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Seniors host art exhibit, sale at library

COVINGTON - Newton County seniors are putting their artistic talents on display for public enjoyment this month, while at the same time hoping to raise money so they can continue to hone their craft.

Newton County Senior Services will host a free art exhibition at the Newton County Library at 7116 Floyd St. Nov. 8-26.

More than 100 pieces of art created by seniors attending art classes at Senior Services will be featured.

An opening night meet and greet will take place from 6-8 p.m. at the library of Nov. 8, where the public will have the opportunity to meet the artists, their art coach and Newton County Senior Services staff.

The artwork will be displayed at the library until Nov. 26 and will then be moved to the Newton County Senior Center at the Turner Lake Complex at 6183 Turner Lake Road.

On Nov. 27, Senior Services will host a one-day art sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring limited-edition prints, as well as framed and matted pieces.

One of those limited edition prints donated by the seniors' art instructor, Ray W. Smith, will be the grand prize in a drawing. Titled "Journey of the Red Umbrella," the framed and matted piece is valued at $400.

The print can be viewed at www.enlightenedink.com/umbrella_main.html.

Tickets for the drawing are on sale for $1 and can be purchased by calling 770-787-0038.

Proceeds from the sale and raffle will be used to purchase supplies for the art class, according to Senior Services Director Josephine Brown.

Brown said the weekly class has been a big success, with about 16 students currently enrolled.

"Several clients have never done artwork before in their lives that have (created) some masterpieces," she said.

Hazel Griffith is one of those students who is discovering a newfound passion for art.

"I always thought I would like to try something like this, but just never had the opportunity," Griffith said. "I have enjoyed the fellowship. It is a wonderful group. It has also made me look at things in a different way. I think it has been good for me. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but here is one who is still trying."

Bethel Bryant, another student who does have some prior training, said the class has bolstered her confidence.

"I haven't worked with art for years, but I wanted to learn more. I had three semesters of art in school but have never had anyone show me the basics of drawing," Bryant said. "I have more confidence in my artwork and (my)self. I love stretching the right side of my brain. Drawing has even helped the arthritis in my hands."

Art instructor Smith said art has long been recognized for its therapeutic value and enhanced sense of self and personal accomplishment.

"What is amazing about this art show is that most of these seniors have never drawn before," he said. "We at NCSS call it a drawing class, but many of the students will tell you that this class is more about learning how to see. If we can see something truly as it is, we can draw it."

Those who cannot attend the art sale may donate to the senior services art program. Checks should be made payable to Newton County Senior Services and mailed to 6183 Turner Lake Road, NW, Covington, GA, 30014.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.