Some Exciting
News to Share
Art With Elders uses the power of art, creativity, and community to enrich the journey of aging.


by Lourdes R. Pollard


AWE Senior Bridge Project

A Message from the Executive Director


Hello Jason ,


Treasured California naturalist, John Muir, declared that "Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm," an apt description of Art With Elders (AWE) this season. AWE has accomplished so much worthy of celebrating these past months; we also are nurturing a host of new hopeful sprouts that stretch out on our horizon preparing to bloom.

It’s easy to think that our grand opening at San Francisco City Hall this past February will be remembered as one of AWE’S most celebrated and pivotal moments. Capturing the energy and momentum of this special exhibit remains a focused priority. We have already added five new classes this year, most of which serve our communities’ most disenfranchised seniors. And you’ll see as you read further that we’re also adding more talent to our ranks of skilled and compassionate instructors. Mayor London Breed’s speech with such effusive praise of our work is a memory not easily lost. Who knew that her grandmother was once an AWE student many years ago at Laguna Honda Hospital? The pride and joy evident in the eyes of our students, so heartily on display that night, remains for me the single most reliable indicator of the powerful impact our program continues to have on our constituents and community. 

Add to that the great turnout honoring our Senior Bridge participants at the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Gallery. The first of three events slated to accompany the exhibit, where profoundly moving anecdotes were shared about how, in some cases, Art With Elders actually saved lives.

I’m just so proud of what we’re accomplishing and incredibly grateful for Darcie, Jason, all of our amazing instructors, our board and our generous funders. Together we really make an important difference in the lives of our students and help creatively shape a new and much more positive perception of growing old. 


There is so much more to share and celebrate in this newsletter, but as we know pictures are worth a thousand words, and since we’re in the business of making pictures, let’s now allow them to tell the rest of the story. 


Mark Campbell
Executive Director

Exhibit News

AWE Executive Director, Mark Campbell, makes opening remarks at the opening reception of the "Art With Elders: The Power of Creativity and Community" exhibit at the SFAC City Hall Gallery.

(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia)

Art With Elders: The Power of Creativity and Community​

at the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries at San Francisco City Hall

Public Exhibition: ​

Dates: Thursday, February 2nd – Friday, August 25th​

Opening Reception: was held on Thursday, February 2nd

​Location: 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102​

Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

Free and Open to the Public

Art With Elders (AWE) in partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Galleries is proud to present Art With Elders: The Power of Creativity and Community, an exhibition that showcases over 90 original paintings and drawings made by seniors participating in the AWE program from forty programming sites and community partners located throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area.​

The exhibition is organized into four groups:

  1. Artworks selected for the AWE 30th Annual Exhibit
  2. Artworks from AWE Over the Years: Works from the AWE Archive
  3. Artworks from AWE Senior Bridge Project: Mental Health and Social Connection
  4. Artworks from classes at Laguna Honda Hospital 

The Power of Creativity and Community celebrates the many artists who have participated in the program by sharing their incredible artwork and their creative voice. Each work is accompanied with a portrait of the artist and information about their life and practice.​ The exhibition will be on display on the Ground Floor and in the North Light Court and is free and open to the public. Below are photographs from the opening reception.

Opening Remarks

San Francisco Mayor,

London Breed

Opening Speech

The Power of Creativity and Community

Feb. 2, 2023

AWE Executive Director,

Mark Campbell

Opening Speech

The Power of Creativity and Community

Feb. 2, 2023

View the works in the exhibit and listen to the speeches on our website at:

At the Exhibit

At the opening of “Art With Elders: The Power of Creativity and Community” 

at the SFAC City Hall Gallery

(Photos by Minoosh Zomorodinia) 

San Francisco Mayor, London Breed; Director of Health for the City and County of San Francisco, Grant Colfax, M.D.; AWE staff; and residents and staff from Laguna Honda Hospital at the opening of the exhibit at SFAC City Hall Gallery.

