Independent Living Resident Starts Art Class for All Skill Levels

“I’m an artist since the day I was born,” says Natalie Schwartz.

Late in 2022, the St. John’s Meadows resident approached Social Recreation Manager Kim Bidleman with the idea of starting a drawing class that Schwartz— a lifelong artist with a master’s degree in fine art—would teach. According to Bidleman, the preparations for the class would start that very day.

As a teenager Schwartz won a high school art competition at Rochester Institute of Techonology, where she earned an Associate’s Degree in three years. As a professional artist, she produced illustrations seen in advertising and catalogs for at least two iconic Rochester-based department stores. “After exploring the commercial art field,” Schwartz explains, “I worked for a fashion illustrator for McCurdy & Co. and B. Forman & Co. At the same time, I opened an office/studio called the Art Workshop.” There, Schwartz sold fine art and artifacts and offered commercial art expertise. Additionally, she illustrated the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Fanfare, a cookbook that featured recipes of musicians from the orchestra.

Schwartz has taken and taught art classes all throughout her life. She spent summers in her formative years studying at Syracuse University and other camps in the Adirondacks. She eventually earned her Bachelors and Masters of Fine Art from R.I.T. and taught at Brandeis University, among other classrooms and studios. At. St. John’s Meadows, Schwartz’s classes began in February 2023 and have been popular with independent living residents of all skill levels.

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