The popularity of products such as StoryWorth, FamilySearch and Twile prove how strongly family members feel about capturing the memories and stories of loved ones. For seniors, that’s especially relevant this year as COVID-19 has restricted actual in-person visits. A local senior community has implemented a way for residents and employees to reminiscence and connect–through art.
Goodwin House, a non profit senior living and care facility in Alexandria, recently opened two exhibitions in its Art Studio Gallery inspired by Willa Cleary, a resident who started recreating photos dating back to 1965 to preserve her family’s memories.
The first exhibit, Memory: A Participatory Project, lets residents and staff respond to four different prompts: My Childhood, Things I Learned from Grandparents, Holiday Traditions and My First Home, via written thoughts and photos. My Childhood has proven to be the most popular, with baby and kid photos shared from over 90 people.
The second exhibit, Memories…in Pencil, Ink, Watercolor and Oil, features a selection of Cleary’s actual artwork from the past two decades, which draws on her recollections of travel, nature and time with family and friends.
Both exhibits are open 24 hours a day for residents and staff and run until Dec. 31; a video is also viewable through an internal television channel. In addition to the gallery, Goodwin House Alexandria offers art classes including ceramics and crafts. A painting club currently meets over Zoom, connecting residents with artists from around the world to discuss topics like sculpture with nature, meditative drawing and responding to music with art.
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