Saturday, November 17, 2012

P is for Play and Q is for Quote

"We do not quit playing because we grow old; We grow old because we quit playing." 
Oliver Wendell Holmes

I missed posting yesterday, so I am combining two ideas into one today. I think they fit together perfectly.

The quote above hangs in the children's art studio at Multnomah Arts Center where I teach painting to kids age five to eleven. I stop to read these words every time I am in the studio, but, I think they really belong in art room at the Assisted Living, because I think they are  far more relevant to my students at the other end of the age spectrum.

My goal in teaching seniors has always been to bring pleasure and  and stimulation into the lives of my elder students.  On one level this is my attempt to create a model for a more enriched future for myself (and all my rapidly aging friends), so that someone will offer high-quality art classes when I am older and have less access to the classes and pursuits that make me life so rich today.

What I did not expect was that a few hours a week of art classes could result in so much .... so much learning, so much growth, so much new confidence, so much beautiful art, and most unexpectedly, so much fun and even laughter. To quote a student, "Drawing til your hands ache burns off stress, is a lot of fun, AND, you get a flower when your done."

I do not know who is getting the most out of this opportunity - but let me share some of the joyful work that has appeared in our art classes.

Lillain Pakos: Leaves and Patterns
Carol Mussler: Tree in Bloom

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Frances Nishimura: Trees
Rosemary Cramer: Inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe