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SEMO Student Brings Art to Seniors

Heather Gillock prepares clay Over at the Jackson Senior Center things are getting a little messy as art student Heather Gillock brings a love of art to the patrons that frequent the center.

 

Heather is a student studying art at Southeast Missouri State University. With a goal of continuing her education into art therapy she took the opportunity to bring her talent to area seniors. “I got an email from Desma Reno about starting an art program at the Jackson Senior Center,” Heather explained. Desma - a nursing professor at SEMO - helped Heather schedule the activities, as well as provided funding for the art supplies.

While the center already provides crafting activities, Heather wanted to create an art therapy program where residents could explore artistic endeavors, and gain the health benefits that come with it. “Some [of the seniors] still have stressful lives even though they’re retired. Art is really helpful because it has health benefits - it reduces stress and fights boredom, and gives them a way to cope with things that are going on in their lives.”

Heather has led classes on watercolor painting, adult coloring, abstract color-blending, and most recently a clay day where attendees learned to make pinch pots. Heather has one more class for the semester in which they will either do a textured landscape activity, or another watercolor painting class. “Everyone that comes seems to enjoy it,” Heather said. Some are regulars that are dedicated to coming to every class.

“I’m hoping to do this again next semester, I hope it gets bigger, and we can use a bigger room,” Heather is also hoping to find a Students create pinch pots at the JSCpartner to help her run the classes.

Heather chooses simple, abstract activities so that no one feels stressed about their skill level. She says that classes are meant to be therapeutic, and that anyone is welcomed, “We hope these activities allow them to not think too much about what they’re making and just have fun.”

Anyone interested in the art classes can contact the Jackson Senior Center at (573) 243-4241. The next class will be held April 11 at 10 a.m. Admission is free.

 

 

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