The white walls of the cafeteria echoed back the laughter, as the smell of glue and the sound of ripping paper filled the air.

Sue Valek, a resident of The Disciple Place Retirement Community in Tyler, with her sky blue shirt and golden short hair had a smile on her face as she cut pictures out of a style magazine.

 “This is the first one I have done, this is fun, ” said Sue. 

On a Thursday afternoon, Tyler Junior College Art students and Art Club members with the leadership of Professor Derrick White, arrived at the retirement community ready to connect and teach the art of collage to the residents.

 “It’s been great for both the residents and students. We have had some of our shiest students, when they are working one-on-one with an elderly person really start to talk and…open up,” said White, ” I think one of the greatest benefits is…. you realize you understand something better when you try to teach it to someone else. “

As the laughs across the room got louder Sue sat back to observe the students and her fellow neighbors enjoying the company of one another. She has been at the community for 4 months, and is coping with the new change.

Students connected with Sue and other residents while creating the collage, some helped the elderly select pictures that stood out to them the most from the magazines, and others glued them on to the large brown poster paper. 

“I will come up here and visit. It’s fun, ” said Michelle Map, who joined the Art Club for the first time on Thursday.

The classes will take place this spring semester every third Thursday out of the month at the retirement community, where they will be learning more about painting, clay, collage, and giving them the opportunity for both students and residents to reflect personal expression through art.

For more information on the Art Class at The Disciple Place Retirement Community, contact Derrick White at (903) 510-2233 or by email at dwhi@tjc.edu.

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