Open to the artists themselves, family, friends, staff, and visitors, the "Centered: slightly off-center" Senior Art Show, featuring paintings by the residents of 11 area assisted living and specialty care centers, was recently hosted by the The Davis Family YMCA of Boardman.
Featuring the art of residents of Ashley Circle, Autumn Hills, Autumn Hills Manor, Beeghly Oaks, Glenellen Senior Living, The Inn at Christine Valley, The Inn at Ironwood, The Manor, the Ridge, Victoria House, and Vista Center of Boardman, the event which culminated the display of the artwork featured at the YMCA facility from June first through June 28th was held Sunday, June 23rd.
According to information provided at the event, a request made five years ago to YMCA Art Coordinator Suzanne Bort Gray to create an art program for residents at Briarfield at Ashley Circle resulted in the Painting Club which has grown to include the residents of ten additional facilities which are encouraged to create in-house galleries with ever-changing exhibitions in which to showcase the progression of the residents artistic talents.
Photos by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
Carmella Bucci, a resident of The Inn at Christine Valley, is pictured beneath the floral painting that earned her second place in the recently held “Centered: slightly off-center” Senior Art Show.
Stating that the only criteria to join the painting club is a willingness to try, the resident painters include healthy, vibrant seniors, as well as others who suffer from a myriad of challenges, including ALS, Alzheimer's, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, stroke, and macular degeneration.
The "Centered: slightly off-center" art show was, in accordance with art show standards, judged by a professional artist and ribbons were awarded accordingly.
Originally from the West Side of Youngstown, Carmella Bucci said she enjoyed 53 years of marriage to her late husband Bill, and now, as a three-year resident at The Inn at Christine Valley, enjoys classes with Gray. Bucci, whose floral painting was one featured in the show said that prior to the biweekly classes under Gray's instruction; she had never tried her hand at painting.
Bucci, who boasts of 31 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, enjoyed the company of her three children at the day's event.
Speaking on the event, Gray said this year's show was dedicated to the memory of the Painting Club members who had passed away. Looking over the photos on hand of those former members, Gray was quick to recall not only the names, but something personal about the individuals she grows to know as she helps them channel their inner Picasso.
Reflecting on a few of the former residents' photos, Gray spoke of Carol Miller, who was incapacitated by multiple sclerosis yet managed to paint with her regularly, and on John Yavorsky, whose creative painting now hangs in his memory at his grandson's restaurant. Clearly touched by her time with each of them, "This is the best thing I do," said Gray.