Painting with Griot Circle

This spring, older adults in Brooklyn immersed themselves in art through a Still Life Painting workshop we offered in partnership with with Griot Circle, an organization that provides programs and services to LGBTQ+ elders of color. The eight-week program included two visits to Brooklyn art galleries, and six weeks of creative exploration using acrylic paints to depict fruits, vegetables, and household items. Each week the sessions required participants to add to the complexity of their work, incorporating light, shadow, texture and dimension to their pieces.

Susan Newmark, the artist who leads the program, says it has been a joy to continue to work with Griot Circle. “The people who attend the class have a real appreciation for art and many are artists in their own rite,” she says. Some are painters, photographers, and woodworkers and continue to hone their craft year-round. The painting classes took place online, as Griot Circle’s  center remains closed due to the pandemic. Susan hopes to have opportunities to meet in person in the near future.

Sandy, who attended this year’s art workshop said she joined the class to improve her art skills. “I love drawing portraits of people but working with still life has always been a challenge for me,” she says. “I really enjoyed the class, especially discovering different ways to mix the paints to create different colors. I also enjoyed looking at my classmates’ work and learning from them.” 

Special thanks for volunteer Safiya Raheem who assisted with this program.

Teachers & Writers Collaborative offers a number of programs in partnership with organizations serving older adults. To learn more about their Creative Aging programs, visit For more information on programs with Griot Circle, please visit

The paintings below were made by Sandra (Sandy) Hines during the program.

Still Life by Sandra Hines

Brush & Towel Still Life by Sandra Hines

Pepper Still Life by Sandra Hines