Diners enjoying breakfast Friday at the Tahlequah Senior Citizens Center were treated to some extra decor and color provided by artisans and craftspeople from among their own ranks.
The center held its Senior Art Show, which featured paintings, quilts and other art items created by locals who frequent the TSCC.
“You’re never too old to create,” said Tom Bullock, 83. “I only began painting three years ago.”
Bullock, a retired preacher, undertook his hobby while caring for his wife during the final years of her life. She died in April.
“I just really needed something to do while staying at the house,” he said. “You can do anything with God’s help. You just have to decide that you can do it.”
Former Northeastern State University employee Dorothy Crawford, 82, displayed a table full of handmade items, such as jewelry and dolls – including one mouse doll that served as a toilet paper holder.
“I worked in food services for NSU, much of that time for Job Corps,” she said. “Every month, we would come up with some sort of special theme and we would need decorations, so I often made things. I never use a sewing machine. I stitch everything together by hand.”
Dawn Carpenter of the TSCC said many of the center’s patrons possess artistic talents and that efforts are made to allow their expression.
“We have ceramics room, and several people were bringing in items they wanted to share,” Carpenter said. “So we decided we should put on a show.”
Through the center and its activities, many seniors build and maintain friendships in the community.
“A lot of people, without the center, would not have the level of social integration that they do,” Carpenter said. “Among the elderly, a lack of interaction with other people can result in mental decline. Here they can have that interaction every day and stay engaged.”
Carpenter said organizing activities and maintaining the center’s neighborly atmosphere requires help from people of all ages.
“We are always in need of volunteers, and people are welcome to visit with the seniors,” she said. “Younger people are welcome to come in and spend time with the seniors. It can be as easy as playing a game of checkers with a senior.”
For information about the TSCC or to volunteer, call Carpenter at (918) 456-0792.