A group of residents at a Camden care home will display their handiwork from next Wednesday (8 March 2017) with the official opening of the Ash Court Art Gallery, following a series of art classes led by the home’s activities co-ordinator, Samantha Kalarus.
The residents’ love of painting was inspired by a single artists’ palette that arrived at the home as part of an enrichment pack created by Ladder to the Moon. The box was packed with art materials to help engage and encourage residents to try out different activities – and painting was so popular that Samantha started to lead a regular painting class for people living in the home.
“We now have a regular art class, where I choose a subject matter – whether it be a still life, or a landscape from memory – and the residents can let their artistic skills run free,” explains Samantha. “I think some of the residents have taken themselves by surprise, especially by how good their works look when they are framed and hung on the wall – it is a real boost to their confidence, whilst helping us to create a welcoming environment for all of our residents, shaped by the people who live here.”
The gallery currently occupies a space next to the main lounge on the home’s first floor and features around 30 framed paintings, but Samantha has ambitious plans to expand. “We have got plenty of space within Ash Court to display more works, so as long as they keep painting, we’ll keep displaying them. It is fantastic to see these older people embracing and developing new skills, and we’ve had some great compliments already, with requests to purchase some of the works by visitors and residents alike.”
Those visiting friends or relatives in the home can view the gallery at any time, but local people are also welcome to come along and see the artworks. “We hold open days throughout the year when we’ll be showcasing all of our residents’ skills, but if anyone wants to come along before then, they would be most welcome,” adds centre manager, Steven Anderson.