Andy and Tressa Duncan of Cape Coral hope they have the right stuff to teach kids to use the right side of their brains in an area that desperately needs art.
The couple has opened a KidzArt franchise, an international art education company that has more than 70 franchisees in the U.S., with 14 others worldwide.
It is the first KidzArt franchise in Lee County, with locations in Tampa and Miami, and much of the United States, except for the northwest part of the country.
The Duncans, who have combined 25 years as educators, decided they didn't want to teach full-time anymore and instead devote themselves to after-school programs from kindergarten to 8th grade.
"It keeps us in a classroom, but it's all business. We can continue to teach kids and enrich their lives, but it's our business and we get to dictate where we go and who to reach out to," Andy said. "We're excited about it."
KidzArt, which opened in 2002, is a portable art program that provides afterschool art classes for elementary and middle school children, as well as art programs for preschoolers and adults, whether it be at school, camps, clubs, recreation programs or other locations.
"We were looking for business opportunities that touch our strengths as educators and people who like to reach out into the community and this seemed to achieve our goals," Andy said.
Having opened in July, business has been a little slow, Andy said, but he expects things to pick up as the school year heats up.
It also encourages self-expression, creativity and right-brain thinking in a relaxing environment.
In addition to afterschool art classes, KidzArt will also be offering programs for preschoolers as well as art instruction for adults and senior citizens.
KidzArt also offers birthday party services by providing age appropriate, kid-tested creative art projects including all art materials and an art specialist.
KidzArt has already established a presence in Lee County, offering classes through the Fort Myers Recreation Division at the Riverside Community Center on Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m.
It is also conducting afterschool classes at Fort Myers Christian School starting Sept. 10, and more schools are enrolling for the fall, Andy said.
"We'll also offer in-class field trips where we give students a taste of what they do in the after-school program," Andy said. "Since science, math and other subjects are integrated, they fit any well into any classroom lesson.
With school systems cutting art classes at the elementary level, the Duncans believe it's all the more important to get kids immersed in art.
"The bottom line speaks loudly. We want to make parents and the community aware of the benefits of art and what we would miss if it wasn't available," Andy said.
To register or form a class, call 458-0947 or visit www.capecoral.kidzart.com.