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With age 75 rapidly approaching, I told my doctor that I was looking for something to exercise my mind and find a new horizon. I just didn't want to become old.

After much thought, I told my doctor I had decided to become an artist. I had never drawn anything or taken art classes, but it still seemed like a good idea. Coincidentally, while researching the subject, I received a brochure from the St. Helena campus of Napa Valley College in the mail. I almost discarded it, but then started perusing it and came across a variety of art classes – for free. They didn't say anything about prior experience and so I found my new horizon.

Since I am not driving any more, I looked at the “Ride the Vine” bus schedule and discovered I could ride from Napa to St. Helena. Also, there was an easy connection with the St. Helena “Shuttle” to take me directly to the NVC campus.

The class I selected last August meets weekly and is taught by Theo Becker, an excellent artist herself, but most important to me was that she took me on as a beginner and said "just start painting and I'll look over your shoulder with advice."

Now, some four months later and with 10-plus acrylic paintings completed, even my doctor is astounded at what I am accomplishing, including exercising my mind, researching my subjects using Google and getting helpful, patient advice from the others in my class. My doctor intends to suggest my idea to other patients. I look forward to the weekly classes and even I can see progress. And I am smiling more than ever.

My point to others in the Napa Valley is that they too can gain much from the classes at the St. Helena campus of Napa Valley College. I hope you can join us. And no longer am I growing old.

Thank you NVC in St. Helena.

Grayson Gibbs