Entering the season of Christmas or Easter, it may be difficult to get in the holiday spirit, especially since everyone is so busy. However, by realizing how much you really have compared to others, you may momentarily forget about your troubles and give of yourself to better the world and the lives of people. One way of doing this is by being a part of “Artists for Others,” where you always “get more in return than you give.”
“Artists for Others” is a Jesuit club whose goal is to brighten the lives of the elderly in nursing homes. Originally, the creator, theology teacher Mrs. Sally Metzger, had been the moderator of the “Juggling Club.” Looking for a way to have talented Jesuit students go out and entertain, the basis for “Artists for Others” was formed. “I knew that there must be other people at Jesuit who had unusual talents, like magicians, clowns, and maybe even fire-eaters,” recounted Mrs. Metzger, “who might want to entertain in hospitals or nursing homes.” In recent years, “Artists for Others” has performed unique presentations like dressing up as clowns, where members would apply clown makeup and extravagant clothing. According to Mrs. Metzger, “We found that clowns are less inhibited. You put on the makeup and no matter how shy you are, you are right out there making friends, shaking hands, and giving hugs.”
A great thing about being in “Artists of Others” is how accessible it is to students with busy schedules. “You really don’t have to belong because everyone’s invited,” Mrs. Metzger eagerly explained, “and you’ll hear an announcement over the PA saying, ‘jugglers, magicians, and anybody who has some entertainment they can share, please join us.’” With events only lasting an hour or less, there is very little time commitment, but at the same time it is very rewarding.
Towards the end of the Easter season, “Artists for Others” planned their annual event, which took place at Parsons House Preston Hollow, a nearby nursing home, on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Describing the performances, Mrs. Metzger highlighted many unique acts that had also been performed in previous appearances at nursing homes, such as therapy dogs, pianist and science teacher Mr. Max von Schlehenried, and juggler and Spanish teacher Mr. Seth Waits.” Whether it was a presentation by Jamie King ’11and his dog or a performance by Ivan Gan ’13, who enjoyed, “playing classical music to elderly people,” one was sure that it was a delightful experience. Encouraging students to step up and join in the merriment, Mrs. Metzger appreciates any student’s talents, exclaiming, “Anything someone thinks they can contribute would be great.”
Particularly at the end of the year, students are frantically searching for any service credits to reach their minimum requirements. However, Mrs. Metzger has noticed something very peculiar and pleasantly surprising about the members of “Artists for Others”: they have never asked for service credits for what they have done. “People just want to do something for the elderly, so it has been a real spontaneous kind of thing,” explains Mrs. Metzger. She believes the best part about “Artists for Others” is, “just helping people be happy and really finding the true meaning of Christmas or Easter.” Unable to stress the pleasure of “Artists for Others” enough, Mrs. Metzger contentedly noted, “It’s a very minimal time commitment for tons of joy.”