UHV to offer Saturday art courses

Editor’s Note: The Saturday art courses offered by the University of Houston-Victoria have been canceled. The university offers a painting course from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. and a drawing course from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays that are open to the public.

The University of Houston-Victoria is offering art classes on Saturdays this fall, and members of the community are encouraged to sign up.

Jeffrey Di Leo

“The Victoria community shows a clear appreciation of the arts, and UHV wants to encourage that,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “These Saturday courses will allow our students more time to focus on their art studies while also offering them a chance to interact with community members who share their love of art.”

The art courses will be “Intro to Drawing” from 9-11:45 a.m. and “Intro to Painting” from 1-3:45 p.m. They will be taught by UHV art instructor Sylvia Benitez. Both courses will be held in the UHV Totah Building, 3402 N. Ben Wilson St. Community members who wish to sign up for the courses should contact the UHV Student Billing Office and pay the regular course cost. Residents 65 and older have the option to fill out a waiver to take the course for free.

Benitez is the founder and executive director of the Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association, a nonprofit organization that serves women artists of South Texas. She also has curated projects in galleries, including 11.11.11, Lake Erie to Now, Hand Matters and Repair Workbook. In addition, she has received numerous awards and fellowships for her work including two National Endowment for the Arts awards, two Pollack-Krasner awards and an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb mature artist support grant.

Sylvia Benitez

“Saturday can be a great option for art classes,” Benitez said. “They allow for longer sessions instead of being restricted to a normal class schedule. Students will have more time during their sessions to really get into the art mindset and focus on developing their style.”

During her classes, Benitez hopes to inspire students to learn more about what they are capable of as they draw and paint.

“I love hearing a student say, ‘I never knew I could do that before,’” she said. “I want them to find that lightbulb moment and realize they can succeed at bringing their visions to life – give them a strong foundation they can build on by pursuing their own natural curiosity.”

The decision to encourage community members to take the courses also is exciting for Benitez. Community outreach is an important part of developing art appreciation in a region, she said.

“I’m delighted to come to UHV, and I am looking forward to working with the students and the Victoria community,” she said. “I’ve taught for 10 years at Southwest School of Art, and I look forward to bringing that energy to the area and fulfilling the art students’ needs as artists.”

For more information about how to sign up for the art courses, contact the UHV Student Billing Office at 877-970-4848, ext. 4833 or

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.