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C. Barton McCann School of Art applying for grant

by on July 31, 2013 6:10 PM

PETERSBURG — A creative aging grant offered by the National Guild for Community Arts Education could provide more art opportunities for senior citizens enrolled in the C. Barton McCann School of Art.

The Petersburg School is in the process of applying for the MetLife Creative Aging Grant, which, if received, could have a significant impact on those taking the school’s older adult art class.

Rebranding the course

Alan Schaffranek, Jr., director at the C. Barton McCann School of Art, said the school has been providing an art class for older adults since around 2009 or 2010. Last September when it was accepted into the National Guild for Community Arts Education, it started restructuring its course.

That’s when the school learned of a grant offered by the national guild, which specializes in arts and aging, Schaffranek said. The grant would provide funding opportunities up to $12,500 for different aging programs in 2013 and 2014, he said. Most grants of this nature expect to provide anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000.

“It reminded me very much of our program,” Schaffranek said.

So the school evaluated the process of its class, decided to make a few changes, and apply for the grant.

C.Barton McCann’s art class had been offered quarterly, but the grant requires classes be six to eight weeks long, Schaffranek said.

“We added more curriculums for older adults,” he said.

Thus, the “Silver Signature Series” was born.

Offered from January to June, the course is a weekly series that features speakers who are local artists. The speakers, who are experts in various artistic subjects, will provide talks and demonstrations on a wide range of topics and genres, Schaffranek said, such as ceramics, water color and silk screen printing.

Additionally, one day of the course will focus on movement. The school will partner with the Silver Sneakers program, run through Athletic Clubs of State College, to teach yoga, meditation and other movement techniques, he said.

“We’re really branching out,” he said.

If received, the grant would enable the school to offer its Silver Signature Series for free for most eligible members of the school. The school is expected to find out if it receives the grant at the end of this year, Schaffranek said.

The Silver Signature Series, for ages 50 and older, hopefully will attract between 30 and 40 participants in its upcoming session, Schaffranek said.

Aging with art

Schaffranek said he believes one major benefit to seniors participating in art courses and activities is the social aspect.

“It gives this generation a feeling of camaraderie, a feeling of purpose,” he said.

At this stage in life, seniors are often given a chance to “take look at their passions,” Schaffranek said. The Silver Speaker Series is almost like “dream building,” he said, because it helps people realize their dreams.

“It gives them a great sense of purpose, too,” he said.

The C. Barton McCann School of Art, located at 4144 Miller Road in Petersburg, is a 501 (c)(3) organization that supports emerging artists of all ages. Founded in 2006, its goal is to provide its students the opportunity to explore and develop artistic talents.

The school offers workshops and seminars for all ages and abilities, as well as performances, shows and exhibits. Artistic memberships and associations include the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, the National Art Education Association and the Pennsylvania Art Education Association, according to its website. For more information visit or call (814) 667-2538.

For more information about the National Guild for Community Arts Education, visit

Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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