‘It’s more than art’: Shelburne seniors passionate about art classes


Published on May 16, 2017

Gwen Ogilvie and Sandie Mackenzie paint their canvases at the senior's art class at the Mckay Memorial Library in Shelburne.

©Amy Woolvett photo

Gwen Ogilvie, Sandie Mackenzie and Holly Belong all sit next to each other in the Shelburne library, their paintbrushes dipping onto their own canvases. 

All three paintings have the same folk art theme, but each is as unique as the painter.

Ogilvie, at 81, is the oldest of this particular group, but she's not the oldest to take part in the art series. And she hasn’t missed a class.

“I like coming and being with people,” she said, adding that she hadn't tried artwork before signing up.

Mackenzie dragged her out to participate after she read about it in the newspaper.

Ogilvie, Mackenzie and Belong are a part of a study group through their Anglican church and take turns meeting in each other's homes.

“We support each other through our life experiences,” said Mackenzie.  “We share the good and the bad.”

The art class they joined together was a positive part of the week to share.

“It’s more than art,” said Mackenzie.  “It’s therapy and support.”

Cindy Hagen, owner of Studio 138, and Melissa Strachan are teaching the class of seniors. It was offered thanks to a senior-focused grant by the Municipality of Shelburne.

“We provide an art project for everyone to do ranging from sewing to painting,” said Hagen.

The classes have been running since spring but are wrapping up now.

Both teachers and students hope to get more funding for the program because it has done what it has set out to do.

“It is more than art,” said Hagen.  “It is people getting out with other people, it is the social aspect as well.”

Many of the seniors have been handed crafts and painted pictures from their grandchildren, but this time the role was reversed.

Mackenzie is going to miss having the classes take place.

“We think they should have more,” she said.