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(Chelsea Update would like to thank Susan Pickering Rothamel for the information in this story.)

United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) selected local artist, author and business owner, Susan Pickering Rothamel to orchestrate the art and photography grant recently awarded to them by the Aroha and Lifetime Arts program ‘Seeding Artful Aging’.

The initiative at the Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC), UMRC’s historic flagship campus, is called Story Lines: Sharing Life Experiences with the Generations through Art, Music and Drama.

Rothamel, who has taught art both locally and internationally since 1979, will be writing the curriculum, coordinating and teaching classes set to begin in January and will run through November 2017.

She is an expert in mixed-media, collage, acrylic, watercolor, and oil painting, as well as a product developer, technique specialist, consultant and mentor for the creative industry.

She has written three best-selling books and owns USArtQuest, a retail/manufacturer of art materials located at 18650 W. Old US-12.

She says in a press release, “We are fortunate that there is such an active retired community here in Chelsea, and I’m delighted and humbled to be a part of this this amazing grant awarded to my friends at the CRC. My next several months will be jam-packed designing a highly creative curriculum around the ‘Storylines’ theme, while keeping the lives of the residents at the forefront, and continuing to run USArtQuest.”

There will be about 50 students per week for 8 weeks in the program, which also includes an ongoing continuing education for their facilitators.

“What is most exciting is that the entire staff at USArtQuest is totally behind this initiative. I have long known how completely able they are to manage things while I’m off teaching and demonstrating around the country, and now they’ll be able to do the same, while I’m right around the corner,” she says.

Chosen from a highly competitive field of more than 200 applicants, the United Methodist Retirement Communities Foundation, Chelsea Retirement Center is one of the 15 selected organizations to partner with Aroha and Lifetime Arts in this exciting grant.

Aroha defines “artful aging” as a subset of the broader field of creative aging, which inspire and enable older adults to learn, make and share the arts in ways that are novel, complex and socially engaging. Successful artful aging programs are led by teaching artists whose creative process and understanding of older adults bring joy, connection, improved health and well-being, and a renewed sense of purpose to older adults in community and residential settings.

Aroha Philanthropies has awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to 15 nonprofits through its “Seeding Artful Aging initiative. For more information about the program, click here.

For more information about the UMRC and the Chelsea Retirement Community program Story Lines: Sharing Life Experiences with the Generations through Art, Music and Drama, click here.

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