UCO students forge relationships through art at Edmond Senior Center

University of Central Oklahoma art students have been assisting seniors at the Edmond Senior Center with an ongoing art project.
BY MATT PATTERSON mpatterson@opubco.com Modified: April 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm •  Published: April 20, 2013

As he paints in the art room at the Edmond Senior Center, John Lawton isn't shy about using every color he can think of, something he said reflects his own life's journey.

Lawton, 82, is painting a story box as part of a project in conjunction with University of Central Oklahoma art students. The students interview the participants about their lives and then help them turn the answers to those questions into a decorated box that will hold items significant in their life journeys.

“Every color in the rainbow is there. It's menagerie of a life that has been lived for 82 years, and no color is left out,” Lawton said.

The idea for the classes came from UCO art instructor Joana Hyatt, who wanted her students to do a project involving the community.

“We talked about what's important to them, whether it be a particular place and time that was meaningful or a special hobby,” Hyatt said. “Everyone has a story to tell, and this is a creative and fun way to do it.”

The benefits go beyond time well spent and a nice piece of art as a souvenir. UCO senior Amy Griffin has worked with Lawton on his story box but said getting to know him has been the best part.

“His mind is so alive, and he thinks about things that are expansive that I don't tend to think about,” Griffin said. “He's just an interesting person.”

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