Participants of the Aging Artfully program’s first run of classes in the fall of 2017 work on their masterpieces. The program is starting up again this March at the MAC. — Submitted by Rosemary Fontenla

Free seniors’ painting program to resume in Parksville

Aging Artfully offers acrylic, watercolour classes for those living in own home

After a successful first run of classes in 2017, Aging Artfully is back this spring with free watercolour and acrylic painting classes for seniors who are aging at home.

Available to those aged 75 and older, the program seeks to offer a social and artistic learning opportunity to seniors who don’t have care home programs and shared living spaces available to them. These programs are already taking place at many local care homes through the same organizers.

The Aging Artfully program runs through public donations, government and gaming grants and the support of the McMillan Arts Centre, the Oceanside Community Arts Council and volunteers. It will start up again March 14.

Its first set of classes started September, 2017, and had 18 participants for 12 classes (expanded from eight) with an acrylic and watercolour class, said Rosemary Fontenla, OCAC Seniors Art Program co-ordinator and a teacher with Aging Artfully.

“Most of the people that came last year really enjoyed it, and some of them are coming back,” said Fontenla, who noted that all the art supplies for the program are provided and that participants get to take their work home.

One of those returning participants is Louise Duncan from Qualicum Beach.

No stranger to art, Duncan has a degree in fine art and works in photography, but hadn’t picked up a brush in a while.

Now in her late 70s, Duncan said she’s joining or already participating in various programs and groups to keep busy, keep learning, get out in the community and meet new people.

“I live by myself,” she said.

“I’ll be 79 this year, and so as you get older… people have a tendency to draw in and not do anything, you know? They just start sleeping longer, watching more TV, and not even going for walks. So it’s very difficult to meet up with people at this age,” said Duncan.

“So this is a way of keeping connected with the universe, with the world.”

She said she enjoyed the Aging Artfully classes, saying they were relaxing and that the teachers were helpful in giving pointers while not restricting what participants wanted to paint.

“I thought it was great,” she said.

The spring program begins Wednesday, March 14 and goes to May 2, running Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., raid Fontenla.

There are 20 spaces total. Fontenla added that, while classes are free, those who are able to give a donation may do so if they choose.

To register, call the MAC at 250-248-8185 and ask about the Aging Artfully program.

For those who have no way of getting to the MAC (133 McMillan St. in Parksville), a trip with the SOS bus can be arranged.

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