Brightview Severna Park was transformed into a gallery last month as the senior living complex held a resident art show.
While it may not rival the display scope of the nearby National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Brightview show offered plenty of art, a harpist, display sections, food and even some bubbly to complement the smiles of pride that residents were sporting.
“My idea was to bring them back to what they could do,” said 90-year-old Brightview resident Don Weak, who was excited to contribute ideas to the planning. “It gets their minds thinking and working.”
Weak exhibited his wood carvings at the show, including walking sticks with various national park emblems attached to them — a reminder of his life working for the National Park Service before he retired.
Hillary Gibbons serves as the vibrant living director at Brightview Severna Park. It’s a role that residents appreciate, with many going so far as referring to Gibbons as “her vibrancy.”
“Just seeing the pride in everyone’s work,” said Gibbons of what stood out to her during the show. “It’s a little more lively.”
Barbara Harrison displayed quilted art she’s created over the years. Even though Harrison was forced to give up her craft due to arthritis, the Brightview show rekindled her artistic spirit.
“It makes me feel good that maybe it’s appreciated,” Harrison said about her quilting. “We don’t know what each other’s talents are until we have this.”
Most of the pieces on display were items that the artists have hanging in their own apartments at Brightview. Each piece was labeled with its title, artist and year it was created.
One such piece was a ceramic vase made by resident Peggy Weber in 1971. The vase, emblazoned with a seahorse, had a first-place ribbon from that year’s Anne Arundel County Fair attached to the handle.
“It’s an opportunity to reflect back and an opportunity to see my fellow residents’ treasure and to talk to them,” said Dick Clingan, whose work included a large swan carving that he made in memory of his late wife. “That has probably touched me the most.”
Glass artist Danni Johnson was pleased with the steady flow of art admirers that passed by throughout the day.
“At first, it’s embarrassing, but then I thought, ‘Well yes, I deserve that. I did that,’” Johnson said.
The exhibit wasn’t limited to residents. Friends and family of the artists also came to enjoy the day’s festivities.
“I’ve enjoyed hearing you tell stories about each piece,” Annapolis resident Jacquelyn Stern said to her father, Brightview resident Howard Gelman, after he showed his three clay and marble sculptures to an onlooker.
Yvonne Taylor displayed her tsumami art, which is a traditional Japanese form of cutting and folding silk to make three-dimensional representations of flowers.
“I never dreamed of being in a show,” Taylor said. “They’ve just been hanging on my wall.”
Christiana Boyd’s display was centered around sterling silver candlesticks that were her journeyman piece for her senior year at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts in 1960.
Sherry Moe, who has lived at Brightview Severna Park since the day it opened, spoke about her quilting, which she still does up to four hours a day, and her love of colors. She also touched on the importance of the show.
“We’re a closer community because of it,” Moe said. “You don’t come here to die, you come here to live.”
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