With an abundance of artists living in the community, Querencia at Barton Creek recently launched a resident-led Artist of the Month program to provide resident artists an opportunity to showcase their best and favorite pieces. The featured Artist of the Month displays his or her work in a public space for all residents and visitors to admire. Resident Jack Puryear created the program to highlight the talents of his friends and neighbors who live at Querencia. The goal is to inspire all who see the installations of paintings, drawings, sculptures, carvings, and other works to try something new.
“Since we started the program, we have received tremendous positive feedback,” said Puryear. “We had two residents, Dotty Brooks and Elaine Leander, who taught art classes and contributed to the arts program at the community. Art is meant to be enjoyed, and for many of the artists in the community this is the first time they’ve shared their work with an audience. By having a space within the heart of Querencia to showcase the talents of our artists, we have the ability to encourage others to explore their creative sides.”
During the month of July, lifelong artist Ethel Harvey, 92, is displaying her favorite and most recent paintings. For Harvey, art has been a consistent interest and love throughout her life. Growing up in New York surrounded by a family of artists fostered a creative ability in her which would take her around the world as a commercial artist. Her personal passion led to a rewarding career. Harvey and her husband even spent 30 years in Israel, where they worked on a number of projects, including a model of the city of Jerusalem. Today, Harvey captures the moments happening outside her door and regularly paints in Querencia’s art studio, capturing scenes of life at the community. Additionally, residents commission Harvey to create graphite portraits of their family, friends, and even a pet or two.
“Painting is something that has always been a part of who I am,” said Harvey. “No matter where I was in the world, I always connected with it. Whether I was working on a professional or personal piece, I enjoyed it; and I think that has kept me passionate about art all of these years. Here at Querencia, I am now surrounded by a number of individuals who have shared that passion, and that’s a gift in itself. It’s very exciting Querencia supports the Artist of the Month program, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Recent studies show that having the opportunity to create art of any kind can help seniors by triggering the creative areas of the brain. Through the time and focus spent painting, sculpting and drawing comes a sense of creativity which can relieve stress and improve mood. Because of this, many seniors find moments of joy and a sense of accomplishment through creating art.
“We are inspired by our artistic residents like Ethel who pursue activities that are stimulating and beneficial to themselves and those around them,” said Nate Weyand, executive director of Querencia at Barton Creek. “Art is something that each of us can relate to in one way or another, and we hope that by showcasing the work of individuals in our community we can encourage others to pursue artistic activities as well.”