Never Too Old

Hopewell’s Lamb Center brings art workshops to seniors.

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Retired Senior Woman Attending Art Class In Community Centre

Eliza Lamb believes art is an antidote to aging. Armed with paints, brushes, and clay, the founder of Hopewell’s Lamb Center for Arts and Healing brings free art classes to seniors through the center’s Creative Aging program.

“Every class starts with conversation,” says Lamb, an arts educator with a background in clinical psychology. “These people have had interesting and robust lives, but they don’t always have an audience to share those stories with.” 

Creative Aging workshops use storytelling to stimulate memory retrieval and promote independence. Residents at Lucy Corr in Chesterfield and River View on the Appomattox in Hopewell participate monthly, experimenting with printmaking, sculpting, even flower arranging.

“It’s exciting to teach something new to someone in their 90s,” says Lamb. “They assume they’re done learning, but we present a new personal challenge for them, with kindness and empathy.”

While most of her students wouldn’t call themselves artists, Lamb says, it’s never too late to tap into your creativity: “Matisse didn’t start his cut paper collages until he was bedridden and couldn’t paint anymore,” says Lamb. “These became some of his most well-known pieces. We let our artists know they’re safe to explore and will not be judged.” 

The students paint vegetables in summer or print cards and make ornaments for Christmas. “I didn’t know how to draw before,” says one Lucy Corr resident. “I’ve learned to do all kinds of things I spent my whole life thinking I couldn’t do.” LambArts.org, LucyCorr.org, Riverview-Rehab.com

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