Students sit around the table, piecing together their collages with well-worn grins stretched across their aged faces as their college-age instructors help them with the gluing or the assembly of their art pieces. This is different though from the usual teacher/student setting because here the students are older while the teachers are younger.
The Tyler Junior College Art Club members are turning in their titles as students and use their talents to teach and entertain others.
The art club members teach two-hour classes to the residents at the Disciple Place Village once a month.
“They love it. They absolutely love it,” art club sponsor Derrick White said. “They had a great time during the painting. Most of the people that came back were people that had heard about it and wanted to come see it or were returning, but they’re very responsive to it. They get right in, roll up their sleeves and get involved.”
The Disciple Place Village is a retirement community on Highway 31, east of Loop 323.
“We got contacted last semester by a woman named Tonya Dixon,” White said. “The residents were looking for more variety in the recreational activities that they have and she called and asked if we’d be interested and I said they would so that’s when we got started.”
The student volunteers teach different aspects of art to the residents, ranging from painting to clay.
“We taught a painting class, doing acrylic painting in the fall,” White said. “This last time we went out and taught the residents how to do collage and then we haven’t really planned what we’re doing the next time but it will be some sort of variety of art making. We might do clay or prints or something like that.”
They teach a two-hour class every third Thursday of the month between 1 and 3 p.m.
“It gives us a chance to go out and do something we’ve never done before,” art club member Erika Garrett said. “We get to work with people we don’t know, and probably learn something from it as well as they do.”
About eight to ten students have volunteered to teach the classes and there are usually 10 to 12 residents who attend the classes.
“It was actually really entertaining for me because I really enjoy interacting with people,” art club member Carley Baker said. “I took pride in helping them make collages and glue the pictures that they chose, help them cut out stuff to put on their papers. It was really fun and I enjoyed it.”
The art club members who help teach the classes are all volunteers.
“It’s really interactive and you get to know the people you’re working with,” Baker said. “You’re not just there to serve food. You’re actually there to talk and communicate and help them do something fascinating and enjoyable for them.”
Art Club meets every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. in the art lobby in Jenkins.
“It’s really just a camaraderie club, a club where we can get together, share ideas, share ideas, information about events and just have some fun,” White said. “We take community service very seriously and aspects of what we do as a student organization on campus very seriously…and we do have the most fun of any club on campus.”