Seniors show artistic talents at Council on Aging paint party

Jun 23, 2021

Those stopping by the Council on Aging Wednesday afternoon would be forgiven if they mistook the center for an art studio, as a small group of students took part in an “art party” the COA hosted amid its return to in-person programming.

During the paint party, instructor Lidia Macedo provided templates of a flower pot the group of seniors could paint however they wanted. Some followed Macedo’s example by adding pink petals, while others favored pops of red and yellow.

“It’s great to watch as they develop,” she said. “They normally come in thinking ‘Well, I can’t do that,’ but then they go home with a completed painting.”

During the party, Macedo raffled off some of her previous crafts and art gear to help inspire the attendees in the future. She also took a quick break to make some art jokes — often followed by a combination of laughs and slight groans.

“Did you hear about the artist who died?” she said. “I guess he had too many strokes.”

Dartmouth resident Betty Mendonca said her experience was “very enjoyable,” adding that she normally doesn’t paint.

Mendonca said she attended the party in part to spend time with her sisters Nancy Pereira and Gloria Lanouette.

Pereira added that all three went to Dartmouth High “some years ago,” and thought going to the COA would be a good opportunity to potentially see some fellow classmates.

“But we didn’t,” she said with a laugh.

COA Director Amy Dipietro said she was happy to see that people came out to the paint party, noting that staff had tried to host one years prior, but there was not much interest then.

“It would be way more fun if we had some wine,” she said with a laugh. “But this is still pretty great.”

Since its soft reopening in May, DiPietro noted that things “have really been taking off” at the center, especially with the influx of new faces at events such as the paint party.

“The best part is, I would say most people in here are people I’ve never met before,” she said. “We’re really reaching a different group.”

By July, she added, the center should be “90% normal” in terms of programming and Covid policies. Currently, anyone entering the COA must wear a mask upon entering the lobby, but can take it off during any class they are attending — although, those who are not yet vaccinated are urged to continue wearing a mask.

To celebrate the next phase of the reopening process, the COA will host free exercise classes and a music-filled cookout at Jones Beach on July 16.

“It should be a lot of fun,” Dipietro said.