Iowa City Senior Center partners with Raygun to prepare for art exhibition

The local senior center is collaborating with Raygun and will host an art exhibition to raise funds to celebrate National Senior Center Month.


Raquele Decker

Raygun pictured on September 12, 2019 in Downtown Iowa City.

Mitchell Griffin, News Reporter

In the spirit of celebrating life, the Iowa City Senior Center is collaborating with the popular Iowa shop Raygun to raise money for National Senior Center Month with a full slate of scheduled events. 

Members are able to enjoy their many free activities, such as a workout center, dance studio, lunches, and classes on subjects such as the CIA and introducing Buddhism, said LaTasha DeLoach, the Iowa City Senior Center coordinator. 

“We don’t play bingo,” she joked. 

The organization’s partnership with Raygun has also created T-shirts that will help raise the needed Senior Center funds. Ten percent of funds will be given to Friends of the Center, a sister organization that handles any financial operations.

“It just makes sense,” DeLoach said. “Everyone’s into T-shirts.” 

The shirts ask, “Is this heaven?” and answer “No, it’s retirement.” 

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Currently sold online, T-shirts will hopefully be available at Raygun within the next week, the Iowa City Raygun’s Creative Director Jennifer Leatherby said. The Senior Center brainstormed the T-shirt ideas and approached Raygun with those ideas, Leatherby said, and Raygun approved the final design.

Raygun gives back to the community in more ways than its promotion of the Senior Center. Other projects include helping groups such as Reach Out and Read and On With Life, Leatherby said. 

Next month, the store is planning a domestic-violence intervention program. The shop does anywhere from three to five partnerships per month, Leatherby said.

Jessi Simon, development specialist at Friends of the Center, said she is enthusiastic about the Raygun partnership and other upcoming events at the Senior Center. 

“We think it’s an awesome way to do community outreach and help people learn about the center,” Simon said. “It’s a fun place to stay involved, stay active, and connected in your later years of life.” 

How Friends of the Center helps the Senior Center financially doesn’t stop with the Raygun T-shirts.

“We have always done a variety of different fundraising events throughout the year,” Simon said. “We actually have our first big fundraiser coming up this month; we are doing an Art is Ageless auction.” 

A large variety of work from local artists will be on display at the auction, some of which will include work done in the various art classes that the center offers and in art presented at past exhibitions. The auction will be held Sept. 27.

The National Council on Aging designates September as the National Senior Center Month, Simon said. 

During this time, senior centers are encouraged to reach out to their communities, form multigenerational bonds, and spread awareness that senior centers can be the ideal future for aging. 

“It’s a hidden gem in our community,” Simon said. “It’s a fantastic resource.”

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The next closest Senior Center is in Davenport, making the Iowa City Senior Center a popular destination for people in the surrounding area to take part in the center’s hub of creativity. 

“One of our missions here is to enhance the quality of life and stay engaged in the community,” DeLoach said.

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