Confined to Quarters

Shelly Belzer

02 VendorIn normal times, the OLLI Shutterbugs range over the state, the country and even the world to take pictures. Staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic has made us look at what’s right around us for good subjects.

Rich Edwards was probably the most adventurous, traveling to a goat farm in May and then to the Blairsville farmer’s market in Georgia in July for these shots of a vendor and honey in sunlight, as irresistible to a photographer as to a honey lover. Gail Parsons, master naturalist, shot the pictures of a yellow-sided skimmer and a black swallowtail butterfly getting ready to drink nectar from a thistle at Lake Dan Preserve in northwestern Hillsborough County.   (More…)

National Poetry Month – Final Edition

Poetry is everywhere.  All around us.  But it’s shy, elusive, and difficult to see. Unless you’re a poet.  And they don’t find it easily.  They break a sweat, seeing the half seen beauty around them.  And capturing it for the rest of us with their clever words, sometimes tricking us into thinking that we had seen it all along.  This is our final collection of poems for National Poetry Month this year.  Read them with fierce attention, the way they were written.  (More…)

More Than Meets the Eye II

We introduced you to Blended Learning in Monday’s issue.  Here is a reminder of what our project entailed, followed by some of the artwork it used and the poetry it generated.

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Eighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”  (More…)

More Than Meets the Eye

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Vermeer Art of Painting via WikiEighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”

Some background: The National Resource Center (NRC) for Osher Institutes invited OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern to develop and present this first-of-its-kind blended learning, joint course. Participants in the course investigated different ways to look at art, including art made in response to art.  (More…)

Community of Readers & Writers

[Most of our posts allow you to just sit back, read and enjoy.  This one highlights one of our newest SIGs and invites your active participation.]

Liesse Chable

In the New York Times online, you can find the rules for a past amateur essay contest. The challenge – to tell a short, powerful, true story. You may be used to calling this type of story a memoir, but the shorter version is often referred to now as a personal narrative essay, something with a beginning, middle and end.

For our group’s training purposes, I selected three different examples that I thought would generate challenging feedback. You can read them  (More…)

James Museum

Shelly Belzer

A boyhood love of cowboy movies isn’t unusual, but Tom James, now chairman emeritus of Raymond James Financial, turned his love into a lifetime of art collecting and then founded a museum to house part of the collection that he and his wife, Mary, have amassed.  The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg opened in April 2018, holding 400 paintings and sculptures, a bit more than 10 percent of the James collection. (Most of the rest of the collection fills the Raymond James corporate headquarters.)  Word about the museum got around, and one day in August the OLLI Shutterbugs went to see for themselves.  (More…)

No Fleas in Sight

OLLI Shutterbugs

The Indie Flea Market, a classy event with an ironic name, seems to draw all the beautiful young people in Tampa to the Armature Works every third Sunday of the month. So the OLLI Shutterbugs went to check it out in May.

Dozens of friendly, mostly young, artisan sellers of handmade clothes and jewelry, soaps, plants, greeting cards, cookies, gelato and other wares stood and sat at rows of stalls, some of them unable to keep from dancing to the pervasive beat of piped-in music. They were well outnumbered by the even younger, upbeat crowd, with the occasional baby and dog, that filled the aisles. You have to love crowds to come here, and for photographers who like to take candid shots of people, what better way to spend a summery afternoon? And, of course, it’s air-conditioned. (More…)

Political Discussion at OLLI

Unlike Congress and much of the media, OLLI members can discuss politics without losing their tempers.  Classes on contemporary politics as well as P-SIG, our Politics Shared Interest Group (SIG) offer us lots of opportunities to listen, to think, to learn, to discuss, and to enlarge our political views.

Let’s drop in for a few moments on a P-SIG meeting and discussion that took place just before the 2018 congressional elections.  (More…)

A Day at the Races

Shelly Belzer

When the OLLI Shutterbugs SIG gathered for a photo outing at Tampa Bay Downs on a bright December day, we dug into our memories for what this reminded us of.

Rich Edwards talked about growing up within sound of Roosevelt Raceway, the former harness racing track in Westbury, Long Island. He would fall asleep to the voice of the announcer calling the races. The track, he related, began as Roosevelt Field, famous for  Charles Lindbergh’s takeoff on his nonstop flight to Paris in 1927. In the end it became Westbury Plaza, a shopping mall. (More…)

Opa! Greek Festival

Shelly Belzer

When my wife, Jane, and I went on a cruise to the Greek Isles in 2016, a folkloric troupe from Crete came aboard ship and performed the elegant, vigorous dances of their island in traditional costume. We were right back there — similar dances, similar costumes — on Saturday night, November 10, when the OLLI Shutterbugs visited the Opa! Tampa Greek Festival at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Hyde Park Village. (More…)