Rahway seniors shine at the 19th annual Senior Art Show

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

RAHWAY, NJ — The 19th annual Senior Art Show recently had its opening reception at the Rahway Senior Center. Artworks included watercolor, charcoal, colored pencil, pastels, acrylics and oil.
Mayor Raymond Giacobbe Jr. and Fifth Ward Councilmember Danielle Newbury were in attendance.

“We’re extremely impressed with these wonderfully talented seniors,” Giacobbe said. “Rahway prides itself in the arts. The energy is uplifting and awesome.”

“We’re here to celebrate artists, give classes at the senior center, all get together and create art,” said Ellen Staunton, supervisor of the Senior Center. “Once a year we celebrate.”

Art teacher Laura Brown added, “We offer drawing, watercolor, oil, acrylic, mixed classes … We are open to everyone. Anybody can come.”

Ann Quigley is a 102-year-old artist living in Rahway. Her daughter, Joanne Hess, said, “She never missed a class.”
“She never misses anything!” Giacobbe said.

“She’s an inspiration to everybody. She never stops,” added Hess. “She can’t wait to get here!”

Quigley grew up in the Clinton Hill section of Newark. “When I was a little kid, my father painted the apartment once a year,” she said. “I wanted to take the brush out of his hand.”

“Art is her favorite thing,” Hess said. “She’s always been an artist for recreation.”

Due to Quigley’s declining vision, Hess said she can’t paint the way she used to, but she’s “still at it.”

Charlotte Jackson, of Rahway, had no background in art, but decided she wanted to try quilting. She favors the colors blue and green. She would like to continue, on a larger scale in the future — perhaps making a queen size blanket or a jacket.

Jackson’s instructor, Sharon Young, said, “They (the class) work at their own pace. Step by step, it’s doable; super simple. You can make anything. You have to make classes fun — we joke!”

Cynthia Minter, of Rahway, said she takes classes at the senior center every day. “Quilt, knitting, cross stitch, crochet … I took a class in Spanish. It keeps me busy,” she said. “My daughter says, ‘I can’t keep up with you.’”

Rhoda Dorrbecker, 73, of Rahway, makes blankets which are donated to various charities. “I like to crochet,” she said. “I like to know I’m helping somebody.” Her favorite color is white and she said she can’t make anything without white.

Watercolor artist Tina Paonessa, of Rahway, said she gets inspiration from the PBS series “All Creatures Great and Small.” She’ll take a photo from the television screen and paint it. She said she’s been an artist for a couple years. In the past, she’s done crochet and crafts, but never painted before.

“It’s fun. I love it,” she said. “I’m surprised you learn so much from each other. We’re so blessed the town supports us. The mayor is good to our senior citizens.”

Joanne O’Brien is a 68-year-old retired nurse. She’s been riding a Harley for the past 20 years. Since she could only ride when the weather was good, she decided to start painting at the senior center to give her something to do in the winter. She’s been painting at the senior center since last September. She takes photos on her motorcycle and then paints a picture.

During the reception, Angel Munoz-Avila played harp selections, including a delicate version of “Hey Jude,” by the Beatles.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta