Art Exhibit Challenges Perceptions of Growing Old

Photos Provided ‘Jeanie and Will Kiss’ from Isadora Kosofsky’s “Senior Love Triangle” photo documentary.

WHEELING –A new exhibition and educational series that offers an approach to aging through the eyes of a dozen artists opens March 5 at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center.

“Presence: An Exploration of Aging Through Art” examines the universal, yet intensely personal, experience of growing old.

Through a variety of media, the exhibition explores a broad range of perspectives-from thriving lifestyles to the harsher realities of aging. “Presence” provides insight into the physical and mental aging process, challenges us to rethink how we perceive age, highlights the therapeutic benefits of the creative process and examines the role of elders in our society.

A series of learning and community-building events will be held in conjunction with the exhibit. “Presence” is part of the Stifel Center’s humanities series, developed by curator Michael McKowen.

“I believe that the role of the Stifel Fine Arts Center is to provide a place to commune,” McKowen said. “A public art space should invite exploration. By presenting topics that affect every human being, we provide opportunities for emotional, physical, mental and spiritual growth.”

The exhibit showcases work from a dozen artists from six states.

Among the featured artists are Isadora Kosofsky, a Los Angeles-based documentary photographer, who was recently named one of a hundred “heroines” in photography worldwide by the Royal Photo Society; photographer Marna Clarke, who at age 70 decided to chronicle her own aging process; mixed media artist Sylvie Bucher whose “Memory” series explores how memory fragments with age and dementia; New York-based poet and founder of the internationally acclaimed Alzheimer’s Poetry Project Gary Glazner; Ohio watercolorist Gina Judy whose paintings depict her father’s time in a nursing home; sculptor Morgan Kranz whose series of hand sculptures explores how to show compassion for the inevitable aging process; art therapist, educator and artist Annie McFarland and mixed media artist Roberta Rousos whose work deals with the duality and contradiction of body and soul.

“Presence” also features pieces from four Ohio Valley artists — Thomas Wharton, Jean Och, Debbie Joseph and Robert Joseph and includes work from students in Chatham University’s Interior Architecture Program.

Educational programs take place weekly and include panel discussions on aging and dementia, presentations from featured artists, yoga and wellness workshops, spoken word events and art therapy sessions.

All programs are free and open to the public.

“Presence” is sponsored by The Health Plan, Wheeling Hospital and United Bank with additional support provided by the Home Support Foundation.

The exhibit will be on display at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center through April 25 and can be viewed free of change from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Evening hours are dependent on classes and special events.

For more information, www.OIonline.com/presence or call the Stifel Fine Arts Center at 304-242-7700.


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