Thomas was a lifelong learner. Even after he had completed his formal education and received his PhD, he continued learning as much as he could. During his career, he went back to school a few times to enhance skills needed for his career. And, in retirement, he had taken several courses of higher learning. He also enjoyed art and creative work of all types. Recently, he signed up for a community course that was about Art Appreciation. The class was designated for seniors, so he was happy to see what people in his own age group would think about art and he thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss with others.

The class was taught by a 26-year-old photographer, who took beautiful photos, but Thomas wondered what he would learn from someone so young. He was surprised to find out that she had a lot to teach them, and she was a very good teacher. They learned about and discussed the various art periods throughout history, and she talked about how old the artists were as they were discussed. The most interested part of the class was the section about modern artists who were over 70 years old.

The first artist she shared was Jasper Johns. He was born in 1930 and is an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He focused on abstract expressionism, Neo-Dada, and pop art. Neo-Dada is very similar to what is called mixed media in today’s world and Thomas had made some mixed media pieces, so he enjoyed learning more about Jasper Johns. Johns was well known for his work with American flags and his works sell for millions of dollars.

Next, they discussed the works of Ed Ruscha who was born in 1937. He was also very involved in the pop art world, and he worked with paint, prints, drawing, photography, and he made two films. He also created several art books. Ed’s art was very focused on perspectives surrounding words that were portrayed as three-dimensional off the paper. In 2017, Leonardo DiCaprio bid $125,000 on a yet to be commissioned word art painting from Ed Ruscha. His painting of the word, “Smash,” sold for $30.4 million at auction in 2014.

Gerhard Richter was born in 1932 and was a German painter known for his diverse paintings. Most of his work is abstract in design but it gives a feeling of a photograph. Many of them have shine that makes them look realistic even though they are abstract, and all the imagery is blurred. He primarily does his work with very large squeegees layering paint over paint until he gets the desired look. His highest sold painting was also $30.4 million at auction.

Marina Abramovic was born in 1946 and many say that her best work started after she turned 40 years old. Her artform was performance art and she used her body to convey a relationship between her and her audiences. Her best-known work was in 2010 where she sat silently and still at a table in the Museum of Modern Art for 736.5 hours while a parade of strangers sat across from her. There is an HBO documentary about that show titled The Artist is Present.

And, finally we discussed Annie Leibovitz, born in 1949. One of the world’s renowned photographers who shot many magazine covers and famous people. She had her share of controversies as well.

The class was very enjoyable, and Thomas loved sharing the tidbits when I would stop by to visit his home and check to see how things were going. He told me that it was my job, as his care manager, to always make sure he had a learning environment, even when he couldn’t remember it anymore. I’ve promised him that his wishes are very important, and I will always look for appropriate options for him.

Our job as care managers is to make sure that our client’s wishes are met every step of the way. As advocates and support for them, we take this job very seriously! If you or someone in you love are facing concerns about aging well, please give us a call at 585-787-0009 or email us at to find out how we can help.