner of Florida Power Yoga.  I would like to tell you a little bit about myself.  I was born and raised in New York (Long Island-Ronkonkoma). As a child, I loved ART and developed some skills-mainly pencil sketching.  I’ll never forget my favorite piece that I created was a self-portrait of Gandhi as a younger man, in which I entered in a Cultural Contest at my Junior High School and got 3rd place.  I always loved my art classes throughout High School but decided to not pursue anything beyond that.  I just assumed that I couldn’t get a job after college as an artist.   I went to college in upstate New York.  After graduating college, I began working in Technology Sales Positions which led me to take a position in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1998.  I lived there for 2 years and absolutely fell in love with the state’s landscape.  There was something extraordinary to look outside your window and see the mountains with snow on top, even in August!!  I started pencil sketching again, mainly those mountainous landscapes that I loved so much.   In 2000, I moved to Florida to be closer to my family that had relocated from NY.  In 2001, I met the love of my life, Michael, got married in 2003 and had our son John that same year.  It was after our son was born that I took an interest in Early Childhood and Development, and began working with children.  I knew that this was I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I began by substitute teaching in Hillsborough County and also began my own Toddler Music & Art Company called Sprouts which re-charged my creative side.  I would go into preschools in Hillsborough County to teach young children Art & Music which then led me to be a preschool teacher and never considered doing anything else.  I’ve always encouraged Art activities in my classrooms as a preschool teacher.  I think it is such an important way for children to express their ideas and thoughts and bring out a creative side that they may not know they have.  Art allows us to experience so many different emotions and grow within us.  

I’ve been a Florida Power Yoga client for years and this new program was actually born one day on my Yoga mat during a Slow Power class!!  It was truly a serendipitous moment in which Denice and I began discussing this new venture and were both on the same track to develop a program that allows kids to lasso ideas, focus – using Yoga techniques and express them through Art.  To give it more dimension, we incorporated my “Sprouts” experience and added the ideas of World Famous Artists.  There is NO other program like this in Florida and we truly hope it becomes a special place for children to let their imaginations become reality.

Achievements:

  • State University of New York-New Paltz College, Bachelors of Liberal Arts, Major-Sociology 1993

  • CPR & First Aid Certified

  • Level 1 & Level 2 State and Nationwide Background Check Clearance

  • Staff Credential to teach VPK w/Formal Education

  • Director’s Credential at Early Childhood Facility

  • Preschool-Toddler Teacher/VPK Teacher/Director – over 13 years’ experience

Denice McClure

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How does one go from managing Manufacturing Facilities as a Chemist to launching one of the Hottest yoga studios in the Tampa Area? I led a project called Project Hawk for Molded Fiber Glass Companies that changed how the thermoset plastic market did business by benchmarking what every competitor was doing regarding making a material called SMC. They turned from competitors to allies as we decided to stop competing against each other and take market share from metal stamping, rubber plants, thermoplastic markets.  We worked hard to develop the answers to what makes the very Best Material... ok so that market is every piece on a Corvette, and every truck cab on the road and the top of the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The project was a huge success and I was able to retire at 38 to pursue what I loved: the study of teaching yoga as fitness rather than yoga as an Eastern philosopher.

If benchmarking worked for my old field why not go to studios everywhere to find out what makes the very best yoga experience for people who love fitness, who understand the health benefit of being social by belonging to a group they enjoy being around, who like the accountability of  coming because they will be missed if they miss, who are retired athletes that need stretching more than any other physical activity, who are business people that are entrepreneurs that needed a way to create as well as manage stress. I wasnt looking for the "average" yogi. I was looking for people like me that want time to move, be challenged, sweat copious buckets of sweat and never the small stuff again. So I toured over 180 yoga studios all over the country to find out what I liked, what I hated, what worked, what was a bomb, what was the best floor choice, what was the state of the art in temperature controls and what classes had average people like me in them. FPY is an accumulation of one amazing bench marking journey where the birth of Fast Paced Yoga (FPY) in our one of a kind facility of vibrancy was the commutation of that time. We move fast from pose to pose, yet call it Slow Power because the power builds slowly from the first pose and gradually goes up one side of a mountain building speed then goes down the mountain to bring a person to the ultimate state of rest at the end of class . . . The best part of class is 6.5 minute nap before you re-set your charge button! We hope you love letting us be your guide up and down the mountain! We launched in 2013 and have over 1800 plus clients who call FPY home today. Our next locations are in Wesley Chapel, Carollwood and Trinity with an additional 47 in the next 5 years.  Welcome to the Flagship of FPY where it all began!