Art expo with Greenwich House older adults celebrates creativity

Greenwich House art expo set to open
Some of the exhibiting artists in the upcoming show with Eunice DeTrani (l) , a stanch supporter of artistic expression and Desi Perez (center, top) curator and main organizer.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

On Dec. 1, 40 artists from the Greenwich House Older Adults community will begin a long-awaited exhibition that had been put on hold for almost three years.

The opening reception at Center on the Square, 20 Washington Square North, from 2-4 p.m. on Dec. 1, celebrates this return to public exhibiting. These creators engage in a variety of mediums, with acrylic paintings, watercolors, drawings, and works with collage and mixed media as well as jewelry design, repurposed everyday material sculpture, and photography on view—70 pieces in all.

Several of them have had lifelong careers as artists with degrees from prestigious art schools. Some are self-taught. Many are still learning. Yet no one submitting work is turned away.

Yvette Elkaim starting taking a painting class a few years back at Center on the Square and got hooked and she showed work in the first 2019 exhibition.

Revealing how important her newest avocation has meant to her, she says, “Painting during COVID saved me.” Her acrylic painting ‘The Little Pony’ represents her newest passion.

Two member artists had careers in textile design. Lifelong artist, designer and poet Anna Link will show two drawings using word and image, marker and colored pencils.

Her “In an Azure Mood” is inspired by the lyrics of Duke Ellington. “It’s taken a while to get things going since the Center was closed,” says Link. “I’m grateful they’re open and starting to do things.”

Greenwich House artist Anna Link
Anna Link’s drawing uses word and image, marker and colored pencils.Photo by Tequila Minsky

Her former textile designer co-worker and now co-exhibitor Diana Naples has happily returned to painting after 25 years. Naples accounts for the reinvigoration of her expressive side, ”I took a course at the Center on the Square led by the Creative Center (an arts programming sponsor from University Settlement).”

Member Annie Shaver Crandell, also exhibiting, taught the class in Washington Square Park.

Inspired, Naples continues on her own to paint plein air (outdoors), and her watercolor “Judson Memorial Church ’ is from this series.

Jae Lee has been involved with the Center’s artist community, exhibiting painting and photography through the years. “I’m coming back to life,” she says. “I’m free again — COVID was so isolating.”

Lifelong artist Sandra Pailet paints plein air—outdoors, also using mixed media.Photo by Tequila Minsky

For designer Robert Warner, this is his first involvement with the Center and his experiencing a sense of place here is extremely fulfilling.

His feelings: “I like the sense of enthusiasm between the people and the sense of community.” Warner is showing a mixed-media “Homage to Arthur Dove Collage,” which coincidentally looks like a “center in a square.”

Lifelong artist Sandra Pailet gushes, “It’s celebratory to have this show! Feels like we’re coming back!” Her artistic practice includes porcelain, prints, and oil portrait commissions and she will be showing a watercolor/pastels/collage/mixed-media rendering of Washington Square Park.

Photographer Hector Rodriguez hopes his images will draw in people to discover or question.

“There is so much talent in the Older Adult Centers,” Eunice DeTrani says, noting the artists high caliber of work. A stanch supporter of the arts, she is one of the the founding organizers of the first exhibition and observes, “Sharing this work brings so much joy to everyone.”

Diana Naples returns to painting after 25 years. In this watercolor, Washington Square Park and its environs inspire her.Photo by Tequila Minsky
Photographer Hector Rodriguez will hang the show sitting with exhibiting artists who find inspiration in Washington Square Park.Photo by Tequila Minsky

DeTrani tips her hat to Desiree Perez, acknowledging how Perez, curator of both the 2019 and current show, has taken on the Herculean task of organizing the whole show.

“This took a while to coordinate since we restarted from scratch with an organizing committee,” reports organizer/curator Perez, who will also be showing the watercolor “Van Gogh Quartet”— four individual small paintings glued together to look like a window. Her husband photographer Hector Rodriguez will do the major installation of the show.

This Center on the Square Art Show is completely volunteer, Greenwich House member organized and run. It opens on Dec. 1 and can be viewed weekdays during Center hours 9 a.m. till 4:30 p.m., through Dec. 22.