Learning To See One Another: For MLK Weekend, Youville Residents Collaborate with Art Students from Fletcher Maynard Academy

Fourth grade art students from the Fletcher Maynard Academy in Cambridge visited Youville House on Wednesday, January 7th, to collaborate with residents on an intergenerational art project to benefit the upcoming Many Helping Hands/MLK Day of Service. The students and residents spent the morning socializing, sharing snacks, and making contour drawing portraits of one another. 

A contour drawing focuses exclusively on the outlines of a subject, ignoring elements like shading, value and color. Contour drawing exercises provide art students with a useful first impression of a subject. Normally used as a means of introducing students to the skill of drawing from real life, the contour drawing exercise at Youville House served the additional purpose of introducing younger and older generations to one another.

According to Lisa Yarin, Director of Marketing at Youville House, “Many children these days do not have exposure to older adults, other than their teachers and parents. Likewise, our residents don’t often have the opportunity to meet young children in the community. Both the older and younger generations have much to gain and learn from interacting with one another in this context.”

The fourth graders were particularly impressed by some of the Youville residents’ artistic skills. Natalie Eisen, a Youville resident who has been drawing for much of her life, amazed the children with the accuracy of her depictions. Meanwhile, the Youville residents took pleasure in the energy and curiosity of the children.

The portraits produced by students and residents were later exhibited at Cambridge City Hall during the city-wide Many Helping Hands/MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 19th.  Youville resident Natalie Eisen met with students from the Fletcher Maynard Academy so they could view the exhibit and take pride in the fruits of their labor. Click here to see a gallery of photos and drawings