A new collaboration between the Cody Senior Center and the Cody Country Art League called Art with Heart for Seniors is getting set to begin.
Art with Heart for Seniors is a program off free art classes offered for seniors age 60 and up who are members of the Cody Senior Center.
Jenny Johnstone-Smith, Cody Senior Center director, received grant funding from the Shoshone Recreation District to provide the free classes beginning in April and running through June. Two classes will be offered each month and members of the Cody Country Art League will be instructing.
“We are thrilled to be involved with this project,” said CCAL gallery director René Huge. “Part of our mission and goal is to connect the community with visual arts and to have outreach relationships within the community. We are happy to help achieve that goal however we can.”
The wheels began turning on this project more than a year ago.
“As the director for the Senior Center, and as a board member for Cody Country Art League, we wanted to find ways in which we could collaborate more between our groups,” Johnstone-Smith said. And so, Art with Heart for Seniors was born.
“This is a great activity to further break the isolation our seniors have been living with,” Johnstone-Smith said. “Not only will they be attending these art classes at Cody Country Art League, but it will also get them to engage outside of our doors and within the community, which is something we really want to see more of.”
The instructors are excited to be part of this new program, too. Shirley Stephens of Pony Creek Pottery will be teaching pottery in the program. She didn’t even hesitate when asked to participate because working with this age group is near and dear to her heart.
“When my mom first came to live with us she was able to be in my studio – and I could give her minimal instruction and she would just take off and do her thing… and it was really fun to be there with someone who wanted to be there and to see them enjoy that kind of experience,” Stephens said. “This is an age range that suits me and I feel comfortable teaching this group. It becomes a rewarding experience for all of us.”
Not only will the seniors be going on field trips to the Art League for their classes, but they’ll also be getting out more in nature – finding resources they can use in their artwork projects.
“Part of our goal with all of this is finding creative ways of getting our members outside their doors – and our doors – and integrating into the community,” Johnstone-Smith said.
“This has been a project in the works for a while now and we are so pleased it is finally ready to launch. It is our pleasure to be part of this creative collaboration,” Huge said.
“This will be a great test drive for future opportunities to bring art to the seniors,” Johnstone-Smith said, “and while the SRD grant covers the cost of materials and supplies right now, in July we will be doing a drive for art supplies to help sustain the ongoing project. And although activities for seniors are free, a voluntary donation is always appreciated.”
Membership at the Cody Senior Center is free to those age 60 and above. Call (307) 587-6221 to sign up and get your name on the list for one of these amazing art classes. Class sizes are limited.
Classes are Wednesday afternoons at Cody Country Art League, 836 Sheridan Ave. from 1 to 3 p.m.
Wednesday: Watercolor with Melody Christensen
April 28: Alcohol Inks with Suzie Warner
May 12: Pottery Part I (building with clay) with Shirley Stephens
May 26: Pottery Part II (glazing) with Shirley Stephens
June 2: Rock Painting with Connie Holland
June 9: Acrylic Painting with Lee Niziolek