Art is a powerful medium of expression. Particularly for the aging, it can present an opportunity to open up to outsiders what may be a lifetime of inspirational images never before shared. Thirteen artists who happen to be residents of New York State skilled nursing and assisted living facilities translated visions from their hearts and minds into winning entries of a juried art contest, now featured in a 2018 calendar, “Art from the Heart.”
The annual calendar is the result of an art contest launched in 2004 by the Foundation for Quality Care, Inc., the New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) and the New York State Center for Assisted Living (NYSCAL). Residents of more than 380 NYSHFA/NYSCAL member skilled nursing and assisted living facilities around the state were invited to submit artwork.
Each NYSHFA/NYSCAL member was encouraged to hold their own art contest and was invited to submit up to two pieces of original artwork by their residents. The response was overwhelming, with more than 100 pieces submitted from across New York state. The judges included representatives from the New York State Museum and the Sorelle Gallery in Albany.
Ranging in age from 26 to 90, the different backgrounds of the artists who submitted work creates a unique blend of artistic styles. Some are professional artists who have been drawing and painting their entire lives, while others discovered their talents after moving into a long term care facility where they began taking art classes.
Local New Rochelle artist Duffy Brodsky, 88, was chosen as one of the contest winners and has called Willow Towers Assisted Living home for 12 years. When she first came to Willow Towers, Duffy was a bit younger and was able to volunteer, serving as resident council president for three years.
“This is my home and the people here have become my family and support system,” she stated. Duffy loves to draw and has done so since childhood, however, she is just beginning to learn how to paint with watercolors. “I paint things I have visualized from memory. The window sill scene looking out of my window is my own,” she said about her artwork, “My Cat’s Eye View.” “Art has always been what I enjoyed doing as a hobby, nothing more. It absorbs me totally when I do it,” she explained.
Willow Towers Assisted Living in New Rochelle, NY is a not-for-profit community, licensed by the New York State Department of Health. Willow Towers is the first residence in our area to obtain the new ALR (Assisted Living Residence) with two certifications from New York State Department of Health. We provide hospitality services for independent seniors and assistance for those who need it.
“Our residents have shared such rich stories through their artwork,” said Nancy Leveille, RN, MS, executive director of the Foundation for Quality Care, Inc. “The ‘Art from the Heart’ calendar provides a forum for these talented and interesting individuals to shine.”
Proceeds from the calendar benefit the Foundation for Quality Care, Inc. a non-profit, grant- supported organization that focuses on improving the quality of care and quality of life in New York State nursing homes.