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Senior residents collaborate with ArtPrize artist

Holland Home’s Vibrant Living program targets five components of wellness.

July 5, 2019
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Holland Home ArtPrize
ArtPrize artist Pamela Alderman and residents of Holland Home produced three pieces of art for the senior living community. Courtesy Holland Home

About 400 senior residents from two assisted and independent living campuses recently displayed their artistic talents.

The residents at Holland Home’s Breton Woods and Raybrook campuses collaborated with top 20 ArtPrize artist Pamela Alderman to create three art projects, which were unveiled in May. 

The residents, ranging from 70 to 101 years old, spent months painting, writing and organizing until they completed three separate projects of a monarch butterfly. 

The residents artfully used their own experiences to paint 324 plexiglass tiles and glued them into place to form the butterfly. 

“One senior felt prompted to portray her World War II experiences on the two-inch tiles,” Alderman said. 

The resident said the blue and green stripes on the first tile represents the Allies flying over the Netherlands. The second tile depicts the time after the war when they were allowed to fly the red, white and blue Dutch flag again.

Alderman said her example demonstrates how hardships and stress can strengthen us.

Another artwork the residents created was called “Legacy Journey.” The residents wrote legacy words on marbled paper, handmade paper with colorful swirls of paints. The words represented their favorite memories, songs, family stories or values for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to Alderman. Those papers were then used to form a butterfly.

After chemotherapy treatment, I couldn't write at all for several months,” a resident said. “But I was able to write on this butterfly.”

The third project was a kaleidoscope. Residents sponge-painted papers that were ripped apart to form another butterfly.

Patricia Alexander, a life enrichment coordinator for Holland Home, said the butterfly creation was not the only thing the projects entailed; woodworkers created the frames to specifically fit the size of each piece of art. 

All three art projects were part of Holland Home’s Vibrant Living program, which Marenta Klinger, director of resident life, said started about two years ago.

“We formed resident focused groups at each campus to get residents involvement, buy-in, support the model that would guide their programming,” she said. “So, we wanted their input and involvement in it. We came up with five components of wellness under the Vibrant Living model. They are physical wellness, emotional well-being, spiritual fulfillment, intellectual discovery and social engagement. So, we really use those five components to drive all of our programming that we do on every campus, across every level of care.”

Klinger said this is the second big art engagement and collaboration project they have done with a local artist, and there will be more opportunities to do more in the future.

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