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Rockwall Painting With a Twist welcomes ‘Undercover Boss’

Renee (right) and Bree

(ROCKWALL,TX–Dec. 28, 2016) On January 4, Rockwall Painting With a Twist will have its 15 minutes of fame, appearing on an episode of CBS’s Undercover Boss.

The episode features local instructor Bree Ann McCleskey as she tasks Painting With a Twist co-founder and CFO Renee Maloney with creating new original artwork to be used for a painting class.

McCleskey explained that all Painting With a Twist employees have the opportunity to submit their original artwork to the corporate library, full of thousands of paintings. If their submission is accepted, they grant Painting With a Twist rights to use their design at any location. McCleskey has submitted 20 of her own designs so far.

“If we get inspired and we want to create something that we think customers would like to paint, we submit it,” McCleskey said. “All of the art in our library has been created by some artist somewhere at some Painting With a Twist. It’s fun to see your artwork being painted in Pittsburgh, or some other studio.”

Maloney, on the other hand, is a self-proclaimed “numbers person.” She admitted to failing an art class in school, and said this creative portion of the episode made her more nervous than any of the other roles she performed on camera.

“The art side is led by my business partner, so it was a very uncomfortable position to be in,” Maloney said. “I admire artists—but becoming one was probably my biggest fear about going undercover. When we started the company, one of the main things that was important to me was that the customer felt like they could accomplish this even if they couldn’t paint. Really I think that is what has made the magic of Painting With a Twist. People like me who think ‘I’m not an artist’ can come here and feel like one.”

McCleskey said she finds the most joy in her job when she watches customers unleash their forgotten creative spirit.

“My very favorite part is when I see people at the end of a class realize that they ‘did it,’” McCleskey said. “They rediscover creativity that they forgot about, that has just been latent all these years.”

Both Maloney and McCleskey said they benefitted tremendously from their experience on the episode. For Maloney, it was an opportunity to assess the needs of her company from within; for McCleskey, it was a chance to see her hard work truly appreciated.

“It felt like a fairy tale,” McCleskey said. “It felt unreal. The validation I heard made me feel really special, and it made me love working for the company.”

One of Maloney’s favorite moments from the episode was a chance to give back to those in need through Painting With a Twist’s charity organization, Painting With a Purpose. When Maloney co-founded the company with her partner Cathy Deano in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina back in 2007, its original purpose was to provide an outlet for fun and creativity in the face of tragedy. The franchise now encompasses 320 studios in 36 states, and has donated more than $3.25 million through their charity arm.

“We are going to provide a venue to fund artists,” Maloney said. “It is primarily and solely for artists because Cathy and I both know that this business wouldn’t be a business without them and their God-given talent.”

As a direct result of her experience on the show with McCleskey, Maloney recently implemented a Painting With a Twist Artist Advisory Board. The board is led by seven total artists based in different locations nationwide, and will help to further acknowledge and compensate artists for the designs they submit to the company. McCleskey now serves as one of the board members.

“One of the reasons for going undercover is to get into your system and see: where are our opportunities for improvement?” Maloney said. “Something I learned from Bree is what it feels like to create art as an artist. When you finally see your art on other studio calendars, it’s an incredible experience. But what can we do from home office to acknowledge the artist? We at home office had talked about this before my conversation with Bree, but we couldn’t put our finger on the pulse of how to do it. We need the artist advisory board to help us compensate artists and make them feel special.”

To see McCleskey and Maloney in action, tune in to CBS at 7 p.m. January 4, 2017 for their episode of Undercover Boss.

By Julie Anne White, Blue Ribbon News reporter. Photo courtesy of CBS.


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