(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia)

(Banner Artwork Above)

Modern Couple

by Ida Marksman

Laguna Honda Hospital

AWE at Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. artist Hilda Ibarra and friend

(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia)

AWE at Openhouse artists Kered Whitcraft and Fran Schiff

(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia) 

San Francisco Mayor Breed with AWE instructor Virginia Jourdan (right) and artists from the

Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center,

Mary Fleming and Geri Hill

San Francisco Mayor Breed with youth volunteers from Service Corps, SF, a mother and son volunteer organization serving the San Francisco community

Artists of the Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. visit the The Power of Creativity and Community exhibition at the SFAC City Hall Gallery

Artist Interviews

Artists from our Art With Elders classes were interviewed at the exhibit opening. You can watch the powerful interviews from Kim Ringle (Openhouse) and Ana Miranda (Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.) on our website.

Kim Ringle

"The stairs represent the eight stairs that I can’t get down to get out of my house. I’m locked up in an apartment building 365 days a year . . . I’m in "solitary confinement" . . . So the art program has been really important to me . . . this has helped bring me back in, and it’s helping my mental health too, making me feel better, and I’ve got more connections with the people in the class, which helps a lot . . . I just can't say enough about the good things about this program."

- Kim Ringle

Solitary Confinement

by Kim Ringle


Interview with Kim Ringle at the "Power of Creativity and Community" exhibit.

Kim discusses the meaning of her art and the importance of Art With Elders classes.

Ana Miranda

"I learned a lot, because I didn’t know that I could do (art) . . . and now, I surprised myself to see everything that I did . . . I’m so happy!"

- Ana Miranda

La Catrina

by Ana Miranda

Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.

Interview with Ana Miranda at the "Power of Creativity and Community" exhibit.

Ana discusses surprising herself with her artistic ability and the joy the Art With Elders classes bring to her life.

Recent Events

AWE Exhibitions Director, Darcie O'Brien, leading the discussion at

The Role of the Arts in Building Social Connection:

The Art With Elders Senior Bridge Project

The Role of the Arts in Building Social Connection:

The Art With Elders Senior Bridge Project

The event was held on Sat. Apr. 1, 12:00 - 2:00 pm,

San Francisco Arts Commission Main Gallery

401 Van Ness Ave. Ste. 125, San Francisco, CA 94102

Listening to our seniors and hearing their need for social connection, Art With Elders program participants discuss their experiences moving from isolation to connection by engaging in group creative practice.

At our very special April event, program artists shared heartfelt stories about how Art With Elders played an important role in connecting them to others as well as to meaningful parts of themselves. The group talked about art as a language that could transcend barriers. Many participants said our program had dramatically changed or even saved their lives!

As a part of the Senior Bridge Project, AWE polled our artists to get feedback about topics of importance in their lives. Mental Health and Social Connection rose to the top of the list. Program artists then created artwork in response to these themes. This artwork is now on display as a part of our exhibit at SF City Hall, “The Power of Creativity and Community.”

Yelena Khristich

AWE Artist

Western Park Apartments

(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia) 

Geri Hill

AWE Artist

Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center

(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia)

Kered Whitcraft

AWE Artist


(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia)

Hugh Leeman

AWE Instructor

Facilitating the discussion in English and Spanish

(Photo by Minoosh Zomorodinia)

To view video of the AWE Senior Bridge Event at SFAC Gallery and listen to the stories of our students, please visit our website:

Upcoming Public Programs with the

San Francisco Arts Commission

San Francisco Cares: Inclusivity and

Accessibility in Senior Arts Programming

Tue. May 23, 12:00 - 2:00 pm

SFAC Main Gallery 401 Van Ness Ave. Ste. 125, SF, CA 94102

Arts programming provides participants with a forum for expressing themselves while cultivating a sense of identity and belonging. San Francisco senior service providers discuss the role arts programs play in the lives of the older adults they serve, and will share their strategies to address the need for inclusivity and accessibility among marginalized older adults and people with disabilities.

SFDPH Laguna Honda Hospital: Hidden Healthcare Gem

Tue. July 11, 12:00 - 2:00 pm

SFAC Main Gallery 401 Van Ness Ave. Ste. 125, SF, CA 94102

Art With Elders reflects on its 25-year partnership with Laguna Honda Hospital which has consistently celebrated creativity in its care of San Francisco’s most vulnerable seniors. A discussion with SFDPH staff and AWE-LHH art program participants.

