Kari Merkl, interior design faculty, exhibits two pieces from her Merkled furniture collection at the Museum of Contemporary Craft through January 2015.
Excerpt from an article by Katy Muldoon in The Oregonian, February 11, 2011.
When she first looked, Amy Henderson noticed two varieties of retired life. One left a pit in her stomach.
Frequently visiting a friend in a retirement home -- someone who'd lived through two world wars, the civil rights and women's movements, and who'd earned a masters degree at 60 -- Henderson noticed how the old woman's life had withered to a series of uneventful days in an unstimulating environment. Few cared to hear her stories. In our youth-fueled culture, Henderson remembers thinking, her friend had grown invisible.
Yet, in other retirement communities, Henderson noticed life blooming. She met elderly residents discovering new skills, tapping veins of creativity they didn't know coursed through them. They funneled lifetimes of experience and knowledge through camera lenses, into clay, onto canvas. Art surrounded them, filled their days and connected them to like-minded souls.
Henderson's idea for The Geezer Gallery sparked there and then.
In 2005, as she worked toward a master's degree with a focus in gerontology at Marylhurst University, Henderson designed a nonprofit and gave birth to The Geezer Gallery.
Though she planned for bricks-and-mortar and online showcases, the gallery's first goals involved establishing art programs -- from workshops to art therapy -- in senior communities.