GREENWICH VILLAGE — The senior center on the north end of Washington Square Park kicked off an all-elders art show Friday and drew the attention of one of the neighborhood's most famous residents: Sarah Jessica Parker.
The "Sex and the City" star, who attended the show with her 2-year-old twins Tabitha and Marion plus a helper, said she stopped by the "20 Over 60 Senior Art Show" at Greenwich House's Senior Center on the Square after reading about the weeklong exhibition in a neighborhood events listing.
"I thought it was beautiful. Really lovely," Parker said after leaving the show wearing a springy green A-line skirt and sleeveless top and asking not to be photographed on her "day off."
The fifth-annual show on Washington Square North previously called "12 over 50," increased the number of artists included this year in response to high interest, with 80 submissions received, a spokeswoman said.
Art invigorates seniors, said Gramercy Park resident and amateur ceramicist Judy Sager, 79, who had a bowl and plate she made accepted into the show. The participants were selected by New York Times culture editor Deborah Leiderman, NY1 arts and culture reporter Stephanie Simon and Greenwich House pottery director Adam Welch.
"This keeps us young and excited," Sager said. "This is a time when we're not old, while we're doing this and showing our work."
Artist and retired dancer Aura Levitas founded the art show with her friend of more than 60 years Ingrid Edwards, who she met when they both danced in a 1948 Broadway production of "Kiss Me, Kate."
Levitas looked for Greenwich Village gallery space for the show before deciding to hold it at the senior center, where she was then a board member.
The possibility of participating in an exhibition is energizing for artists, she said.
"Art is so valuable, especially for seniors who don't get a chance to have a show," Levitas said. "It gives them impetus and reason to work."
Painter Eddie Baker, an 83-year-old Chelsea resident who displayed three oil paintings of women in profile, said he took up oil painting again at age 75 after taking a decades-long break from it.
"I said, 'I'm 83 years old. I may be on my way out.' Now I'm doing better than I did before."
Baker's painting instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Barry Siegel, said Baker was a more focused student than his much-younger classmates.
"He does beautiful work and he doesn't look at his iPod or talk," Siegel said.
The show will be on display at 20 Washington Square North from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday. All pieces included are for sale and are priced between $60 and $1,000 each, with most work falling into the $300 to $750 range, a spokeswoman said. Proceeds will benefit Greenwich House.
The Senior Center on the Square serves hot lunch Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m. and has a full calendar of events ranging from belly dancing to Italian lessons, plus services for people dealing with drug addiction and HIV/AIDS.
Village resident Hellen Osgood, 50, attended the art show with her husband Harvey on his 72nd birthday and said age was just a number.
"Don't get confused by the age. Think of the energy," she said alongside her husband, who wore a hat with a pin that said "Seniors Rule."
"There's so much energy in this room. I can only hope I'll be so full of life and wonder at their age myself," Osgood said.