A Life In Art: Depicting Elders Through Words & Images

April 27, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I've had the fortunate opportunity to be involved in A Life In Art...a project created and coordinated by Dari Lawrie, Linn-Benton Community College's (LBCC) Student Poet Laureate.  Dari met with eight Elders in the Willamette Valley and set out to have LBCC writers interview them and Willamette Valley Photo Arts Guild members photograph them.  The Elders  range from 82 to 100 years old and have a diverse set of interests, from writing to world travel to kayaking.

The idea is to see what we can learn from them and the long lives they have lived.  What have they experienced?  What are their lives like now?  What wisdom do they have to pass on to younger generations?  From writers' interviews will come creative pieces...short stories or poems.  Photographers are capturing the essence of the person in an image. 

I feel particularly lucky when thinking about the group I am in.  Vera, our Elder, is in her 80s, while Dani, the writer is 19!  Seeing the connection across generations has been fantastic.  They have much in common, but still have novel experiences to share.  Vera has shared her early life in Brazil, her transition to the United States in early adulthood, her marvelous career teaching Spanish at Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College, as well as her many world travels and experiences with her four wonderful children, as well as grandchildren.  Vera currently loves her biweekly Scrabble group as well as a creative writing group at LBCC that she's been involved with for ten years.  Dani and I have soaked it up, sharing our experiences with Vera as well.  

But I realized when talking to those from other groups that they also have wonderful stories from this collaboration.  I think we've all gotten more out of this than we ever imagined.

The interviews are now over and the writers are busy preparing their creative work.  Our exhibit will begin on May 29th, 2015 at the Benton Center in Corvallis and continue through mid-June. 

I leave you with this photo of Vera, showing her wonderfully bright spirit, one that has touched me more than I'd imagined.








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