The yearning of an aspiring artist can set in at any time in one's life as demonstrated when the "Centered: slightly off-center" Senior Art Show featured paintings by the residents of 11 area assisted living and specialty care centers.
Artwork from residents at 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, can be seen through June 28 at Davis Family YMCA of Boardman and an artists' reception was held Sunday, June 23.
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 10 additional facilities. The living centers 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
YMCA art coordinator Suzanne Bort Gray is pictured at the “Centered: slightly off-center” Senior Art Show held recently where the works of residents of 11 area assisted living and specialty care centers was hosted by The Davis Family YMCA of Boardman and dedicated to the memory of the painting club members who had passed away.
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.
Gray noted that although this was the first year for Vista Care of Boardman to take part, the facility had numerous residents and staff in attendance. She also mentioned she is impressed that the YMCA is open to having events, thereby allowing all of the love and work that results from the painting club to be shared with the public.
With this year's show dedicated to the memory of the painting club members who had passed away, Gray looked over the photos on hand of those former members and 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, "The stories are so phenomenal," said Gray, going on to speak of Carol Miller, who, although incapacitated by multiple sclerosis, 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.