When older adults living in area nursing homes and day programs are invited to participate, to be active contributors to cultural life- as artists, poets, art appreciators, historians- vivid stories and imaginative interpretations come to light. Cultural heritage is celebrated. Lives are changed in positive ways.
Developing a program of artistic exchanges can lead to wonderful, unexpected moments. In the summer of 2014, seniors from area nursing homes and day programs had a chance to meet renowned Cape Ann watercolor painter, Betty Lou Schlemm, during a special exhibition of her paintings called, The Gift, at North Shore Arts Association.
PAINTING BY JANICE, Artist living at Seacoast Nursing & Rehab
Art Conversations centered around the theme of landscape as a source of inspiration. Betty Lou talked about "falling in love with the light" and "In art, you've got to dream a little." As groups looked closely at her work, reflected on her ideas and learned about her life and artistic process, many discovered stories and memories. Painting workshops followed.
A reciprocal exchange - inspiring the artist and the adults who participated:
"Nobody looked as seriously at my paintings as you all did. Thank you. This touched my heart...
I'm always going to remember this day." Betty Lou Schlemm, painter
"Having the artist there was a treat. It made it real for us."
Dot, Day by Day Adult Day Health
“I’m so glad I came. This was a dream come true. My daughter said
you doodle and draw mom, you should do something.”
Gerry, Seacoast Nursing & Rehab