Residents of two Dorset care homes have made ‘exhibitions of themselves’ in the name of art.
Watercolours, oil paintings, photos and tapestries were among the original works produced in-house and put on display at Colten Care’s Whitecliffe House in Blandford and Newstone House in Sturminster Newton.
At both homes, team members were encouraged to stage celebrations of art after seeing individual residents producing work themselves during lockdown and inspiring others to do the same.
At Outstanding-rated Newstone House, the catalyst was resident Rita Clay who told staff she was really enjoying doing art again after some time out.
Companionship Team Leader Karlene Duffy said: “Rita inspired other residents to be creative. So when we mentioned creating our own art gallery a small group of residents gave themselves a month to create as many inspired art pieces as possible.
“The result was tapestries, watercolours, button pictures, silhouettes and many more wonderful ideas. We used our cinema room as a gallery space for a whole week so that residents, their relatives and our team members could all come in and see.”
Rita said: “It was so nice to see the effort all residents made. I was so happy to see many of my art pieces on display.”
There were similar sentiments from fellow residents Doreen Webb and Linda Porter. Doreen said: “It was wonderful and put a smile on so many people’s faces, including mine.”
Linda said: “It was nice to see something different and all the artwork created over the last month come to life.”
At Whitecliffe House, an equivalent celebration was held in the home’s main lounge following artwork produced by resident Jean Pilgrim, a former art teacher. Pieces by both residents and staff were featured.
Companionship Team Member Caroline Pugh said: “Jean painted exquisite watercolours in the past and became motivated recently to go back to painting once more. She started with some fuchsia from our garden.
As she described to another of our residents, having her pictures around her and in her mind, is like bringing her garden from earlier years into her room at Whitecliffe. It is a joy to see her discussing her love of colour and how certain natural pigments create the colours for the artist. We are all so happy that she has found the desire to paint again. It is so lovely when people are enabled to explore their art. We have residents who love to paint and draw and the lounge was quickly resplendent with original arts and crafts by our residents and staff members. It was amazing.”