The creative arts are a way of life for the many resident artists who live in Hebrew SeniorLife’s independent living community at Orchard Cove. Our residents are always seeking new ways to stay active, keep social and remain creatively engaged. A variety of research documents show the value of creative stimulation to enhance cognition, improve wellness and foster interaction between seniors.
Dr. Jennifer Brinckerhoff, Geriatrician and Medical Director of Orchard Cove, validates this research. “When you have a creative goal or focus, concentration is improved and this, in turn, can strengthen one’s health,” said Dr. Brinckerhoff. “The creative arts are beneficial because one uses different parts of the brain, reinforcing those connections to improve one’s overall health.”
While many of us can only admire beautiful works of art, the remarkable artists at Orchard Cove take the initiative to make it happen on their own. The creative arts are a daily part of their lives and they share their impressive talents in the Orchard Cove resident gallery. Twice a year, new resident artworks are showcased in our gallery for all to enjoy.
Niche senior independent living options such as artist retirement communities are becoming popular with a growing aging population. Many older adults want to be sure there will be opportunities to pursue existing interests when searching for a new community. Orchard Cove is not exclusively for artists, but community resources enable artistic talent to flourish. Mel Frankel, an Orchard Cove resident and painter, envisioned a gallery that would showcase the resident artists’ work and create a sense of pride in their accomplishments. Not only have the paintings, sculptures, photographs, woodcarvings and more enlivened the otherwise empty walls, the artwork is also an important way for people to meet and admire each other’s talents. The stories behind the residents’ art inspires creativity at any age.
Each resident has their own unique style, medium of choice, and eye for design. Some are professionally trained, with work featured in galleries and museums, while others picked up a paintbrush for the first time after moving to our community. Our on-site woodworking shop and a variety of drawing and art classes provide a stimulating environment for creative expression.
“My art is very personal. When I’m drawing, I’m completely involved in the process. It’s just me and the subject I’m trying to portray,” says Orchard Cove resident artist Avis Brenner.
When Avis Brenner moved to Orchard Cove, she decided it was time to transition from clay sculpture to drawing pastel portraits. In fact, it wasn’t until she moved to our residence that she developed a passion for illustrating portraits of some very famous people. Avis searches out photographs of women in politics that make a statement with their facial expressions. She recently completed an illustration of Massachusetts US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who took the time to write a personal letter to congratulate Avis for her ability to capture such a realistic portrayal.
Avis pursued her education at Columbia University and taught students of education at Lesley University. While working at Lesley, Avis took art classes at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. It was here she learned how to draw and she has refined her work many years later at Orchard Cove. Her portraits tell a similar story bringing smiles to others who admire her artwork.
We invite Boston-area residents or visitors to drop by the Orchard Cove community in Canton and tour the art gallery, or join our online community via the Orchard Cove Facebook page where you can follow more of the interesting stories of our remarkable residential artists.