Leticia and Nestor Benavides want to create an art renaissance in Georgetown. Longtime Georgetown residents, the Benavides have spent the past two years in Indiana but recently moved back to the East Coast to be closer to home.
Moving back brought up the normal conversation topics about employment and housing, forcing the couple to decide that it was time to merge their love of art, education and Georgetown into a business that offered a service while also enriching the community they love so much.
So in the first week of June, Nestor and Leticia opened Canvas Amigos and More. The studio offers classes and camps for those with an interest in painting.
However, no previous background or artistic ability is required for classes with CAM. For $20 per person, participants review the online schedule, pick out a painting and just show up. All the supplies are included and at the end of the session, everyone has a self-created work of art to take home.
“No skills are necessary,” Nestor said. “Anyone can do it. Our instructors will guide you through the process, and even people who have never painted before will be amazed at what they wind up with.”
Classes last about two hours and participants are invited to bring their own refreshments.
“Bring in your own food, we can order food or we can make the food for you,” Nestor said.
Parties are also welcome.
“Plan a girls night out or a date night,” Nestor said. “We had a baby shower not too long ago and we have a graduation party this weekend.”
“For couples, we have a program where they can create their own abstract painting,” Leticia said. “Each shape, each color represents something for the couple. The birth of a child, an anniversary, special moments. When it’s finished, the couple has a work of art that only they can explain.”
For Leticia, who acts as the studio’s activities coordinator, this new venture merges her love of painting with her passion for kids.
“I’m not really a painter. I found the hobby later,” Leticia said. “But, I have a background in education and social work. It makes me so happy when the kids get so lost in learning about the colors and painting that they don’t realize it’s time to go.”
It was also important to Leticia that the program be in the center of Georgetown.
“It was important to me that we do something inside town because we wanted to be able to offer this to the community, including the ones that don’t have transportation,” Leticia said.
Page 2 of 2 - Aside from art, the studio also offers English as a Second Language classes and tutoring in science and math.
“I think the math classes are important,” Leticia said. “We're also thinking about starting a chess club for interested students.”
Ultimately, the couple hopes their new venture spawns an art renaissance in Georgetown.
“There are so many talented kids and talented artists in Georgetown,” Nestor said. “Georgetown needs this kind of service.”
The couple added that art and historic preservation should and can go together.
“Maybe no one has thought about it before,” Nestor said. “The town is so historically-minded and spends a lot of time protecting its landmarks and buildings. Yet, I don’t think anyone has thought of exploiting something that’s missing. And, that’s the arts.”
Leticia said historic preservation is good but “kids need activities,” adding that many of Georgetown’s residents can’t go to Rehoboth or Dover to take advantage of art programs.
“We as a community have to offer these activities and educate the public,” Leticia said. “These things create a good environment for the community.”