The Creamery Art Center in Hotchkiss is reaching out to senior citizens through a new program headed up by Rita Clagett.
The Senior Outreach Program is engaging seniors in Delta County in several different ways thanks to the efforts and generosity of the Creamery's artist volunteers.
"It is an umbrella of several projects. So, I am the senior outreach coordinator for the Creamery. I am engaged in two projects currently. Both are to involve seniors more in the arts," Clagett said.
"Since May I have been organizing Creamery artist volunteers to go to three different senior centers once a month either doing a demonstration or a hands-on workshop."
The artist volunteers have gone to the PACE senior centers in Eckert and Paonia, and the Crossroads residence in Delta. Among those who have already worked with seniors, or are scheduled to, are Bob Heid, demonstrating beading; Pennie Alexander, doing a weaving demonstration; David Delo, author of "The Yellowstone, Forever!" giving a presentation on Yellowstone; Jackie Slater did a flower bookmark workshop; Connie Willett did a spinning demonstration; Daphna Russell did a clay workshop; Evelyn Horn, a Delta County Independent columnist, naturalist and author, presented a multi-media presentation on birds; Lois Fritz demonstrated making wire-wrapped stone jewelry; Sherry Polcyn gave watercolor lessons; and Carol Ann Rasmussen did an oil-wash abstract workshop.
Sherry Polcyn did watercolor workshops in Eckert in September, October and November. The watercolors will be incorporated into a Creamery show in 2013.
Clagett is scheduling artists for late December and early 2013.
The artist volunteers have been very willing to do the workshops and demonstrations, often providing materials for the seniors.
The senior centers report participants are really enjoying the workshops.
Clagett is also involved in a second way that is honoring the lives of seniors. She is doing video interviews of seniors 65 and older. Some of the seniors she has interviewed have lived in the area for five generations going back to the pioneer days.
The inspiration for the project came to Clagett after videotaping Marion Stewart and Diane Hammond together. They talked about their childhoods. What originally began as a desire by Clagett to record her friends telling their stories has led to this video chronicling of other seniors. Clagett believes the recordings are a "wonderful way to celebrate and interact" with the seniors, learn from their histories and give the recordings to their families. This also fulfills the Creamery's need to interact with seniors in the valley.
"I take portraits of each senior I interview and will be putting on a show at the Creamery in the spring or summer with the portraits. Everyone I interview receives a disk of their video interview and a small portrait," Clagett said.
She has about 10 people currently lined up to videotape this winter and wants to do a few more.
For the Creamery show, one of the galleries will have the senior portraits and the watercolors from Sherry Polcyn's workshop. An endless audio loop with snippets of the seniors' stories will be playing.
Clagett believes that by recording the oral histories, families will have information from their family member that they never knew before.
"This comes from me not having anything like that from my family," Clagett said. She does have some audio of both her parents. She wishes she would have thought to ask her parents certain questions before they died. "So, I'm asking these people one of my staple questions, 'Is there anything you would like to tell someone in your family that you never told them?' "
Clagett believes seniors are perhaps underrepresented in arts and in arts events, and wants to provide some solutions.
The Creamery would like to offer workshops for the seniors at the art center, but that has been hampered by lack of transportation.
"A previous two-session clay workshop at the Creamery was rewarding for both the Creamery clay studio volunteers and residents of a group home. In the first session, members of the group each created a clay piece; in the second session the fired clay piece was glazed," Clagett said. "In the interim, one member of the group passed away, and during the second session the group collaborated on selecting the glazes and final appearance of the deceased member's pottery.
"This workshop was transformative for all involved and deemed highly successful, and will provide the model for future clay workshops for small, cohesive senior groups as soon as transportation to the Creamery can be arranged for participants."
The Creamery Arts Center is enlivening seniors through participation in art and "casting seniors at the center of a major art project." The mission is to build relationships between seniors, their families, the Creamery and the community.blog comments powered by Disqus