HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Art connects the various veins in Beth Hinton's life. She met her husband duing a high school art class. Her sister is an artist, and her children dabble in art. A mission trip abroad focused on art reaffirmed her passion. And her latest venture is the culmination of her desire to share her love of art with others.
Hinton opened Younique Art Studio, 118 N. Third St., in February. She's always wanted to open her own studio, but her 13-year-old daughter, Khloee, is the main reason she did so now.
"I was inspired by my daughter. She said if I'm going to open an art studio, I need to have something for kids her age to do," Hinton said. "She's my junior business partner. She's been with me every step of the way."
Hinton creates lesson plans and leads a small group of participants, teaching them how to hand letter, paint on canvas and work with ink, fibers, paper, pallets and wreaths. Twice a month, she hosts events held specially for youth.
"My heart is with kids," said Hinton, who in addition to being a certified art instructor is a second grade teacher at Mark Twain Elementary School. "It's a great thing to bring businesses into downtown that offer things for kids."
But she doesn't want participants -- adults and children alike -- to re-create exactly what she demonstrates in her lessons.
"When people come, I don't want them to copy me exactly. That's where the ‘you' in the name ‘Younique' comes from," Hinton added.
Although Hinton teaches at her studio what she calls "fun art," her former high school art teacher and mentor, Pat Kerns, will teach a couple classes in April on beginner drawing.
"I think it's a natural instinct to want to create. But after a certain amount of time, people want to take (art and painting) to the next step," Kerns said. "I believe that anybody can learn to draw, and I believe drawing is the foundation to all visual art."
She hopes to teach more instructional classes with Hinton in the future.
"It's been a great support for me," Hinton said of having her family and mentor be involved and help with her art studio. Although working full time as a teacher and teaching art in her studio is demanding, Hinton is happy to be pursuing her passion.
"I really believe in giving back to the community," she said of teaching art lessons and sometimes helping the youth groups she teaches raise money for future projects. "It makes my heart happy to support different things in the community."
For that reason, Kerns is proud of her former student.
"She's a remarkable woman," she said. "Her students at school are so lucky, and the people she teaches at her studio are lucky."
More information about Younique Art Studio may be found at ?youniqueart16.com.