PLEASANT HILL -- As a longtime member of the Pleasant Hill Senior Center, Walter Crew was thrilled when the new center opened in January 2013.

But like several other senior center members, Crew knew something was missing.

"When I walked into the new senior center over a year ago and looked at some of the bare walls there ... they cried out to me. I felt that (they) were telling me they needed some good artwork in some areas where the walls were bare," said Crew.

So Crew talked with members of his art group, East Bay Artists Guild, and with the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District.

After a long process that included meetings and proposals, the deed was done. The guild is the first art group to show work at the new senior center.

Artist members say they wish to use the exhibit to create a bridge between older and younger artists.

Walnut Creek artist Aissa Markey is no stranger to introducing art to young students, having been an elementary school art teacher for 14 years. She knows the importance of embracing art at a young age because she was once a young artist herself.

"Elementary school-age children are so eager to create," said Markey, who works primarily in mixed media and collage.

"Teaching them art elements and design principles with hands-on projects helps them with fine motor, visual-spatial skills, problem solving and exploration.

"This benefits the student without them realizing it.


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"Seeing their joy when they have created something they love truly benefits me."

Elizabeth Kennen was also a child artist who always had paper and pencil on hand for sketching.

Many years were spent enjoying graphite and colored pencil, making detailed drawings of nature and then discovering a love for architecture.

Since support and encouragement for artistic endeavors came naturally from growing up in a creative household, Kennen draws from her own experience to teach with Young Rembrandts of the East Bay.

When Kennen saw the Artists Guild display at Crescent Plaza in Pleasant Hill five years ago, she credits that encounter with the group's show for getting back into art after taking a break.

Kennen gives major kudos to Crew for getting the group to display art in the senior center.

"Pleasant Hill doesn't have an actual gallery so this shows that a lot of places can turn into a gallery," Kennen said.

The senior center is a venue that draws people of all ages so anyone can come to this nonintimidating environment, she said.

"It's a great place for the community to come together to see art," Kennen said.

"A portion of proceeds from sales of artwork goes to the senior center."

Fifteen artists and 19 paintings are featured in the current show which runs through Sept. 26.

"Hopefully, the reaction from the public is so positive that we can continue to fill more spaces that are crying out for art," Kennen said.

If You Go
WHAT: East Bay Artists Guild show
WHEN: Through Sept. 26
WHERE: Pleasant Hill Senior Center, 233 Gregory Lane
INFORMATION: Visit eastbayartistsguild.org