MCA’s Creative Aging classes, offered for adults 55+, are generously supported by E.A. Michelson Philanthropies. Big thanks to E.A. Michelson for making this program a reality!

Big shout out to MCA visual art instructor Brianna Haupt for taking on the planning and teaching of these classes, and to Catie Young for coordinating them!

And now, I’ll pass it off to Brianna, who wrote a reflection on this semester’s class:

What role does art play in your life? How do you express yourself? 

For the participants in the Expressive Arts class this spring, the answers to these questions varied but one thing was true for each of them: they were ready to set time aside to create, learn and experiment in the name of artistic expression. For some, this course was a return to their artistic practice they’ve had for years, while others were brave enough to attempt a new hobby or understanding of the arts. Eight adults met weekly to explore a new medium and get to know each other all while nurturing their inner child.  

The outline of this course was simple. We would explore a new medium each week and at the end of the session, participants would have a kit with each material included to take home with them to continue their practice. With just a brief introduction to each technique, it felt like an art-based speed dating event that gave students the space to move forward with that material or move on to the next. 

Expressive arts introduced collage, acrylic paint, watercolor, oil pastels, watercolor pencils, and air dry clay. Within each class, the basics of art were covered as well. We reviewed color theory, abstract and nonrepresentational art and monochromatic painting and learned through exploration and discussion. Students had the flexibility to choose their own adventure by adapting the material to fit their interests. 

While one student made an abstract variation of a map of a riverbed, one made an adorable postcard with colorful springtime birds. Another student brought her collection of nature photography from local preserves and hiking havens. These images not only inspired her but prompted talks of our favorite spaces to spend time in the area. Participants were notably seasoned experts in other areas of life and would often give tips about where to spend time embracing other arts organizations or where to find the best native plants for our yards this summer. 

Leading the Expressive Arts course was an absolute pleasure. As we wrapped up our last class and everyone walked out the door with their kits of art supplies, I realized I had made new friends I hoped to see around town. What is better than making new connections and finding oneself a part of a vibrant, ever-evolving community?

You can read more about Expressive Arts in a wonderful article by our friends at the Winona Post.