Art class connects local seniors


Zionsville resident Shirley Luttrell may be retired, but that hasn’t stopped her from sharing her love for art with the community.

Eleven years ago, Luttrell – a retired art teacher — decided to start teaching watercolors to local senior citizens. Boone County Senior Services offered a space for her to teach weekly classes at American Legion in Zionsville on Tuesdays, as well as at their office in Lebanon on Thursdays. Both classes run from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Luttrell’s all-inclusive teaching style and encouragement have not only kept students coming back, but also continues to draw new people in. Luttrell has had some students coming to her class for as long as 10 years, and others for as little as three weeks.

“I don’t think I’d (teach the class) if it wasn’t for the people,” Luttrell said.

Jenni Smith of Zionsville has been attending Luttrell’s classes for 10 years. She said she appreciates the class because it provides an encouraging environment where she can be intentional about painting.

“(Luttrell) will never find fault with your work, and she always encourages you,” Smith said. “She makes you feel it’s all worthwhile.”

Each week, Luttrell gives students a new project. At the most recent class, the assignment was to recreate a painting of a cow. Luttrell gave individual feedback to students along the way, stopping intermittently to give tips on proper technique. She also encouraged students to name their cow when they were done.

“I love Shirley, she is an excellent teacher,” said Patricia Marchino of Zionsville, who named her cow ‘Wild Thing’. “She reinforces good technique, and never puts anyone down.”

While Luttrell mainly teaches watercolor in her classes, she works with students at beginner and intermediate levels that utilize any medium. The cost is $5 per class and is mainly oriented to senior-aged students, but people of other ages aren’t discouraged from attending.

For more on the classes, visit