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Williamsburg Art Show Spotlights Work from Local Seniors

By Serena Dai | June 12, 2015 12:56pm | Updated on June 15, 2015 9:00am
  Most of the painters at Northside Senior Center have spent years in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
Williamsburg Art Show to Only Feature Work from Local Seniors
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WILLIAMSBURG — No one can accuse the artists at this Williamsburg show of being newcomers.

Nearly all the artistic seniors from the Northside Senior Center — who are having their annual show next Friday — have lived in Williamsburg and Greenpoint for much of their adult lives.

Most of nine seniors in the group never tried to make a living as an artist, instead finding their passion for painting in retirement at a weekly class at the center.

The class allows them to indulge in a hobby and is also a way for the longtime Brooklyn residents to get out of the house and meet other people, they said.

"I love to do it," said Ada Kaftan. "Sometimes, I'm so excited that it comes out nice, and I finish it at home."

Though it's a group show, all the artists chose their own subjects for their paintings.

Kaftan loves flowers and landscapes. Erna Zawodzinski, a Polish immigrant, once lived in Hawaii and enjoys painting tropical wildlife with bright, bold colors.

Eleanor Curran, a longtime North Brooklyn resident, explored perspectives by painting scenes from the neighborhood. Sophie Novack likes painting animals and Impressionist-style work.

And Carlos Perez lets his mind pour out onto the canvas.

"I use my imagination," he said. "When I’m beginning painting, I have nothing in my mind. Then I’m going, and I’m trying to do something. But I don’t know what I’m trying to do as the final."

Even though most of the older artists had never touched a paintbrush before starting the class, they all knew what they wanted once faced with a blank canvas, said teacher Tina Eisenbeis.

"They know what they're trying to achieve a little more clearly at this point in life," Eisenbeis said. "It's trying to help them find a way toward that in their work."

Alice Stone just started painting a few years ago when she was forced to stay at home due to an injured foot and her family bought her some art supplies.

She ended up loving it and has even been comissioned to paint a portait of a woman's dog, she said. 

"More people should try it," Stone said. "You never know what you can do till you try."

The Northside Senior Citizen Center art show will be on Friday, June 19 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at 179 North Sixth St. Paintings will be on sale for $10 to $25, with proceeds paying for supplies for the class. The classes are sponsored by Catholic Charities and funded by the NYC Office for the Aging.