Two faculty members from Marshall University’s School of Art and Design, Associate Professor Hanna Kozlowski and Professor Sandra Reed, received grants from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History to support creative work and promote lifelong learning and healthy aging.
Kozlowski received funds to support her research into wycinanki, a Polish cut-paper folk art. Through the “Living Traditions: Folk Art Project Support for Artists,” Kozlowski’s research builds upon work begun last fall while she was in residence at Sala752 in Rzeszow, Poland. Like Appalachian folk art, wycinanki depicts scenes and figures from nature, agriculture and the home. As a second-generation Polish American, she continues to incorporate wycinanki in her creative work and is particularly interested in its connection to the laboring class.
Reed received funding under the Creative Aging for Lifelong Learning (CALL) program and will use funds to employ Marshall art alumni to provide art instruction for adults ages 55 and older in four area senior centers. Alumni include Barb Lavalley Benton (Class of 2022), Shyanna Ashcraft (Class of 2021), Sophia Celdran (Class of 2021) and Karen Fry (Class of 2019). The Creative Aging for Lifelong Learning grant focuses on teaching new artistic skills over multiple sessions, social engagement, mental stimulation and self-expression. This grant funds activity during Spring 2023 and culminates in showcasing participants’ work at each participating center.
At the Marie Redd Senior Enrichment Center in Huntington, a needle felting workshop has been offered, which continues through March 13, and other weekly workshops begin Wednesday at the Ceredo Senior Wellness Center and the Wayne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and go on Feb. 22-March 29. A fourth workshop will be offered as well.
Two of the participating senior centers are in Wayne County, a county where there are more residents who are 65 and older than those younger than 18, Reed said.
“By 2034, it is estimated that more than 30% of the American population will be 65 and older,” she said. “Motivated by its mission and statistics such as these, Marshall began a healthy-aging initiative in 2021, beginning with the formation of an interdisciplinary committee. What I’ve learned as a member of this committee inspired me to write a CALL program grant not for myself, but as a pilot training program for our art alumni. Many visual art majors are interested in giving back to their communities.
“I designed my CALL grant to build capacity for our art alumni to work as Teaching Artists in their hometown communities through the creation of relationships and familiarity with how arts workshops might be implemented,” Reed continued. “Ideally, either the art alumni or the senior centers will independently apply for CALL program or other grant funding in the future to continue what they have begun. Working as a community Teaching Artist is just one of many forms of employment for a visual art major. This grant draws upon my experience as a teacher and practicing artist, my knowledge of community needs and values, what I have learned about facets of well-being in the older-adult community and ongoing relationships with our alumni who are engaged citizens.”