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Seniors’ art group builds connections

Paulanna Lane resident Jean-Paul Gagnon bemoans city regulations at the site of his condemned organic garden. - MEAGAN O
Paulanna Lane resident Jean-Paul Gagnon bemoans city regulations at the site of his condemned organic garden.
— image credit: MEAGAN O'SHEA/Staff Photo

Not only are seniors a wealth of untapped knowledge, they’re a wealth of untapped artistic talent.

To help harness some of those talents, the city of Victoria is funding a community artist in residence program.

“We’re going to be doing that through a whole series of workshops, art studios and discussion groups,” explained Lisa Koehl, art therapist and program coordinator.

The program, which starts this week, invites seniors to collectively create art projects. The finished works will be donated to other organizations for use or display.

Koehl said seniors could chose to create tables and chairs, which upon completion, could be donated to a women’s shelter.

“So it’s really about building community and connecting people who might otherwise not connect,” she explained.

In her own work as an art therapist, Koehl has seen the healing power of art.

“It’s a wonderful arena for self expression. A lot of people have a hard time expressing themselves verbally.”

The City of Victoria awarded a $10,000 grant to the sponsoring agency, Silver Threads, which will run the program on a trial basis until April.

Koehl is holding an open house today (Jan.10) at Victoria Silver Threads, 1728 Douglas St.

The free program runs twice weekly, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants are welcome to join on a drop-in basis, no commitment is necessary.

alavigne@vicnews.com

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