Ageless Art: Bringing Creativity to the Young at Heart

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Art transcends language, race, and age. Art brings people together and soothes our souls – especially for those who need a creative outlet. And that creative outlet has come in the form of “Ageless Art! Senior Outreach Program,” a free eight-week art workshop for the Coastal Bend’s senior citizens that is hosted by the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST) thanks to an Impact Multiplier Grant of $2,500.

“We have touched the lives of those who don’t have the opportunity to come out to the Art Museum of South Texas because of mobility or health issues,” said Sheri Emerick, director of Development for AMST and original grant applicant.

The workshops, led by Rachél Payne, AMST art instructor, allow attendees time for self-expression and gives them a chance to build their own art community. As they work on their projects, participants would complement each other’s designs, offer advice, and encourage others to create art even if they didn’t have experience.

“I was very nervous to come because I had a stroke and often need things repeated to me,” said Elizabeth Glass, a senior who has attended every single workshop but one. “But our instructor inspired me so much that I wasn’t scared anymore. This was a big hurdle for me. I’m happy to be here, everybody’s so nice, and it’s a special group.”

Classes are held in three locations to increase the accessibility of the program: Northwest Senior Center, Broadmoor Park Senior Center, and Garden Senior Center. During the workshops, participants learn basic art design elements, engage in mixed media activities, and are encouraged to explore their creativity.  

Ageless Art! is one of the first programs to receive funding through an Impact Multiplier Grant. The idea behind the program is to seek out those individuals on campus who have a combination of a heart for service and a great idea for a community project, and give them the funding they need to make a positive impact on the community.

“Ageless Art! was one of many great proposals we received, and it is tremendously gratifying to see that they are putting that plan into action in a meaningful and impactful way,” said Joe Miller, director of Community Outreach. “I can’t wait to see what comes in with the next round of the Impact Multiplier Grant applications.”

New this year, the Division of Research, Commercialization, and Outreach (RCO) will offer two grants of $5,000 each. Applications for 2018 funding are due on Friday, Nov. 2, and award notification will be sent out on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Faculty and staff with ideas that focus on broader impacts which will foster and facilitate community engagement through encouraging the talent, knowledge, and resources at the University are encouraged to apply.

“Being able to provide resources and support for the Island University to engage with the community in a positive way is an important part of what we do in the Division,” said Dr. Ahmed Mahdy, vice president for RCO. “I’m very pleased that this program is having the meaningful impact that it is.”