Express Yourself- at any age
Cary Burkett | 09.13.13
When Susan Crossley, Director of Recreation at Oaks at Bethany Village in Mechanicsburg, started an art class for the residents of the retirement community, she first scheduled it for an hour every other week.
Soon the participants persuaded her to expand it to a weekly session. As interest grew, even that proved insufficient, and the “Express Yourself Art Class” is now a two-and-a-half hour weekly session, with participants often arriving 40 minutes ahead of time to prepare materials.
Crossley describes herself as a facilitator rather than a teacher, a catalyst to help the participants unlock their creativity. Art projects include acrylic, multimedia, pen-and-ink, paper collage, and even a shed built out of toothpicks. The class members range in age from 69 to 99, with an average age of 82.
Even with physical challenges such as physical tremors and colorblindness the opportunity to create is something the residents find engaging and fulfilling.
Crossley says she has seen results that are in line with studies which show that being able to engage in a creative activity can help lower blood pressure, ease depression, reduce the influence of pain and even reduce dependence on medication.
Below you can hear our interview and feature on the art class:
An exhibit of the artwork produced by the residents will be on display in the Lowengard Atrium at the witf Public Media Center, available for viewing during normal business hours from September 11 to November 11.
Join witf for a free artists’ reception, scheduled for September 26 from 5-7 pm. View the artwork and meet fourteen of the resident artists. The reception will also feature a musical performance by world-renowned jazz pianist and composer, Steve Rudolph.
Location: witf Public Media Center (MAP and directions to witf)
4801 Lindle Road
Harrisburg, PA 17111
The artists’ reception is free and open to the public. Space is limited. Click here to RSVP by September 25 or contact Tiffany Johns Davis at 717.910.2894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.