Aside from being known for providing quality senior services guided by Christian values to residents, Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America is synonymous with celebrating the timeless enjoyment of the arts.
The Art is Ageless® program encourages Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America residents and other area seniors to express their creativity through an annual art competition and exhibit, musical and dramatic events, educational opportunities and current events discussions.
Every month, we celebrate and display the work of a local artist in our lobby.
The artist for July was Susie Kimmell of Nevada, Mo.
"I was contacted by Presbyterian Village in Fort Scott and asked if I would like to hang some paintings for a month. I said I would be happy to. I have a private studio located on my pecan farm about 10 miles from Fort Scott. I give private lessons four days a week," said Susie. "I have learned a lot and struggled with painting over the years, and now I want to teach others what it took me so long to learn. You have to find the right teacher that speaks your language to understand at least some of what there is to know to become a successful painter."
Susie was born and raised in Tulsa, Okla., and developed a taste for art in grade school. Susie quit producing art in 6th grade when her abilities fell short of her vision but picked it up again a few years down the road.
"It wasn't until I was a student at Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., that I fell in love with art again. After receiving a two-year degree, I attended Pittsburg State University where I earned a B.F.A. degree in studio art."
Susie believes everyone has an appreciation for the arts.
"After having worked with seniors for a number of yours, I feel that it can bring back fond memories of yesterdays and give them something to think about for tomorrow. For me, art or at least painting is an irresistible passion. It's like being on a journey with the satisfaction coming once you have arrived at your destination. Then it's over and time to begin the challenges of the next one. Everyone has the ability to be creative, he or she just needs to explore what makes them feel good."
You can check out Susie's work and learn more about the classes she offers by contacting her at [email protected] or 417-321-9211.
Our August artist of the month is Minnie Lou Allen.
Fort Scott Presbyterian Village tenant Minnie Lou Allen can barely recall a time before she was an artist—because it’s something she’s done since she was a very young child.
“I started when I was very young. I’m mostly self-taught, though I’ve taken a few classes along the way,” said Minnie. “I mostly do watercolors and acrylic painting, but I also enjoy photography. I started that around 18. I just paint or take pictures of whatever comes to mind.”
While Minnie doesn’t consider herself a “professional” artist, she certainly has enough experience to qualify.
“I’ve done art and studied art everywhere I’ve lived, which has been many places,” said Minnie. “My husband’s job took us from California to Kentucky to Alabama, and even to Europe! We lived in Germany for a year, and I was able to travel to many different countries and explore art museums.”
While a medical condition is keeping Minnie from producing the art that she loves at the moment, it doesn’t mean she isn't still involved with the local art culture.
“I’ve always been on the arts council wherever I’ve lived, and I’ve also been a judge for the Presbyterian Village’s Art is Ageless program.” Minnie not only loves the arts, she encourages others to enjoy them as well.
“I would tell someone who wants to try art, ‘Just take some paper and pencils or even crayons or brushes and just start working. Just do what you can. Don’t even think about it. Put some marks on the paper and start going. Don’t have any fear, because you can always throw it away. Just do what you can and keep working,’” said Minnie.
Minnie enjoys the social opportunities at Presbyterian Village, and is settling in well after moving here in April.
“Everyone here is so nice. I enjoy being with people. And I enjoy talking about art with others. To me, art is a form of relaxation. It’s fun, and it’s nothing to get uptight about. It’s a form of enjoyment. People should just forget their fear and go for it!”