The agency’s program aims to connect the elderly and the community through art

A well-known local father and daughter shared their artwork with the community and helped launch a new gallery that aims to connect the elderly and younger generations through art.

NEAR ISLE, Maine – A well-known local father and daughter shared their artwork with the community and helped launch a new gallery that aims to connect the elderly and younger generations through art.

Aging agency Aroostook kicked off their Artists for Aging program on October 1 with a First Friday Art Walk exhibit featuring John Holub and his daughter Lisa Desjardins, both from Westfield. The two showcased over 35 watercolors and oil paintings and shared their goals to help the agency reach community members and artists.

“We would like to extend [Artists for Aging] to include other artists for the first Friday and classes, ”said Holub. “It would be great to see the community get more involved in art. “

After moving to Main Street in 2019, the agency began discussions with Holub and Desjardins on launching a gallery in the agency’s office building. But the pandemic has delayed the opening of the gallery until this year.

Now, with people eager to step outside, the agency opens its gallery to the public during normal business hours. Executive Director Joy Barresi Saucier said community members of all ages are encouraged to view each new exhibit, which will debut during the monthly Art Walks on First Friday.

Most importantly, Saucier said, the agency wants the gallery to serve as a starting point for new in-person art classes and events that could help isolated seniors form stronger bonds with community members.

“Social isolation was a problem for older people even before COVID,” Saucier said. “With art, they have the opportunity to connect with others and appreciate the beauty that someone else has created.”

The gallery opening on Friday drew a small crowd of community members, many of whom praised the Artists for Aging launch and offered to help spread the word.

Castle Hill resident Dana Allison, an avid quilting enthusiast, has expressed interest in teaching others how to sew with the new program.

“I think it’s wonderful that they are doing this. This is what the community has needed for a long time, ”said Allison. “Art is so important in people’s lives and it’s nice to see it take hold.”

As Artists for Aging begins to grow, Desjardins would like to see more younger generations experience the compassion and friendship she has felt in dealing with older generations over the years.

“Our seniors have so much to offer the younger generations. It is important that we help them feel that they are still part of the community, ”said Desjardins.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – October 1, 2021 – John Holub’s Green Corner, Presque Isle, ca. 1952 ″ is one of many paintings on display this month at the Aroostook agency on aging. (Melissa Lizotte | Herald of the Stars)

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – October 1, 2021 – Lisa Desjardins’ painting “Proulx’s Filling Station” is part of the Aroostook agency on Aging’s very first Artists for Aging exhibition. (Melissa Lizotte | The Herald of the Stars)

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