Exhibition celebrates 40 years of the Madison Senior Center

In celebration of the Madison Senior Center’s 40th Anniversary we are pleased to present the exhibition, “Our Madison: Aging Vibrantly” which includes the work of artists Yusuf Bin-Rella, Jerry Butler, Amos Kennedy, Hedi Rudd, Phil Salamone, and Babette Wainwright. All works in the exhibition are either created by prominent senior artists or are portraying Madison seniors living full, healthy lives. The exhibition opens tonight, September 21, 2023 and will remain up until the end of December.

Nick Pjevach, chair of the Madison Arts Commission, says, “It is so exciting to highlight the talents of our creative community with this special exhibition.” He went on to say, “may this artwork, by older artists, or featuring seniors, be the perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of this important community space.”

Yusuf Bin-Rella is a local chef, farmer, and artist. His non-profit, TradeRoots Culinary Collective connects people with land, each other, and their roots. Over the last year, he has been catering for a group of men that meets monthly to explore self-care, mental health, and communal growth. Out of that experience he has been inspired to explore how AI can aid those with cognitive decline in expressing their thoughts, and how it can stimulate cognitive activity and inspire discussion. For this exhibition he created illustrations of BiPOC people producing their own healthy food and enjoying their lives to the fullest.

Beloved local artist and arts educator, Jerry Butler, now in his mid-70’s, is enjoying a thriving arts career. Butler received a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from UW Madison, taught art for MMSD for many years before becoming the Associate Dean of Madison Technical College. He has completed commissions and public art works in many states, and is widely collected. The works he loaned to the City for this exhibition are centered on his grandmother, a woman he loved and admired, as she sowed the seeds of art and creativity into his DNA. Butler has work on loan in various galleries at the moment but his next major exhibition, for which he is creating a new series, will be at the James Watrous Gallery in the Overture Center in summer of 2025.

Amos Kennedy, finished his MFA here in Madison in 1997, but now in his mid 70’s he lives and works in Detroit, Michigan. Calling himself a printmaker, Kennedy, whose posters now grace the walls of the Madison Senior Center, is best known for the social and political commentary in his work. He has been kind to the City where he studied under the legendary book designer Walter Hamady. He has returned many times to participate in the Wisconsin Book Festival, through The Madison Public Library’s Bubbler he worked with youth to create a mural behind the Hawthorne library for mural alley. He has also graciously loaned his images to the City for exhibition in the Municipal Building, and now the Madison Senior Center.

Philip Salamone is a classically trained portrait painter, who studied at the Grand Central Atelier in New York. He teaches at Madison College as well as maintaining his own studio and offering workshops and classes at his school, Atwood Atelier. For this exhibition he included 20 paintings he has made of Madisonians over 50 that he has invited to sit for their portraits.

Hedi Lamarr Rudd is a community leader and storyteller. As a journalistic photographer she has been documenting countless Madison community events over the last decades. She is utterly devoted to creating racial justice and as a photographer she has documented many moments of joy and community history. In this exhibition of her work she presents photos of elders she encountered and worked with at many community events in Madison.

Babettte Wainwright has lived, worked, and raised her family in Madison for 40 years. She is an internationally exhibited sculptor whose work relates to both her Haitian and African roots. She received her MFA in ceramics at UW Madison in 2000. She has won multiple awards for her ceramic sculpture and you can find her work in various collections around the world.

The Madison Arts Commission invites you to visit the Madison Senior Center during working hours, Monday - Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, to enjoy the works on loan by these phenomenal local artists. The Madison Arts Commission’s mission is to foster arts appreciation by initiating partnerships, developing new audiences, and sponsoring diverse artistic activities by emerging and established artists and arts organizations while preserving Madison's rich artistic tradition.