Shernell Mays learned how much fun it could be to take a class at Painting with a Twist in Harker Heights a few years ago. After her first experience, she took her husband, Jeremy, along for a date night.

A private event was held to celebrate Shernell’s birthday, and she would’ve come back for more, if the company where Jeremy is an employee hadn’t transferred the family to Tempe, Arizona.

Tempe had nothing like Painting with a Twist. So, after Shernell consulted her parents, Annette and Michael Hampton, she and Jeremy opened a franchise in the city.

“They did it all themselves,” Annette Hampton said. “Shernell did a really great job.”

While the Tempe location flourished, Jeremy was transferred back to Central Texas. When Shernell learned Painting with a Twist’s Harker Heights location was for sale, the couple decided to buy it. They also now own a location in Temple, making three total.

The important thing for Shernell is to keep the classes fun for the guests, and to give back to the community.

Shernell related how, after Hurricane Katrina, founders Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney wanted to do what they could to help raise morale. They invited friends to backyard painting parties, hoping to offer a bit of fun.

Deano and Maloney soon opened Corks N Canvas in Mandeville, Louisiana, in 2007, which became Painting with a Twist. There are now over 300 locations nationwide. The franchisees are encouraged to do what they can to support their local communities.

Shernell and her family not only hire local artists to teach their classes, they also hold a monthly “Painting with a Purpose” event, with proceeds donated to various charities.

Painting with a Twist has become part of many families’ memories. Shernell believes the classes are more about the experience than the finished work, which is why surprise marriage proposals have been arranged, baby showers or other special occasions held at the Harker Heights studio.

“It’s possible to relate art to anything,” Shernell said.

Guests don’t need to have artistic talent to attend the classes, either. Shernell explained that many newcomers to Painting with a Twist are nervous, or think they might make a fool of themselves.

“By the time they leave, they’re excited about the experience,” she said. “The next time they come, they bring their friends.”

A wide variety of classes are offered, family friendly, and for adults, who can bring their alcohol along and enjoy a drink as they paint.

“No experience is necessary,” Shernell said. “We don’t use any technical terms.”

The sessions aren’t painting classes in the strictest sense, but more about discovering hidden talents, and having fun.

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