There are two groups at the West Linn Adult Community Center that would love to have more people participating

Are you sitting at home feeling a bit lonely and/or thinking you need something new to do? I have an idea for you. There are two groups at the West Linn Adult Community Center that would love to have more people participating. They are the Coloring Group and the Open Studio. I found both groups to be fun, encouraging, relaxing and very welcoming.

The Coloring Group began at the center in April 2016, after Delores Mahoney learned that coloring enhances brain health. The participants describe themselves as a "small but cohesive group" which includes men and women. They use colored pencils that are provided and their own books. Books may also be purchased in the center's gift shop.

Other materials are used also. Evalois King, for example, colors postcards and mails them to friends and relatives for their enjoyment. When I voiced trepidation at being able to do such fine work Luella Hunt shared "There is no wrong way to color. Just jump in and let your heart show you where to go." They all agreed that they learn from each other and anyone can do it.

The Open Studio participants would like to emphasize that, while only painters are currently using the space, it is open to artists of any skill level in any medium - pencil, clay, sketch, etc. Just bring your project and join the camaraderie. This group has been around a lot longer - since the 1970s! There are about six people in the group, three regulars. They come from varying art backgrounds and have different reasons for participating in the group. Jeanine Kathrein, who paints from photographs, comes because she wouldn't paint otherwise.

She will do paintings for other people when the spirit moves her. Elaine Carlson, who received a degree in art from Portland State after a career in teaching, enjoys painting from pictures in magazines. Painting with the group helps her find joy in life and describes it as "her home away from home." Warren Guest, enjoyed drawing as a child and won a contest that rewarded him with two weeks at the Art Institute of Chicago. He has dabbled in many mediums and took up painting, again, when he retired. His imagination is his inspiration.

Studies have found many benefits of doing arts and crafts such as it reduces stress, relaxes your mind, sparks creativity, lets you connect with your inner child, and could delay the development of memory problems. Participants in both groups have experienced some, or all, of these benefits personally.

Marlene Fellman, in the Coloring Group, enjoys feeling like a child again and doing what she wants to do. She feels that it's good for children to see that it's OK for adults to color. Both groups shared that they get inspiration from each other and that brings on creativity.

If you are interested in joining the fun with either group, just show up:

The Coloring group meets Thursdays 1- 3 p.m. and the Open Studio takes place from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Fridays.

The lunch menu this week features beef stroganoff on Friday, June 2; chicken Kiev on Monday, June 5 and the popular Birthday Brunch on Wednesday, June 7. Cost is $5 per person.

The West Linn Adult Community Center is located at 1180 Rosemont Road in West Linn. For more information call 503-742-6071.

Robin Way is the recreation coordinator at the West Linn Adult Community Center.

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