Seniors draw on old passions at Oak Park Arms art classes

Having worked with senior citizens for the past 15 years, art instructor Nancy Fong knows they tend to have plenty of material for self-expression.

“When you live a long life, you have lots of past,” she said.

As a group, seniors — who frequently attend her classes at the Senior Citizens’ Center of Oak Park and River Forest after a spouse has died — are often passionate about art but haven’t had the time to explore their interest in it, Fong said.

Howard R. McClain and Frank Schaben are both residents of the Oak Park Arms, a senior and assisted living facility, and have taken up art as a hobby since their wives died. Both take part in Fong’s classes.

“They’re both pretty darn talented,” said Desi Vasquez, social director at the Arms.

McClain, whose background is in music, had a latent talent for sketching that developed through classes with Fong, Vasquez said.

As a choir

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