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Corks N Canvas 

Corks N Canvas (119 Focis St., Metairie, 832-5536; 4524 Magazine St., 891-3209; 2689 Florida St., Mandeville, 985-626-6272; www.corksncanvas.com) co-owners Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney call the Louisiana-based franchise's BYOB motto "liquid courage" for first-time artists with "white canvas anxiety."

  "People say, 'I can't do this,' and they think you have to be trained," Deano says.

  "Give them a wineglass to remove some of that inhibition," Maloney adds, laughing.

  Combining creativity and camaraderie, the Mandeville-based company allows patrons to create a painting under the direction of an experienced artist. Participants are equipped with paint, a 16-inch-by-20-inch acrylic canvas and brushes. They are encouraged to bring their beverage of choice for an enjoyable and entertaining night out.

  Each two- or three-hour class features a different painting participants will create, with artwork ranging from ballerinas, flowers and holiday themes to traditional New Orleans motifs. Visitors may choose from Port of Call's hamburger and loaded baked potato duo, Pat O'Brien's iconic Hurricane or a moonlit French Quarter scene, among others.

  Whether it's date night, girls' night out or family time, the budding franchise offers something for everyone. Family Day is scheduled once a month at each location for children under the age of 15. On most weeknights, classes are held at 7 p.m. Private parties also are available.

  Corks N Canvas, which opened its first studio in Mandeville in November 2007, recently began franchising under the name "Painting with a Twist." With about 20 locations throughout Louisiana, Florida and Texas, the rapidly growing company has honed in on what Maloney and Deano call a "recession-proof business" with powerful results.

  "It raises people's self-esteem," Maloney says. "People leave feeling better than when they came in. It's cheap therapy."

click to enlarge Students in a class at Corks N Canvas display the artworks they - created
  • Students in a class at Corks N Canvas display the artworks they created
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