Creative Aging class brings beauty to Bay Ridge

You’re never too old to learn something new.

On April 25, the Bay Ridge Library, 7223 Ridge Boulevard, hosted a showcase of watercolor work from its Creative Aging workshop, sponsored by Apple Bank, that coached seniors in art over the course of three months. The showcase was bittersweet, running as one of the last events before the library closed for roof repair on April 27.

The exhibit will be on view at the 7415 Fifth Avenue Apple Bank location through May 31.

The Brooklyn Public Library has offered Creative Aging, a program that conducts multi-session art workshop for those 50 and over, since 2011. This particular class was led by professional artist Nan Carey, who many students spoke of as being helpful, patient and kind.

“The courses are incredible. It’s really a way for people to be creative, to meet new people and to learn about how we see the world,” student Lillian Rossi Maida said. “Nan is an incredible teacher — in fact all of the teachers I’ve had through Creative Aging have been absolutely extraordinary.”

She was not well experienced with art before she started taking classes at the Brooklyn Public Library, Maida said. “I think it’s almost like magic,” she said of the class.

Janet Flynn, another student, has taken other courses with Carey before this most-recent class. “Nan is an incredible teacher and artist, and has certainly enhanced and increased my experience. And it’s a fabulous project for us older citizens,” she said.

Subjects of the final paintings included bowls of fruit, eggplants, flowers and pears. Students sat in a circle during the showcase, getting up in turn to say what they liked about the class, thanking Carey and the senior assistant the library also provided for the class, and pointing out their paintings.

For Carey, the class is rewarding.

“It’s really great because they’re really enthusiastic and there’s a variety of beginners or people who are really accomplished artists but they have never used watercolor before. So, I really like introducing people to the medium; it’s a great medium,” she said.

Yvonne Zhou, the supervising librarian at the Bay Ridge Library, said that the art program at the library is its most popular. “As a library, we feel like if we can provide some services and programs for our local people, we are very, very pleased to do that,” she said, mentioning that she likes to prioritize senior programming at the library as there is a large population of seniors in Bay Ridge.

Many at the event also thanked the program’s sponsor, Apple Bank. “We’re very appreciative of local support. That means a lot,” Zhou said of the sponsorship.

While the library is closed for now, Zhou said they are hoping to have it open again in 10 weeks.

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