The Canvas on Broadway offers painting lessons, wine

Friday, March 23, 2012 | 6:29 p.m. CDT; updated 6:38 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 24, 2012

COLUMBIA — Rich crimson and pale yellow strokes of paint blend together behind an empty martini glass that holds three emerald-colored olives. The piece – “Summer Martini” – seems edgy, with a simplistic appearance.

This painting will be featured at a new art venue in downtown Columbia, The Canvas on Broadway, at 706 East Broadway, Suite 100. Started by Stephanie Hall and Angela Bennett, The Canvas will give painting classes and offer wine and beer during evening lessons.

The "Summer Martini" piece will be featured at the first painting class, which is already sold out.

Each class has a capacity of 49 people and lasts about two hours. The classes range in price from $25 to $45. A complete calendar listing of available classes and events will be posted on The Canvas’s website by the end of next week.

Evening lessons will start at 6:30 p.m.    

Embracing the strong artistic presence in Columbia, Hall and Bennett will host a "soft opening" the first week of April and a grand opening, commencing with an open house, April 13 for their new art venue.

The open house will give Columbia residents a chance to explore the gallery, try out appetizers and drinks and pick up some coupons.

Hall, who majored in art with an emphasis in painting, said she got the idea for this kind of service during her birthday last January. Her husband invited a few friends over and she took them up to her art room, walking them through the steps of a typical painting.

Hall and Bennett, who have known each other for more than 10 years, already have one successful business operation under their belts – Muddy Boots Design Company. Hall and Bennett take orders for custom, handmade and hand-painted frames, which will now be sold at The Canvas.

Hall said downtown Columbia offers several places to go out and walk around or grab dinner before or after the class. She also thinks The Canvas gives people an opportunity to be active in a social event that can also be an alternative to going to bars.

“It’s just a really fun atmosphere. We’ll have music in the background, and there’s no pressure,” Hall said, adding that although the evening session typically runs till around 9 p.m., she’d be willing to stay open as late as the law permits if people want to stay later.

The Canvas is not just for adults, either. On weekday and Saturday mornings, The Canvas will feature lessons for families and children.

In addition to classes, The Canvas will also offer open studio time, private events and parties when there are not any classes in session.

“You don’t have to have any artistic ability, just come for some fun,” Hall said, stressing that The Canvas’s classes are meant for anyone interested in painting.

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