In a classroom seemingly stripped bare—there is nothing written on the whiteboard and nothing decorative hanging on the muted forest green walls—approximately 30 elderly students are hunched over artist easels and concentrating on their artworks.

Instructor Deborah Hurewitz-Pitt walks around the Art 3312 room and stops to study some of the students’ progress with their painting recreations.

“The underside needs to be a darker yellow,” she said to a student, who was in the process of painting a photo of a yellow bird perched on top of carnation pink flowers.

Every Tuesday, the students meet for Oil/Acrylic Painting, one of the free noncredit art classes offered under the Pierce College ENCORE program.

Described as an open workshop for artists of all skill levels, the class is left to paint at their own pace and leisure. The students also have a chance to display their work in the ENCORE Art Gallery.

“There’s lots of room to grow here,” said Karren deGorriciho, one of the students in the class.

Some of the members of the class repeatedly take the course because they come to love it so much.

“You get to relax and think about nothing for three hours,” said 70-year-old Peggy Chiate. “I get very depressed when I can’t get to class.”

Hurewitz-Pitt also finds relaxation with the class.

“I don’t have to grade the students,” she said. “It’s a much more positive environment.”