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Retired artist leads painting classes at Parkway Place

For 86-year-old Eleanor Loose, art is not just a hobby; it’s a way of life.

From the time Eleanor was a child, she’s loved all forms of art. She studied art education at the University of Delaware, worked for the Delaware Art Center, and taught preschool art classes for 15 years.

Now, as a retiree living at Parkway Place in Houston, Eleanor continues to readily involve herself with the arts.

“I always have a project going,” she said. “It’s something I enjoy doing, and it’s been good for me to keep my finger in art.”

Once a month, Eleanor leads a painting class for fellow Parkway Place residents, giving them the chance to explore their own artistic voices. As many as 18 residents attend each class.

“A resident who was nearly blind approached me and wanted to learn how to paint,” Eleanor explained. “It was so inspiring to see her desire to create something. Word started spreading about our lesson, so I worked with the staff to create a class to teach the basics of painting.”

For Eleanor , art is both about developing relationships and creating a final product.

“I think art is a wonderful way to make friends, especially for seniors, because you get to share your life and get to know the other people well,” Eleanor said. “We can offer advice and help one another. There is always great emotion behind art, and in my opinion that is often what makes the best art.”

In addition to sharing her love of art with Parkway Place, Eleanor also uses her artistic talent to serve her church, Pines Presbyterian. In the last 40 years that she and her husband have attended the church, she’s designed two stained-glass windows in the sanctuary, painted scenes for the choir room, and created countless event signs. She’s also attended the church’s art club every week for the past 15 years.

“You paint what you see in the world and feel in your heart and see how fantastic this God-given world is,” she said.

Eleanor estimates she’s painted hundreds of paintings through the years, anything from Christmas cards to landscapes. Her inspiration, she says, comes primarily from friends.

“I usually am doing it for someone or for some reason,” Eleanor said. “My friends’ lives are what inspire me more than anything else, plus the places I’ve visited."

Parkway Place offers a myriad of avenues for residents around the community to be creative. There are craft classes, a woodworking shop and a group of assisted living residents who crochet.

“Residents like Eleanor are what make Parkway Place such a special place to live and work," said Sunny Chatagnier, executive director of Parkway Place. "When a resident is truly passionate about something, we believe there are no limits to what they can accomplish."

The creative senior adults at Parkway Place will have their creations on display on Tuesday, January 31 for “Inspire Your Heart with Art Day,” and encourage the public to attend their inspiring display with art of all kinds created exclusively by seniors. They will be on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1321 Park Bayou Drive in Houston.

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