PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One local organization with a funny name is impacting the lives of many senior citizens in Portland.
The Geezer Gallery features art created by those ages 60 and over. When the art is sold, some of the profits go right back to other seniors through art classes.
“I really didn’t have a career in art prior to that,” artist Candyce Scott told KOIN 6 News. “In fact, I really didn’t know what i was going to be doing, but this was my passion and suddenly I had an outlet for it.”
Scott said she got her start with The Geezer Gallery after creating an art project for a college class assignment. Thanks to the gallery, she and many other local artists have seen their work take off.
“I wanted to change the narrative of what it means to grow older and be an older adult in a youth-oriented culture we have,” Executive Director and founder of The Geezer Gallery Amy Henderson said. “And look at older adults as creative, vital, amazing humans.”
Henderson said she started The Geezer Gallery with the goal of seniors helping seniors. It showcases the work of older artists, and when that art is sold, some of the profits go into art programs specifically for seniors like Evie Arnett.
“I’ve done art all my life but I’ve never had any lessons, and decided this was a good time for me,” Arnett said.
From the social skills, to art and creative skills like water coloring and Haiku, many will agree the gallery has succeeded in enriching the lives of Portland’s senior citizens.
“We believe art saves lives,” program director Cheryl Rogers said. “I certainly have seen that in our programs.”
The pieces that fund those programs have found a new home at the Artist Repertory Theater.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get the work of these artists out to the theater going public, 500 people a night,” Artist Repertory Theater’s marketing director Nicole Lane said.
While it’s called The Geezer Gallery, artists and participants agree they are anything but old.
“I say I used to be a senior citizen but now I’m a vibrant elder,” Arnett said.
To check out the art displayed at Artist Repertory Theater, you don’t have to go to a show. The art is available to look at in the theater’s lobby, which is open Tuesday-Sunday from 12-6 p.m.