The History of Painting with a Twist

Painting with a Twist is the largest paint and sip franchise in the world. When Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney decided to start a business in the wake of Hurricane Katrina they wanted to incorporate a give back component. Cathy and Renee met as kindergarten mothers and soon recognized their common interest in volunteering and community service.

When Cathy and Renee opened their first studio under the name Corks n Canvas they let it be known that a local non-profit could apply to have a class’s revenues donated to their cause. Corks n Canvas hosted one Painting with a Purpose class a month. As Cathy and Renee opened three more studios in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana they incorporated the Painting with a Purpose events. In 2013 the Corks n Canvas corporate studios were converted to Painting with a Twist.

Painting with a Twist started franchising in 2009, and made Painting with a Purpose part of the structure of the business. Although it is not mandatory, many of the Painting with a Twist franchisees have adopted the Painting with a Purpose events, raising over $3,000,000 for local charities.

Painting with a Purpose Foundation

Cathy and Renee understand that the artist is the life blood of the paint and sip industry, and in 2014 embarked on the application process to become a 501(c)3 non-profit under the name Painting with a Purpose Foundation. In January of 2016, the Foundation was awarded its non-profit status.

Painting with a Twist has over 1,500 artists working in the system, and the goal of the Foundation is to award grants to artists within the system for family emergencies as well as to further their education.

At this time, the grants will primarily be funded by franchise-wide events where the proceeds will be donated to the Painting with a Purpose Foundation.


Renee Maloney

After Hurricane Katrina Renee Maloney and her business partner started Painting with a Twist. From the beginning a core value of their business model was giving back to the community. Together they created Painting with a Purpose which has donated over 3 million dollars to various non-profits around the country. Renee Maloney’s past service for charitable nonprofits includes the Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall,  Mandeville School Systems PTA and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, which is dedicated to restoring and preserving the water quality, coast, and habitats of the entire Pontchartrain Basin.

Catherine Deano

Catherine Deano and her business partner Renee Maloney started Painting with a Twist after Hurricane Katrina. They created an art studio where women could gather, paint and relieve the stress of the day. She and Renee opened their first location in 2007. To date they have licensed 320 studios in 37 states. Catherine’s past volunteer service includes, the St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s Parenting Center, Cedarwood School PTA, St. Tammany Art Association. Pontchartrain Yacht Club, St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce and The Friends of the Dew Drop, the oldest unaltered jazz hall in the world.

Gretchen Mills

Originally from north Louisiana, Gretchen Mills graduated with honors from Louisiana Tech University with a BA in English and an Art Minor.  Now living in Mandeville, LA, she is currently the Director of Accounting and Payroll Administrator for Painting with a Twist, LLC.  She and her husband, Shane Mills, have three sons together: Ricky, Matt and Ben, along with their dog, Rex.

Bree McCleskey

Bree started in 2014 as an instructor with Painting with a Twist in Rockwall, Texas. Bree is passionate about helping people improve their lives and find their own path to happiness and financial security. Bree strongly supports resources that uplift those in need like women’s work programs, food banks and children’s advocacy. At Painting with a Twist she found a way to marry her love of art with her enthusiasm to give back to the community through Painting with a Purpose. As a new PWAP board member she is excited to make a difference in the lives of artists nationwide in addition to the people in her immediate community.

MaryLeigh Curren

MaryLeigh is originally from New Orleans and now lives in Mandeville with her three children, JenniferLeigh, Elizabeth, and Timothy, and their dog, Gracie.  She graduated from Ole Miss in Studio Art with a minor in Interior Design. MaryLeigh has been supporting the Children’s Museum of St. Tammany for the past 10 years by being on their Celebration committee and Advisory Board. MaryLeigh worked as an artist in the Painting with a Twist corporate owned studios for two years. Currently, she is working at the Painting with a Twist Home Office in the Art Department and supporting the Operations Department.

Leslie Gay

Leslie Gay’s career as an accountant spanned 25 years in academic settings from the University of Memphis to Tulane University to St. Petersburg College in Florida where she and her husband moved after evacuating when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

Leslie fell in love with St. Petersburg and opened a Painting with a Twist on Central Avenue, the first franchise location for the company. Since then, she and her husband Marvin have opened three more studios in Florida.