Program for seniors celebrates arts and aging

At the Rotunda in West Philadelphia, "Celebrate Age and Aging," festivities included an art exhibit and performance by the CSS Star Harbor Senior Citizen drama troupe. Here, Janice Brown, left, and Marisol Ramos Allen peruse the artwork. (April Saul / Staff Photographer)

Mary Lowenthal Ferrer, has held many titles in her 86 years: actress on Broadway and in Hollywood, writer and public relations specialist. But the one title she has held since childhood is artist.

Ferrer, a retiree who lives in Northeast Philadelphia, was among more than 50 senior artists at a reception and art exhibit Tuesday at the Rotunda at 40th and Market Street to honor senior artists.

The reception is part of the 8th annual Celebrate Arts and Aging festivities hosted by Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. It featured works by about 40 artists and a skit performed senior actors. The program marks May as Older Americans Month, said Joan Zerimba, a spokesman for PCA.

One of Ferrer's paintings was featured at the reception, "a narrative abstract," depicting the Exodus of the Israelites. Ferrer said that painting was one constant in her long life.

"I do too many things. I write, I act, I sing and I paint," said Ferrer. She added that she has enjoyed having her art showcased with works by other senior citizens.

"It pays to get old," Ferrer said. "If only for the reason that people treat you with a lot more respect. People appreciating our art really makes you feel good. I will be walking on air for days.

Zerimba said the program has grown over the years to feature about 100 artists. She said the program "inspires people and lets them see that seniors are creative and are productive members of society."