Monday, August 1, 2011

SmART Seniors

Enjoy this article about the benefits of taking art classes later in life!

Students at work in Todd Butt's Watercolor Class

Benefits of Art for Seniors

“I can’t draw,” is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when someone suggests that you might like to do something artistic.  Saying that is just like saying” I can’t” and you know how you feel about that word. 
I can remember taking an art class in high school (it was a required subject back then) and it was one of the few classes that was actually fun.  The teacher was non-judgmental and he introduced us to drawing, painting, ceramics and pottery.   Anyway, the thing that impressed me was that I was pretty good at it and did I mention that it was fun.  Oh, not good enough to pursue studies along that line (we had to pick career fields that actually amounted to a job back then) but good enough that I thought that I would like to try it again “someday,”.
That was 50 years ago.  Life somehow intervened and I never had time. I took a few classes here and there and read a few books but the whole process remained dormant for years.  Well, I guess now is the time.  It will have to be now or never, so let us explore what we mean by art and creativity. 
Art can be drawing, painting, weaving, knitting, crocheting, quilting, stamping, writing, or even acting.  Art education can be active (where you actually create or perform your art) or it can be passive (visiting an art gallery or watching a performance). You don’t have to be able to draw in order to be introduced to the world of artistic expression
Art is therapy.  We all need therapy as we get older whether we will admit it or not.  Aging is not fun and we all need something to give us a boost when it comes to mental health and self esteem issues.
You can learn from books but older adults tend to choose art instruction offered through colleges, recreational centers, churches or senior centers. Skill development, intellectual curiosity or just plain social interaction may figure into your reason for pursuing various forms of artistic expression.  It is never too late to learn new things. 
The art making process is creative.  It can serve as a way to explore your past and your present experiences.  Whether you look at art work as therapy or just a way to have fun it is a powerful tool.  You are never too old.  Discovery, stimulation and finding new ways to relax are a vital part of your being.   Sign up for a class and visit an arts and craft store.  It is time to get back to those promises that you made to yourself years ago.  Someday is here!

Student Artwork in Todd Butt's Watercolor Class

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