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SASi debut art class paintings

by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE
Staff Writer | June 22, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Local seniors took part in their first art exhibition Friday, cutting the ribbon with bright smiles, and talking to guests about their art throughout the evening during opening receptions.

As part of the Pend Oreille Arts Council annual ArtWalk , the site hosts many artists — including the fledgling painters under the wing of Lilan Hicel, who taught the art class attended by the group at Sandpoint Area Seniors, Inc.

The art began during the pandemic quarantine. Volunteers at the senior center grew concerned for the mental health of the seniors after noticing a drop in mood due to being isolated, said Hicel, who is internationally known for her textured paintings depicting emotion for the blind. That's when SASi staff approached POAC, which then created the painting program called Art For Life and contacted Hicel.

“They were chasing me for several months,” Hicel said. “They thought what a better way to motivate our seniors than having someone who has exhibited in museums to prove to them that at any age you learn something and you can be excellent at it.”

Done in two separate phases, Hicel taught her class how to paint nature scenes. The first phase was a tree in any chosen season. The second phase — flowers — was actually requested by the class. Each student did a single painting in each phase that took 15-20 hours over the 12-week course to complete.

“I told them, ‘Do you want a painting or do you want a piece of art,’ ” Hicel said “So they learned different techniques, perspective and light.”

Impressed with her class, Hicel decided to not only have their art be a part of the annual Art Walk but to debut their art the same as she has in venues all over the world – with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Before the ceremony, Hicel gave a small introduction to the exhibition and herself telling the crowd about the hard work that each painting took, the time, and education. Joining her, three students cut a red ribbon to a soundtrack of applause to open their art exhibition for public viewing and purchase. A portion of the proceeds from each painting purchased will benefit homeless seniors in the community.

“If you can imagine that at 80 or 90 you’re gonna learn to paint, people will think that’s not possible. They are to prove that it is possible,” Hicel said. “There are ladies that have never touched a brush, never done a painting and thanks to POAC and the senior center, this was made possible”

In an article done by Lesley University, Dr. Raquel Stephenson said that creative expression for senior citizens can result in improved mood, increased self-esteem, increased motivation leading to improved health and overall well-being. While improvement in mood was only one of the benefits Hicel talked about the programming having she explained how some of her students had taken to the hobby in their own time, having enjoyed the experience that much.

“Susan, now she’s a monster. She went and bought her own paints and now she is painting, painting, painting,” Hicel said.

photo

(Photo by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE)

Local seniors took part in their first art exhibition Friday, cutting the ribbon with bright smiles, and talking to guests about their art throughout the evening during opening ArtWalk receptions.

photo

(Photo by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE)

Local seniors took part in their first art exhibition Friday, cutting the ribbon with bright smiles, and talking to guests about their art throughout the evening during opening ArtWalk receptions.

photo

(Photo by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE)

Local seniors took part in their first art exhibition Friday, cutting the ribbon with bright smiles, and talking to guests about their art throughout the evening during opening ArtWalk receptions.

photo

(Photo by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE)

Local seniors took part in their first art exhibition Friday, cutting the ribbon with bright smiles, and talking to guests about their art throughout the evening during opening ArtWalk receptions.

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