A New Art Installation is Speaking to People at Catholic Eldercare
Memory care residents and guests in the transitional care unit (TCU) are loving the new art installation at Catholic Eldercare. Thanks to donations from generous donors, a collection of art was installed to enhance the décor and bring color and beauty to these living spaces.
Paintings and photographs of farmhouses, sun flowers, family interactions, and portraits of faith are returning memories to the minds of people with memory loss. And scenes of majestic trees, mighty oceans, and fields of flowers are encouraging healing in the TCU. “Artwork can change your whole experience,” says Marie Barta, director of operations for skilled care services. “It was a beautiful project, and we didn’t realize how powerful it would be.”
According to Marie, immediately after the art collection went up, people noticed and many memory care residents were drawn to it, saying, “That’s my garden” and “That’s my farm.” One resident appeared mesmerized by a photograph of a woman in a kitchen. When asked what she sees in the photo, she said, “It’s me.” “This is what we hoped for,” Marie explains. “We wanted art that would speak to people, and we intentionally selected everyday scenes and faith-based art that would reflect love, and spark conversation.”
Marie says to get things “absolutely right,” the selection team enlisted professional help from Kim Cameron, owner of Art Partners Group. Kim worked with Marie, Chaplain David Liedl, Nurse Manager Tracey Franklin, and Foundation Director Tom Glass to make selections. Kim, a 35-year veteran in art procurement recommended groupings of different shapes and sizes so they could be seen from a distance and have more of an impact.
“The art installation team walked through our building with Kim and shared our vision,” says Marie. “She suggested calming, sunlight images for memory care, rather than dark winter scenes and for the TCU, she recommended soothing scenes that make people happy, like spring flowers popping out of the ground.” Kim directed the team to look for images that are pleasing. “Think of how you would feel if you walked into the photograph,” she said. “How would you feel in the scene?”
A piece of art and a metal cross were installed in every room in the TCU to say you’re in God’s hands, and he is beside you on your journey towards healing. Staff is also benefiting from the art that surrounds them, picking their favorite pieces and commenting that the art brightens their day. They also recognize the gift it is to those in their care. “We had no idea people would notice it,” says Marie. “I was very surprised that everyone was talking about it when they went to dinner and to participate in activities.”
Marie says due to the overwhelming response from residents, family members, and staff, Catholic Eldercare is looking to add a phase 2 installation that would bring 10-15 more pieces of art to the memory care floor. “It was a fun project, and watching the art speak to people is priceless.”