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Art for seniors who are not artists

Artist Martin Hirschberg plans to offer art classes for seniors.
Artist Martin Hirschberg plans to offer art classes for seniors

Acclaimed Canadian artist Martin Hirschberg is planning to present a different approach to art for seniors who have never painted.

Hirschberg, who recently sold his business, The Hirschberg Design Group, and now works as an interior design consultant, says he wants to take a new direction in art for seniors.

“I have been asked numerous times where these classes for seniors are offered,” says Hirschberg. “At present to my knowledge, they are not – certainly not in the way I envision them.”

“Above all, it must be fun”

Along with class discussions on artists and their techniques and hands-on painting, Hirschberg wants to emphasize the social possibilities. “Above all, it must be fun,” he says. He notes that he now realizes that many seniors attend book reviews and lectures and look for activities.

“Now that I have more time, I want to bring people together for an enjoyable session, to make new friends and to end up with an original acrylic painting.”

Hirschberg spoke to The CJN about the benefits for seniors in interacting and enjoying their time together and experiencing something new. He emphasized the importance of social, interactive, non-structured classes.

“To me, there is no such a thing as bad art, and it is important for us to step outside our comfort zones.”

The art courses will include a history of acrylic paints, selecting colours and palettes, utilizing paints to produce different painting styles and works, including looking at Andy Warhol, Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh and the pop art movement. “It should communicate with your feelings.”

He adds that experts in gerontology find that creative pursuits provide older adults with multiple benefits, not the least of which is to enhance function.

Statistics indicate that art reduces depression and anxiety and helps individuals to relax. It also offers sensory stimulation.

Hirschberg has shown his paintings in many Canadian galleries and in exhibitions in the United States. His paintings are in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario and at the Rotman Gallery in Stratford. He is an active member of the museum committee of Beth Tzedec Congregation as well as a volunteer at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

This spring, Hirschberg will conduct morning and afternoon classes at the Avenue Road Arts School, 460 Avenue Rd., south of St. Clair Ave. West.

For more information or to register, visit Hirschberg Design Group.

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