Art from nearly 150 talented senior citizens on display through Celebrate Arts & Aging show

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Thursday, May 11, 2023
Celebrate Arts & Aging exhibit showcases senior citizen talent
Some of the best amateur artists in Philadelphia are showing their works throughout the month of May in the 21st Celebrate Arts and Aging exhibit.

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's show time for a special group of Philadelphia artists! They range from 55 to 98-years-old and some are first-timers.

On a Wednesday afternoon at the South Philadelphia Older Adult Center, the room is packed, and abuzz with creativity.

This month, senior citizens here and at other centers of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging have their art on display in the 21st annual Celebrate Arts and Aging Show.

In total, 145 works are spread between South Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill, the Free Library on Vine Street.

They're also all together online in a virtual show.

"We have some artists here who just did art for the first time this year," says Amanda Buonomo, special events coordinator for Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, which operates the senior center.

Some others have been lifetime artists. And their backgrounds run the gamut.

"We have a gentleman who was a dentist," said Buonomo.

Instructor Sally Guariglia has been leading the class for decades. She says she isn't fazed by those who've never drawn, painted, or done photography before.

"There's only one key and that is people need to believe they can," she said.

She says class members start in their comfort zone, but she boosts their confidence to go beyond it. The process forms an important bridge.

"Most older adults have a difficult time dealing with the 21st century," she said. "Art is a silent language. It's a way to say how you feel."

The class is also a social gathering, where students share their ups and downs.

PCA President and CEO Najja Orr says creative expression through arts and other activities at centers boosts cognitive functioning while reducing social isolation, which the surgeon general says is at epidemic levels in America.

"It's a form of being able to stay connected to your community," said Orr. "Whether it's a Zumba class or a poetry class, having the opportunity to really stay connected and socialize with the folks that are interested in the same activities is very important. You can discover parts of yourself you didn't know you have."

And Orr says some artists have even sold their works.

The exhibits are open to the public through May.

For more details on the Celebrate Arts and Aging Show, CLICK HERE.