With an M.A. in graphic design from the Academy of Fine Arts of Tbilisi (Georgia) and a B.A. in teaching and painting from Nikoladze College of Arts (Georgia), Lela is an art educator and a professional artist with more than 16 years of teaching expertise. Her experience working with older adults includes leading “Art From the Heart” program sessions for clients with dementia at SAGE Eldercare – Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and serving as art coordinator for independent, assisting, and memory care groups at Hermitage United Methodist Homes.
Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Tbilisi, which is the capital of Georgia, a small country located in the Eastern Europe. It is about the size of South Carolina. In 1993, my husband was invited to work as a scientist at the University of California. This opportunity led my family to move to the United States. Throughout the years, the United States became another home for my family.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? I enjoy spending weekends with my kids, husband, and mother, in addition to spending quality time outside in nature. I always carry my sketchbook with me and create sketches for future projects and artworks. I enjoy attending concerts and new exhibitions in the area, as well.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? I relish the opportunity to work with members, demonstrate art techniques, share laughter or an interesting story while working on projects. It feels great to see the members get excited by the results of their hard work at the end of each session. I believe that the process of making art is a life enhancing experience in many ways. As an art educator, nothing is more rewarding for me than contributing to The Ivey and enhancing members’ memory, imagination and lives through the magic of arts.