Gallery 55+ celebrates art mostly made by people who never went to art school. What its exhibitors all have in common, beyond loving to make art, is that they are at least fifty-five years old.
The gallery lines three corridors at the U-M’s Turner Senior Resource Center, tucked between a Key Bank branch and the Islamic Center of Ann Arbor on Plymouth Road. Amid plants, chairs, and a physician’s scale, visitors can admire Fay Kleinman’s oil painting “Flowers” (priced at $300), be amused by Dee Mooney’s colored pencil drawing “Skewed Houses” (not for sale), and ponder retired U-M endocrinologist Nancy Hopwood’s photo of a Sri Lankan priest ($175).
Another physician-photographer, Bob Kelch, bought a better camera when he retired three years ago to better focus on his longtime hobby. “I’ve always felt there was a strong relationship between art and medicine,” he says. The former head of the U-M Health System, Kelch calls his transition to photography “liberating.”
Beverly Chethik, the gallery volunteer who handles marketing, is thrilled to have work by the likes of Kleinman and Kelch, not to mention famed photographer Howard Bond and painter (and Observer artist) John Copley. Still, she thoughtfully cautions, “Don’t expect it to look like the WSG Gallery,” the professional downtown collective. On the other hand, if you’re over fifty-five and inspired, she cautions again, “We’re filled up through 2014.”