By Jo Petteruti
In the fall of 2021, the Nevada Arts Council contacted Library Director Carol Lloyd about a Creative Aging grant available they were offering to libraries across the state to enable them to bring arts into the rural communities with the new programs originating at the rural libraries.
Jeslyn MacDiarmid, Children's Services Librarian and Diane Wargo, Adult Services Librarian worked on the grant process with Maryjane Dorofachuk and Rebecca Snetselaar from the NAC. Both MacDiarmid and Wargo commented on how enthusiastic NAC was about getting the grants into the rural communities. “The NAC was incredibly helpful through the entire process. We only had to oversee the program; we didn't have to teach the class. So that was a fun part for us. The $3,000 grant covered training, the artist's salary, and all of the art supplies.”
MacDiarmid said, “There was training required, and we completed four online training seminars run by Lifetime Arts through the NAC, with two follow-up courses offered this past spring. We learned how to run the grant, administer the art class program, and what the expectations of the grant were. They even taught us how to evaluate the facility where the class would be held.” The ladies said the courses also included lessons on ageism and creating different positive opportunities for the aging population. “They gave us advice on how to bring seniors out for a program, and how to properly refer to them. Don't call them old people, instead call them older adults. Once you become aware of that, you can see it, and you see things differently.”
MacDiarmid described a negative interaction she had recently. “I have a full-time job, yet I was recently asked by my doctor's office if I could take care of myself okay, could I wash my hair by myself. Then when I asked for an 8 a.m. time for my next appointment, I was told that it would be winter by then. I said, 'Well I have a four-wheel-drive car and a coat. I think I can get here okay.' You know it made me mad, and I didn't realize what that was at that time. Then we took these seminars, and I was able to put a name to it.” Wargo added, “We look at ourselves differently when we're of a certain age. We're not old, we're experienced. We don't have certain limitations or responsibilities that younger people have.”
The ladies also said that the seminar participants were broken into groups for an art assignment. “Ours was to write a poem. Several types of art were assigned, and dance was one of them. Luckily, we didn't get dance because we would have been in real hot water trying to dance in that little room,” they chuckled. The room they used at the library for their seminars is at best 10-feet by 10-feet with a table and chairs splitting the room in half. They didn't have an artist for the grant when they’d completed the first four seminars. Wargo said, “We thought we had an artist, but we didn't after all. There was a component of the training for the artist too. But as fate would have it, Anne Johnson from the Churchill Arts Council met with Carol one day, and when the grant came up in discussion, Johnson suggested local artist Cody Deegan.”
According to his website, Cody Deegan started his tattoo career in 1997, and currently owns his own tattoo business called Underground Tattoo. He's also a freelance artist and has done artwork for the library in the past. Deegan has been wonderful to work with. “He does amazing work and is very easy to talk to. He told us that to make a living, he does his tattoo art and that allows him to follow his dream of being an artist.”
In this class, Deegan is teaching Basic Drawing techniques, and the classes have been a social opportunity in addition to being instructional. Students are learning things such as angles, shading, and perspectives. The seven-week class which meets on Thursdays filled up in two days with all 16 registered students attending. The room at the Art Center where the class is being held is in the northwest corner of the building. It's light and bright with tall windows on two walls bathing the room in natural lighting.
The art class will culminate with a reception at the library on July 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The community is invited to attend to meet the students, the instructor, and of course, the artwork. Refreshments will be served, and a representative from the Nevada Arts Council may also be in attendance.
MacDiarmid said, “It was a great opportunity for our community to get something like that, and we are excited to partner with the Arts Council on this program.” Wargo added, “We're hoping this is something we can continue to offer. We may not be able to get grants for everything, so maybe with a small fee to cover supplies and the artist. Partnering with the Arts Council was perfect, and the Art Center is the perfect place for art.”
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