Art Ed Professor Provides Creative Outlet for Senior Artists in South Philly

UArts to host exhibit of work by students in Dr. Teresa Unseld's drawing class at St. Charles Senior Community Center

October 22, 2013

Since late August, Dr. Teresa Unseld has been receiving confirmation of what she has known for some time now – that individuals of all ages can be successful at expressing themselves through drawing.

The associate professor of Art & Design Education has been teaching a beginning drawing class to seniors at the St. Charles Senior Community Center in South Philadelphia since then, offering artists 60 years and older an opportunity to learn and apply basic drawing techniques through a variety of tools, materials and creative design problem-solving assignments.

In addition to skill acquisition and therapeutic benefits, these mature students are reaping other advantages to drawing as well. Dr. Unseld and Keith White, the Center’s recreation director, have noticed that creative art activities like this increase individual self esteem and strengthen the senior artists’ ability to focus and retain memory.

"I am really amazed at the skill level the students have been able to achieve in such a short period of time and how ready they are to move to the next level," says Unseld. "Such successes should be seen as a beacon to other senior centers, especially in Philadelphia, to implement drawing activities that develop creativity, innovation and critical thinking in our best living resources, our senior population. And since drawing is the starting place for all art forms, it is a natural place to start."

The University's Art & Design Education department will host an exhibition of work created by students in the St. Charles Senior Community Center’s beginning drawing class from November 19 through December 8 in the Special Gifts Gallery located on the 10th floor of Terra Hall (211 S. Broad Street). An opening reception is scheduled for Tuesday, November 19 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Above: Artists Evangeline Wilson (left) and Mary Hendricks (right) show off their work.

View All News