Since then, Denton has extended the curriculum she learned to others in southwest Missouri. The focus of the two classes was to bring art to communities who might not otherwise be exposed. Taking that idea to heart, Denton applied for the administrator position at the Polk County Senior Center. It was here where her heart truly soared.
Polk County Senior Center is part of SeniorAge Agency on Aging, an organization based in southwest Missouri focused on connecting people ages 60 and above with their community. Starr Kohler, CEO of SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging, took an interest in Denton’s art background and thought her training would be a great fit for the center.
The prediction proved true. In just a year’s time, Denton launched “Young at Art,” a program where participants enroll in six-week art classes before they display their work in the program’s gallery. Class topics have included sketching, pastels, watercolor, acrylic and mixed-media. After receiving positive feedback from participants about the program, Denton and Kohler applied on behalf of SeniorAge for a grant through the Musgrave Foundation. The grant helped sustain the pilot program by paying for the necessary art supplies.
Denton hopes to receive more grants in the future in order to extend accessibility to the class to others throughout southwest Missouri. For those who have participated, the opportunity to create has been instrumental in providing a positive outlet.
“I have people here in these classes that are here to learn something new,” Denton says. “It is in this setting that some can work out their own grieving, through intensity of a color or the movement of the brushstroke.”
Today Denton continues her work at the Polk County Senior Center as a volunteer. In addition to extending her programs to the rest of Southwest Missouri, she has recently been in talks with the Alzheimer’s Association and the Missouri Memory Center to see how her art-focused programs could help with memory retention.