Teaching Exchange at Bowers Museum

Anne Shih, Chairwoman of the Board at Bowers Museum of Cultural Arts, invited nine instructors from the Hsi Lai Senior Program for a teaching exchange. On May 12th, President Echo Cai and former President Yuanmei Ma led the group into Orange County—destination, Bowers Art Museum! Baoqin Zhu, former supervisor of the BLIA Los Angeles Chapter and a volunteer at the museum, showed up to help, too.

Chairwoman Shih has supported and valued the well-being of seniors for quite some time. Seven years ago, she created and funded Anne's Treasures at the museum—a very special arts program for seniors over the age of 62 to experience hands-on art and music workshops, attend lectures and gallery tours, and to provide seniors opportunities to connect, communicate, exchange ideas and learn from one another. Every 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month, unique workshops transpire at the museum for the young at heart—the seniors!

A few years ago, Ms. Shih gave a talk to seniors who attended a Hsi Lai Senior Program event. She was so pleased to see Hsi Lai Temple was, also, offering valuable programs to seniors—promoting their learning and growth—that eventually it led her to invite the instructors of the Hsi Lai Senior Program to the Bowers Art Museum for a teaching exchange.

The Hsi Lai Senior Program, established six years ago, offers enjoyable classes designed to stimulate seniors’ hand-brain coordination and highlight practicing Buddhism in daily life. After the teaching exchange between Bowers Museum and the Hsi Lai Senior Program, both sides found new inspiration to enhance their curriculum design and development.

“Seeing the happy smiles on the faces of the seniors is the motivation for me to continue teaching,'' shared Genevieve Barrios-Southgate, Director of Community Programs at Bowers Museum. “I have gained immense joy and confidence from them. I hope to visit Hsi Lai Temple for a teaching exchange after the in-person senior courses restart.”

Yanqing Huang and Yimei Chen said that doing handicrafts made them feel relaxed and happy. In the past, they have assisted students; however, this time they experienced the JOY of learning.