LYNN — Members of the city’s senior center were painting as a hobby, until Mayor Thomas M. McGee asked to showcase their work at Lynn City Hall.
“People walk by and stop in our office to ask about these paintings,” said McGee. “They really brighten up our walls and there are some amazing pieces up there.”
The Council on Aging Senior Center has taught a variety of paint classes for more than 36 years. This is the first year any of their work has been showcased, let alone along the walls in front of the mayor’s office.
Seniors take water, oil, and acrylic paint classes at the 8 Silsbee St. location as a way of socializing and expressing their creative sides. Bill Deveney used to be a senior art student at the center until he took over two of the classes about six years ago.
The art teacher said he is amazed on a daily basis over the work some of his students produce, given many of them have never painted before.
“The classes give people, especially seniors, a chance to associate with other people, be in a group, and communicate with a variety of people from the community,” said Deveney.
Many of the center’s members come from neighboring communities. Pricila Rodriguez, of Revere, didn’t begin painting until her daughter suggested she become a member four years ago. She said it was amazing to see her work displayed in Lynn City Hall.
Sean Murray, a Winthrop resident, joined the Lynn center after hearing about it from a few of his friends. He loves how therapeutic the act of painting is and he has been practicing it off and on for about 14 years. The artwork he chose to showcase depicted parts of Ireland, which he has visited at least six times.
Ipswitch resident Debbie MacDonald adores using an array of colors in her paintings, particularly within her pieces that depict the Boston skyline. She joined the center after her childhood friend pleaded that they take the classes together. MacDonald has some skills when it comes to brush strokes, given she used to create folk art paintings.
“This is quite exciting seeing our work here,” said MacDonald. “I think the programs are great for adults because it gets people out of the house, it’s good for the mind, dexterity and coordination, and it’s therapeutic. You never know what is going to come out on a canvas.”
Stacey Minchello, the Senior Center Director, said McGee’s office reached out to them and asked if some of the seniors’ work could be displayed in front of his office. She said it was great to see all the members getting excited while choosing which paintings they wanted featured.
Minchello said the members progressively produce paintings throughout the year and were able to select pieces from their own collections to hang inside City Hall. She said each of the members were honored to meet McGee.
“I think the mayor wanted to show that seniors are part of the city and we’re doing stuff for the community,” said Deveney.