Ever since he was a child, 74-year-old Fermin Gutierrez had wanted to learn to draw like the pictures he would see in books and magazines. Now, after all these years, he’s fulfilling a life-long wish after enrolling in a drawing class through Bihl Haus Arts GO! Arts Program for older adults.
Gutierrez learned about the GO! Arts Program about a year ago at the District 5 senior center he attends and signed up. Lately, he’s been getting his instruction via Zoom classes on his cell phone. “It’s just like being in the classroom,” the retired owner of a hydraulics company said. “Our instructor will give us assignments on what to draw. It’s convenient because I don’t have to leave the house.”
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Bihl Haus offered its GO! Arts program for seniors in the classroom with 15 students in one 2-hour class per week. But now that seniors – who are urged to take extra precaution with social distancing – aren’t able to meet in person, the nonprofit arts organization is taking the classroom and its instructors to them via virtual classes.
“We’ve transitioned completely from in-person instruction to take advantage of whatever technology each student has access,” said Bihl Haus Arts executive director Kellen McIntyre. “Our goal is to help them avoid the trauma that isolation causes so that they will be able to return to their senior centers as soon as they reopen.