When Alexis Magnano was 12 years old, she began to notice an unfulfilled need in the Ponte Vedra community. She felt that senior citizens are often overlooked, and she felt within her heart a need to tackle this issue and create a change within the community.
Accompanied by her older brother Chase, Magnano began creating art lessons and projects to share with residents of local nursing homes and retirement communities. Now at age 16, Magnano has expanded her project and has begun including her fellow Ponte Vedra High School students to further serve the elderly community of Ponte Vedra through art.
“Before the pandemic, we would go into nursing homes as often as we could and teach the residents art history lessons,” Magnano stated. “We would create art projects based on the lessons to do with the residents,” she said, explaining that despite the pandemic, she is still carrying out these activities but has began conducting the lessons over Zoom for the safety of the residents.
Although Magnano and her brother started this project alone, Magnano has been working to expand her network to further her services to the elderly community. Over the summer, accompanied by a few of her friends, Magnano created a community service-based art camp in which she and her fellow campers painted pictures to gift to the residents. Now that school is back in session, Magnano has decided to start a club at PVHS called Smart Art so that she will be able to continue her art program on a larger scale.
“Alexis has been working hard to start the Smart Art club and is now recruiting other students to join her,” said Elizabeth Paul, Magnano’s mother. “They have also reached out to another nursing home in Jacksonville to share the art program with the residents,” Paul went on, explaining that this is a way to keep residents engaged even when they are locked inside during the pandemic.
“I’ve found that the elderly are a group that are often not focused on by teens,” Magnano said, explaining her love for helping the elderly through art. “A lot of them have a passion for art, and this is a way for them to express that,” said Magnano, explaining that she applies her knowledge from her AP art history classes to share art projects with the nursing home residents.
Although the elderly community is often overlooked by everyone else, Magnano has made it her mission to change this and share her love of art with the Ponte Vedra community. Through her Smart Art club, she is starting a revolution and is confident that she will continue to see her services grow to create a much needed impact for the benefit of senior citizens.