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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Cochrane art gallery offers free programming to Big Hill seniors – Cochrane Today

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Community outreach programs are in full swing at Route 22 Artist Collective Gallery – offering opportunities for Cochranites of all ages to explore their creative side.
Most recently, the gallery hosted seniors from Big Hill Lodge at their Fun Photo Shoot event – just one of many programs they’re offering to residents of the facility for free.
“We’re trying to bring awareness to the fact that we have this programming available and that it’s part of what we do. It’s part of our mandate,” said Route 22 director Karen Chaisson.
“The maker space is really for everybody. It’s a place where artists and members of the community can come and make art.”
Seniors dressed up in an assortment of vintage hats, scarves, glasses, dresses, jackets and jewellery before having their glamour shots taken by a photographer with the gallery.
In addition to receiving copies of their photos as mementos, the residents at Big Hill Lodge will also be treated to a PowerPoint presentation compiling all of their pictures from the day.
“The response was really great and it was a thrill to see how much fun everyone had,” said Chaisson. “The seniors, the photographers and the volunteers, they really enjoyed every minute of it. I think this was a nice outlet for them.”
The Cochrane-based gallery, which opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, was created with the intention of providing a space for educational arts programming. The maker space where they host classes in the back of the building is the same size as the main gallery at the front, where local art is displayed.
“Our intent has always been to include this space as part of our community outreach component to the community,” said the director. “Due to COVID restrictions, we were unable to get this up and running as soon as we would have liked, but we’re now able to offer classes and workshops to the community.”
When pandemic-related restrictions began to ease, the gallery started facilitating its free monthly programming to seniors. In addition to the recent photo shoot, residents of Big Hill have participated in both card-making and painting classes. They can also sign up for a collage workshop happening later this month.
Chaisson said they aim to offer the same programming to senior residents of other facilities in Cochrane and are currently looking at ways to expand their reach.
In the meantime, they’re also offering youth summer programming every Wednesday throughout July and August.
Classes are available to youth ages eight to 14 at a cost of $25 per session and include pet rock/rock wrapping, mask-making, communal art, collage, macramé, painting and soapstone carving.
The gallery also hosts a range of workshops for adults including figure drawing and painting.
“This is a wonderful gathering space where people can learn and participate in [a] fun atmosphere,” said Chaisson. “We want people to know these opportunities are available to them, as well as give them an opportunity to let us know what types of classes they would like to see in the future.
“The social and cultural fabric of our community is enhanced by art.”
 For more information and a full list of events, visit route22gallery.com.
About the Author: Jessica Lee
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