Gallery offers ArtBoxes and Art PenPals for Greater Trail seniors

VISAC Gallery has come up with a creative way to reach out to seniors stuck at home because of COVID

VISAC staff Mena McGill prepping art box contents in the Rossland museum, which donated their space when the community centre VISAC is housed in, was closed for the holidays. Photo: Submitted

With COVID keeping seniors away from the finer things in life like art studios, the VISAC Gallery in downtown Trail has come up with a thoughtful way to keep patrons painting and/or crafting.

The nonprofit is offering art supplies and instruction for any senior in the Greater Trail area through VISAC’s Creating Connections; ArtBoxes and Art PenPals for Seniors!

This free service, available over the next two months, is so important right now given many locals have been isolated for months on end due to the ongoing pandemic. Studies show that art can play a valuable role in mental wellness, being that creating art can alleviate stress and anxiety, and help boost confidence and the feeling of resilience.

VISAC staff Ellie Knox prepping supplies for January art boxes. Photo: Submitted

“During the winter and Covid-19, many seniors are not able to attend in-person classes and workshops due to risks and restrictions. We have heard … that many seniors do not have the means to take online art classes or can feel overwhelmed by online offerings,” explains VISAC director Kristin Chester.

“Our input also indicates that seniors either have a hard time allocating limited funds to art supplies or are not able to source art supplies due to stores being back ordered.”

After asking local seniors what kind of art-themed activities are most interesting to them, the gallery has come up with two art box themes.

The January box is weaving-themed and the February/March art box will be water-coloured themed.

Each art box will contain: quality art supplies; instruction on how to use materials and art project instructions; art-focused enrichment materials; and a little piece of art created by a local elementary student, in hopes the senior writes back a letter to their new art penpal.

The art boxes are designed for seniors without motor ability restrictions, however there is the option of having it adapted for those with ailments such as arthritis.

Sign up for January delivery is available online at visacgallery.com under ‘upcoming art programs.’

“We understand not all seniors have access to the internet,” says Chester. “So we are up for feedback on how we can reach seniors who are interested in a delivery but are not able to fill out the online sign up form,” she added. “We have a limited amount of art boxes per month and hope to distribute them out fairly as best we can around Greater Trail. If you think your network, senior housing, etc. would like to be allocated a certain amount each month, let me know so we may reserve some and get back to you when … the delivery sign up is ready.”

Sign up form here: Creating Connections

Read more: VISAC Gallery

Read more: Downtown Trail art gallery

Anyone with questions is encouraged to email Kristin Chester at director@visacgallery.com.

This project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Le Roi Community Foundation. Through an extensive network of donors and cooperations, the Le Roi foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of people living in Trail, Warfield, Rossland, Montrose, Fruitvale, and Areas A and B of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.


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