Woodbury High School Art Students Work with Senior Citizens on an Exhibition

Last school year, Woodbury High School (WHS) AP art students set out with their cameras in hand to Woodbury Senior Living (WSL), where they interacted with residents, snapped photos and produced an art exhibition.

The optional assignment sprouted when WSL music therapist Chad Worner called WHS art teacher Chris Dease, suggesting a project. “He wanted to have our students come down to the senior living center and bring some of their photos, show them to the elders and talk about their techniques and inspiration,” Dease says. After chatting more with Worner and WSL campus marketing director Margaret Wachholz, Dease thought it would be exciting for both the elders and students to have a field trip and exhibition.

“The collaboration was a hit, and the art was fabulous,” Wachholz says. “The residents felt that they saw what the students were contributing to the world.”

On the day of the exhibition, the residents, staff, students and their families gathered at WSL to enjoy art, food and a sing-along led by Dease’s mom, JoAnn Potts. “Our elders [can] see the prints throughout the day and their adult children [can] find joy in seeing their parents on the walls looking beautiful,” Wachholz says.

Discussions about a project for this school year are in the works. “We may take our seniors to Woodbury High School, where they can use different medias of art,” Wachholz says. “Our goal is to connect again and contribute to something bigger than self.”