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Posted December 6, 2018 | 8:52 AM

Exhibit Showcases Art by Hillsborough County Seniors

"Artisan Sagacity" is at the Art Gallery on the Ybor City Campus of Hillsborough Community College

The senior artists whose works appear in a Dec. 6-14 exhibit have widely varying backgrounds, but they share a passion to lead a creative life.

They are culled from Hillsborough County Aging Services senior centers, with many of their works created under the tutelage of Margarita Torres, a volunteer art instructor at Town 'N Country Senior Center.

Nineteen exhibits are featured in the Art Gallery at Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus in the show called Artisan Sagacity. Individual works for the exhibit were selected by HCC Art Gallery Director Carolyn Kossar.

Strawberries
Margarita Lebron’s oil painting, Viejo San Juan, will be displayed at the Ybor City art gallery.

There's hope it will be the first in a series of displays of the seniors' art, at various colleges and schools. The idea is to increase awareness among youth that seniors are productive and creative.

The artists in Torres' weekly classes fit that description.

They include Ed Chavez, 90, who began drawing Superman and Batman figures as a child in Arizona, and kept sketching throughout a 26-year career in the U.S. Air Force. He came to Hillsborough County to take a job as a draftsman and illustrator. Now retired, his charcoal and pencil sketches are meticulously drawn profiles of people, birds, and mammals. Some will be on display at the HCC exhibit.

Ed is an invaluable volunteer at the Town 'N Country Senior Center art classes. With his wife, Lou, painting nearby, Ed harnesses his draftsman skills to make frames for classmates' paintings.

The HCC exhibit won't be his first public display of art. Ed's sketch of hands grinding corn on a stone won a second-place award at a Carrollwood Community Center show.

Shelley McDonald, 69, painted the scene featured on a promotional handout for the HCC exhibit. She calls the oil-on-canvas creation "Shirley on the Beach," inspired by a photograph of her best friend, but reworked a bit.

Strawberries
Shelley McDonald begins an acrylic painting during a weekly art session overseen by volunteer Margarita Torres.

Shelley says she always liked drawing, and became inspired to try painting about seven years ago while heading out on a deep-sea fishing excursion. The sea, the sky, the birds… "That's when I really started."

Isabel Golson, 76, a self-proclaimed beginning artist, will have a painting displayed at the HCC show - an acrylic of a dog. Isabel says she always loved art, but didn't have time to pursue it with four children and an office job. Now, she does.

Zenobia Roman Figueras and her husband, Luis, also are eager learners. Both painted acrylic works selected for the show.

Why participate in an art class for seniors? "It was just the idea of doing something you've never done before," Zenobia says. "It's enjoyable. You learn a little something every week."

The Art Gallery is on the first floor of the Performing Arts Building, Palm Avenue and 15th Street, in Ybor City. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Top photo: Ed Chavez, 90, takes measurements for a frame to adorn a painting by a fellow artist at Town 'N Country Senior Center.

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