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Seasoned Artists Exhibit Viewed at Marymount


Seasoned Artists Exhibit at Marymount

Allen Hart, left, and Bernard Bloom, right, met at a nursing home in Hasting-on-Hudson, NY.
Allen Hart was director of the Children's Aid Society's visual arts program in Greenwich Village for 25 years.

Photos by Chris Taggart

As a young enlisted soldier stationed in South Carolina and Florida during the 1940s, Bernard Bloom would often pass the time by drawing and painting on the envelopes of letters he was sending to his future wife. More than 60 years later, their love affair has stood the test of time and so too has his love for art. Bloom's work, along with that of another seasoned artist, Allen Hart, was on display in June as part of a special exhibition at Marymount College of Fordham University.

The exhibition, “Seasoned Artists: A New Province,” a collection of paintings, drawings and photographs by Bloom, 83, and Hart, 79, demonstrated the ageless joys and benefits that art has in the lives of senior citizens.

“For many people, advanced age presents hurdles to normal day-to-day tasks that often are taken for granted, but artwork helps to build a sense of accomplishment that translates into heightened self-esteem and self-confidence for people of any age,” said Jane Edwards, D.S.W., assistant dean of Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service. “These two octogenarians are an inspiring testimony to the agelessness of creativity, and their works captivate the viewer.”

A series of hand-painted envelopes that carried love letters to Bloom's wife, Pearl, are the highlight of his collection of paintings and photographs. Bloom said his wife has been his inspiration and has always supported his passion to paint; when they were young she often would help hide his art supplies from his disapproving father.

“Art has been a central part of my life, as most of my experiences with the world around me have eventually been reflected in my art work,” said Bloom. “And in the same way that it is my connection to the world, it is also a temporary respite from all that is going on.”

Hart's oil-on-canvas paintings and mixed media on paper and wood pieces have been featured in more than 45 exhibitions throughout his career and are in several permanent collections, including one at the University of Massachusetts. During his time as the director of the visual arts program at the Children's Aid Society in New York City, he taught children and adults how to foster their creative talents. It is a process, he said, that keeps him young at heart.

“Art defies age. It is something that is as true today as it was during my youth,” said Hart. “The fact that I am getting older is irrelevant to the satisfaction I get from creating something or teaching a young person how to paint.”

“Seasoned Artists” was sponsored by Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service and its Ravazzin Center for Social Work Research on Aging.

— Michael Larkin

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