Seniors art program full

Outreach program scaled down after government drops funding

Seniors take part in last year’s inaugural Seniors Outreach Arts Program.

Seniors take part in last year’s inaugural Seniors Outreach Arts Program.

A program to bring the arts back to isolated seniors in the Oceanside area at no charge was such a hit last year it will be repeated this year, despite the fact the government is no longer funding it.

Thanks to a federal grant last year, about 40 seniors in the community were able to explore their artistic side and do some socializing through the Seniors Outreach Arts Program (SOAP) at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC).

Dave Wright, co-ordinator of SOAP, said because it was well received they are offering it again.

“The program is going to go ahead. Last year we got a New Horizons grant to run the program. This year we don’t have the grant but through our fundraising efforts we are able to run a reduced program.”

Wright said with the help of volunteers they were able to offer three programs last year that had seniors learn how to paint, draw and do crafts in a social setting. He agreed it was a unique program that went over well and he would like to keep it going.

“I am not aware of any other programs like this for seniors who are in the community but not getting hooked in.”

He said for those living in isolation or in care homes who have a little bit of interest in arts, it is a great way for them to get involved.

“Perhaps they used to paint or have always wanted to. We have wonderful testimonials from people who said it got them re-interested in art and a lot of them said they didn’t think they could do it,” he admitted.

Wright said the program this year is already full, will run for seven weeks and will start on October 29, with Norma Chapman Emerson exploring the magic of Aquastix.

Once again, the free, two-hour sessions are aimed at marginalized seniors in the community with all levels of artistic ability are welcome.

For information on future programs, call 250-248-8185.