When South Philadelphia native Lannett Lester learned of the Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) upon retiring, she was enthused to participate in what the center had to offer.
One of its funders, The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), held its 10th annual senior arts celebration “Celebrate Arts and Aging” in honor of Older Americans Month in May. Lester took part in the celebration and was chosen to have her artwork on display.
In preparation for the celebration, Lester participated in the PSC workshops and classes where she was able to explore her artistic side through ceramics and other activities.
Her interest in ceramics began at a young age but after going to college and working full-time, she had fewer opportunities to focus on ceramics—until she joined the senior center.
“I had worked for 32 years for the school district and when I retired I knew I had to do something, so I went to the senior center,” she said. “I am having a ball there—it is the best move I could’ve made.”
Lester was born and raised in South Philadelphia and has been living in the same home since 1957. Ever since she was a child, she loved paper dolls and clothing. She joined the Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) main branch, located at 509 South Broad St. and began making ceramic blouses in the ceramics classes offered there.
This is how she developed her idea for her main piece “Special Dress,” which she made for the celebration.
“I didn’t have a dress in mind I just wanted to add my special touch—that’s why I call it ‘Special Dress,’” she said. “I just don’t go with the norm.”
Lester’s dress incorporated one of her favorite colors, yellow with the addition of blue beads and other intricate designs.
The artwork took her roughly two weeks to complete and is now displayed at the PSC main branch.
This year’s celebration featured 183 artworks and the work is displayed throughout the city. In addition to the PSC main branch, the artwork is also displayed at the Center on the Hill located at 8855 Germantown Ave.
Independence Visitor Center located at 1 Independence Mall West and the Klein JCC located at 10100 Jamison Ave.
PCA aims to create opportunities for seniors to stay active and participate in many arts and culture activities, including trips to museums, the theater and concerts.
Lester enjoys her ceramics class and other activities the PSC and PCA has to offer. She believes it is a great place for seniors to go.
“When you get older you need to be surrounded by people, you don’t need to just be sitting in your house,” she said. “We have a ball in that class—we don’t want to leave.”