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P.E.I. seniors motivated by mosaics

Members of the Good Neighbourly Plus 50 Club show the pieces they created at L.E.A.P. art exhibit and open house at Tracadie Community Centre


When Marian White registered for the Learning Elders Arts Program (L.E.A.P.) at the Tracadie Community Centre this past winter, she was in for a surprise.

“I thought I was signing up for a scrapbooking class, something I had plenty of experience in,” says White,with a laugh.

Instead the class, taught by artist Cathy Krolikowski, was in mosaics – the ancient art of making beautiful pictures from squares of coloured glass. It was something the Tracadie resident knew nothing about but was willing to try.

White was also surprised when, at the first session, the teacher said, “sometimes people finish one and do another”.

“I thought to myself, ‘I’d only lucky to do one’.”

But as White started cutting the glass into tiles and arranging them into a design on a board, held together by adhesive and grout, her attitude changed.

She became motivated.

“I got into it and made not one but two pieces,” says the former CUSO volunteer showing her finished mosaics, “Roosters Crow but Hens Deliver” and “Guard Dog”.

During the creative process, White also had fun matching the vast assortment of tiles with the real-life colours of the subjects she was painting.

“I knew that the feathers of a hen get lighter at the end, so I became inspired by my own little chicken coop,” says White.

She’s one of 23 members of the Good Neighbourly Plus 50 Club who showed their work during an art exhibit and open house at the Tracadie Community Centre, 148 Station Rd., Tracadie last week.

Joan McDougall is another.

“I thoroughly loved the classes, especially watching the pieces taking shape,” says the club member holding “Riding the Wave” and “Blue Heron”.

McDougall was also surprised to find her “inner artist” during the weekly sessions.

“You never know what you can do until you try something.”

Looking back, she says, the art was secondary.

The best part was getting out in the winter and socializing; meeting new people and making new friends.

“I love the camaraderie.”

Watching participants show their completed artworks to their family and friends during the open house last week, project co-ordinator Debbie Mullen Campbell is pleased with the talent in the room.

“There are people here who are trying something for the first time and people who have a lot of creativity. And it’s awesome to see the results,” says Campbell, president of the Good Neighbourly Plus 50 Club.

Throwing her creative energy making a mosaic helped White get through a long, drawn out winter.

At the end of each session, she took her project back home, put it on a card table in the front window of her house and worked on it during snow storms or when it was too cold to go outside.

“It wasn’t a matter of finding my inner artist. I just let things happen. And now I’m proud of my work.”

Fast facts

- The Good Neighbourly Plus 50 Club in Tracadie is one of 14 clubs and organizations that sponsored L.E.A.P. projects on P.E.I. this year.

- The art classes and sessions are held during winter months when seniors are more likely to socially isolate themselves.

- Funding for the L.E.A.P. program is provided by the P.E.I. Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture under the direction of minister Jordan Brown. It is administered by the P.E.I. Senior Citizens Federation.

- For a complete list of L.E.A.P. projects and open houses, see page seven on

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