Upcoming Exhibit

Behind the Flowers (detail)

by Connie Manning

Rhoda Goldman Plaza

AWE Artists at Imago Gallery

Trinity St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

1668 Bush St. SF CA 94109

Opening Event - Sat. July 15, 12:30 - 2:30 pm

Welcoming our Newest Artist Instructors

Miranda Putman

Miranda was born in San Francisco. She received a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a MFA from the University of California at Davis. In addition to teaching with Art With Elders thirteen years ago, she has taught with NIAD Art Center in Richmond, CA, and Creativity Explored in San Francisco.

In 2014, she spent a summer-long residency at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM. While exploring the region, she realized that her perception of landscape was structural. This vision was reinforced by seeing the amorphous forms and strata of the mountains and desert. She often incorporates collage, drawing, and mixed media in her gestural paintings that are inspired by the geology of these areas.

Miranda is happy to return to Art With Elders. "Teaching with a holistic approach nourishes my own creativity. It is wonderful to see how the artists in my classes, many of whom are beginning to paint later in life, express their knowledge, experience, and feelings in their paintings. It is also rewarding to be a part of a community in which the artists form friendships and appreciate each other's work."

Miranda also enjoys practicing Yoga, walking in nature, visiting galleries and museums, reading, listening to jazz and classical music, and gardening.


by Miranda Putman

Acrylic and Mixed Media on Panel

48" x 36"


by Miranda Putman

Acrylic and Mixed Media on Panel

24" x 18"


Emma Fenton-Miller

Emma is a teaching artist based in Oakland, CA. She received a BA in studio art from Goshen College in 2010. She has taught art in community-based settings in the Bay Area for over 10 years including spending many years with Hospitality House’s Community Arts Program, San Francisco’s only drop-in, free-of-charge art studio.


In her own practice Emma loves to explore new materials and is currently working in a variety of mediums including ink drawing, papercut, natural pigment craft, tattoo and enameling. As a gardener and craftsperson she is continually inspired by plants, creatures, and her relationship to the natural world around her. Creating artwork is a practice of noticing and experiencing the aliveness of the world and her belonging to it. 

Attached II

by Emma Fenton-Miller

Ink on Paper

16" x 20"



by Emma Fenton-Miller


9" x 12"



Andrew Mills

"Art just makes life better."

Andrew enjoys sharing different approaches and a variety of drawing and painting techniques to the Art With Elders community, so that every student can be proud of and further develop their personal vision.

Andrew Mills received his BFA from the University of Minnesota and his MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. He has exhibited in New York, Minneapolis, Miami, San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. 

Born in Anchorage, AK, he moved around the country quite a bit growing up and has made his home in San Francisco for the past 20 years with his wife and daughter. His hobbies include reading, playing guitar, and trying to learn French.

The Morning

by Andrew Mills

Oil on Canvas

72" x 60"

Unicorn Country

by Andrew Mills

Oil on Canvas

60" x 60"

Andrew is represented by Hang Art in San Francisco:



AWE in the News

Aging Well: Finding Beauty in the Gray

The Power of Art, Creativity and Community

by Hugh Willard - a podcast interview with Mark Campbell, Executive Director of AWE

April 9, 2023

"Seniors' Artwork Lights Up Their Lives"

Article by Rowena Gonden, Bay City News Foundation

March 30, 2023

KALW Public Media - 91.7 FM Bay Area

Radio interview with AWE Executive Director, Mark Campbell, in regards to the SFAC City Hall Exhibit Power of Creativity and Community

February 1, 2023

Bay Area Reporter

Article on the Power of Creativity and Community Exhibit

February 1, 2023

Thank you to our Donors!

If you haven't already donated, please consider doing so!

Your gift makes a huge difference in the lives of our students!

Art With Elders appreciates all of our supporters. Together we are truly changing the lives of hundreds of Bay Area seniors. We strive to open hearts and minds to new worlds, new discoveries, new joys, and subsequently, fresh meaning in life.

Thanks again to all of our donors for making this work possible!

AWE Staff and Artist Instructors

Left to right: Darcie O'Brien, Mei Mei Everson, Insio Che, Virginia Jourdan, Yvette Brown, Santiago Gervasi, Veronica Rojas, Betty Rothaus, Dmitry Grudsky, Min Lee, Mark Campbell, and Sarah Dwyer. (not pictured - Hugh Leeman, Stephanie Vlahov, Dulama LeGrande, Keesje Fischer, Megan Majestic, Miranda Putman, Emma Fenton-Miller, Andrew Mills, and Jason Varner)

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