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Piece by Piece: Connection through Collage

Earlier this year, nine individuals from four different CommonBond housing communities participated in a class called Collage! From Scraps to Works of ART led by teaching artist Lynda Monick-Isenberg as part of our Arts and Aging programs. The class took place over the course of eight weeks through Zoom. Participants worked with the artform of collage, using reassembled new-found materials to create expressive and surprising pieces that tied into personal themes, visual storytelling, color, design, and more.

Collage provides a unique avenue for participants to open their minds and look at the world in new ways. Lynda says, “I was blown away by how thoughtful, deep, conscientious, and caring our participants were. The collage artform allowed them to make statements and hear one another in a way that was really stunning.” It’s also especially accessible and personal because many of the materials can be one’s own photos, found papers, and more.

The artform of collage also provided opportunities for participants to get to know themselves better as artists and people. “It was this way of opening up their arts experience to their lived experience,” Lynda explains. In addition to enhancing their own artistic abilities, participants were also able to build community with one another. “We got to meet people from other buildings and see some of their work, which we normally wouldn’t do,” says Nancy, resident at Boulevard Gardens. “We all get excited about the classes when they are coming up.”

Lynda says that classes were filled with laughter, humor, and fun. This particular class also had a collaborative postcard element where participants would send their work to others in the class, providing an added connection. Dianne, resident at Bassett Creek Commons, expresses that these classes have enhanced her life and provided both a confidence to try new things and a sense of satisfaction in a job well done. “I will send my family or friends a picture of what I did, and so it extends the community too, so I can talk to my family about the piece I did and how I feel about it.” This is yet another example of how these classes have a life of their own and are a gift that keeps giving.

The Arts and Aging program enables residents to access high-quality art classes, with experienced instructors and art materials at no cost. Nancy says, “For many of us, we wouldn’t be able to afford to do this otherwise.” Dianne adds. “I was thrilled when I learned this was being offered, and I couldn’t believe that it was being offered free of charge to those of us who lived here.”

Classes through CommonBond’s Arts and Aging program provide opportunity for building skills, enhancing confidence, and making connections. Lynda says, “The art making experience respects each individual and that community and creates and releases those vibrant connections.” In this instance, the art of collage was a unique offering that allowed artists to open their minds in new ways and make deep connections with others in the process.

Visit the Arts and Aging web page to see participants' work and learn and see more from recent classes.

Thank you to Lynda Monick-Isenberg for teaching this class and providing a fulfilling and respectful environment for participants to grow as artists and people.

Lynda is a Minneapolis-based visual artist and educator and has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally and installed large-scale tapestry commissions nationwide. Her work is collected by private collectors and is included in the collections of the Minnesota History Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Weisman Art Museum.

Her practice includes consultancy and program development, teaching artist training and mentoring with COMPAS, Perpich Center for Arts Education, Minnesota State Arts Board, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, Lifetime Arts, CommonBond Communities, Engage Midwest, Catholic Charities and many Minnesota school districts. Learn more and check out her work at


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