AtlantiCare Arts and Healthcare Initiative celebrates senior participants

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Members of the Arts and Healthcare initiative photography group gather in the public art space at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus. Sean Fitzgerald of Absecon, center right, leads the class. Members of the Arts and Healthcare initiative photography group gather in the public art space at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus. Sean Fitzgerald of Absecon, center right, leads the class.

Eight local artists visited AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City Wednesday, Feb. 19 to see their photography on display in the public art space.

For some, it was the first time they had work publically displayed – or had even considered themselves artists.

“I didn’t think I was a photographer,” said Marie DeVincent of Atlantic City as she addressed the group. “But maybe I am.”

The group of seniors came together over the summer of 2013 as part of The Arts and Healthcare Initiative of the State Council on the Arts in partnership with the South Jersey Cultural Alliance and the AtlantiCare Healing Arts Program.

The group from Atlantic City and surrounding communities embarked on the eight-week photography class led by photographer Sean Fitzgerald of Absecon, who has taught the class each year since the program began in 2008.

Members took photos individually in their neighborhoods or at favorites places, and then regrouped to review and discuss their work.

“Photography helps people focus on what is important to them and gives them a way to capture it, and share it with others in a different way than just with words,” said Caz Boyd, arts education manager for the South Jersey Cultural Alliance. “The Arts and Healthcare Initiative provides valuable art experiences to persons who might otherwise be unable to benefit from the restorative impact of the arts.  I think it opens people up, it allows others to see the way they see.”

Art – and the transformation of people into artists – is not the only outcome of the class, held at the H G Rosin Senior Center in Atlantic City, part of the Jewish Older Adult Services of Atlantic County. 

Fitzgerald said members “learn about each other through the photographs that they make.  “Each brings his or her own personal aesthetic to the photography and the result is a unique vision,” he said. “The work we have done together has also created lasting friendships.”

Rose Schwartz of Atlantic City has taken the class three times.

“It’s a great way to meet new people - especially people with similar interests and people who are looking to make friends,” said Schwartz, a Holocaust survivor. “I’ve met so many nice people. It’s an opportunity to learn, and it is exciting to see our pictures developed. Making art is like a medicine.”

The program is scheduled to continue this summer and the group’s photos will be on display at AtlantiCare through March.

Shirley Brown of Atlantic City describes subjects in a picture taken by Rose Schwartz. Shirley Brown of Atlantic City describes subjects in a picture taken by Rose Schwartz.

Arts and Healthcare Initiative women admire their photography. Arts and Healthcare Initiative women admire their photography.

Rose Schwartz of Atlantic City stands in front of her photograph ‘Friends.’ Rose Schwartz of Atlantic City stands in front of her photograph ‘Friends.’

Seated, from left, are artists Rose Schwartz, Lannie Allmond and Marlene Acosta. Arts education manager Caz Boyd of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance looks on. Seated, from left, are artists Rose Schwartz, Lannie Allmond and Marlene Acosta. Arts education manager Caz Boyd of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance looks on.


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