September 21, 2018, Louisville, Ky – Regardless of physical ability or diagnosis, creativity and art empower Signature residents to create and to live with purpose. Whether it be painting, music, dancing, drama, or simple crafts, something beautiful happens when artistic creativity is encouraged, especially in long-term care. This is a story of a Signature HealthCARE of Hart County resident rediscovering joy by through art.
She rolled up to a table in the Quality of Life room and closed her eyes. “What colors do I see?” She said inquisitively. She then opened her eyes and began to paint different colors on a piece of canvas. “Hmmmm, what shall I make next?” She kept asking herself as she added more colors. “I know! I’ll make a shooting star!” She shouted excitedly, so loud that it startled us and the kids a bit. “Now! We all need to add something,” she said as she handed the camp director Christine and I some paintbrushes. We gladly complied and added our favorite colors into her artwork.
After her first piece of artwork was finished, she wanted to immediately create another, and said, “I’m going to do my absolute best this time!” She started the artwork off with what looked like a rainbow. What happened next had Signature HealthCARE of Hart County stakeholders in tears of joy and watching her create art in absolute silence.
She began to sing as she painted. “Somewhere over the rainbow, where it is so beautiful and bright. It’s so pretty up there, over that rainbow. We can all go there.”
Her lyrics may not have been the “correct” words to the famous song from the Wizard of Oz, but that didn’t matter. Her sweet voice warmed all of our hearts. One stakeholder began playing the song in the background as she continued singing and painting. “It doesn’t get much better than this,” she said as she finished her second work of art.
She can’t tell you what day it is, but her smile is absolutely contagious. She is joy to be around. She had participated in an art project recently with our resident artist, Andee, as a part of the “I Won’t Grow Up” project happening in 12 rural Signature HealthCARE nursing homes. She and other elders were asked to create an art piece of how flying made them feel. You could tell she truly enjoyed every second of it, and she wasn’t the only one who opened up and let their creativity shine through.
Before leaving the Quality of Life room, she said, “I am going to get up and walk off into the beautiful nature and think about these colors and come back and meditate on it and find out what I need to do with them. Do you want to come with me?”