It was the center of the giraffe when the Brethren Home Community held its first village art installation on Friday at its new facility in Harmony Ridge.
The exhibition, “Avenue Art Inspiration”, featured artwork by residents and a few of the facility’s staff, all incorporating giraffes as a common theme.
Holly Fetting, Director of Life Enrichment, was inspired to create an enriched art installation created by the residents of the retirement community, known as villagers.
“The buzz of excitement has been building over the past eight weeks and now we are thrilled to present over fifty pieces of different art, visual, language and performance forms. The different styles and perspectives are simply breathtaking!” says Fetting.
Although each piece focused on giraffes as the main subject, there were no constraints in the designs. Instead, the colorful assortment of art was varied in the media used by senior artists. Ranging from acrylic paintings, woodcarvings, paper collages, fabric art, embroidery, embroidery and mixed media, the resident artists portrayed the majestic beauty of giraffes with unique sensibilities.
Monte Leister, specialist in the enrichment of life, chose “Giraffe” by Ron Krajewski, for the inspiration of the theme of the exhibition Villager. The acrylic painting depicts a giraffe with a warm combination of tans, oranges and browns, against a sky of playful blue hues. It was a favorite of many at the show, including Leister. From this concept, the resident artists were allowed to use their imaginations to bring Fetting’s original vision to life.
“My job is to make art and music happen here,” Leister said.
He uses his knowledge and talents to teach residents about music, dance and the visual arts. The variety of artistic endeavors Leister teaches reveals his abilities to hone the skills of villagers, with a wide range of knowledge to pass on. Leister conveyed his dedication to the program with palpable passion.
“It’s the dream job that I didn’t know I wanted,” Leister said.
The experienced artist contributed several of his own works to the exhibit, including an acrylic painting on yupo paper and a tricolor linocut, his favorite medium to work with.
One piece that caught the eye of many is a multimedia sculpture by Stan Ernst. It features a large giraffe head carved from nine pieces of wood, molded with clay. The giraffe’s eyes evoke a sense of realism, a combination of chunky amber and black beads that shimmer in the light and carefully applied fibers for her eyelashes. The fur coat is depicted with earth tones, paint mixed with sawdust, to mimic the texture of the short-haired animal.
Although the sculpture appears to be that of an experienced artist, Ernst spent his pre-retirement years as a steamfitter and now spends his time primarily making furniture in Cross Key’s Village. Despite declining eyesight, Ernst strolls through the gallery, captivated by the other works in the exhibition.
“I’m super impressed. If you stand there and look long enough, some of these paintings come to life,” he said.
Ernst and Leister also collaborated on an imposing painted wooden sculpture entitled “Sir Richard The Tall”.
Besides the visual arts, “Avenue Art Inspiration” organized a poetry reading and a line dance to commemorate the event. All poems and choreography are also directly related to giraffes and animals. Jon DeCesare, of Westminster, Md., has played a variety of music on classical guitar, from JS Bach to the Beatles.
Sue Fehringer, resident and instructor at Cross Keys Village Wellness Center, led a line dance of 14 dancers, who incorporated a line dance choreography of Keith Urban’s song, “Break On Me”, accompanied by “The Animal Song” by Savage Garden. The band planned the routine as a flash mob, a seemingly impromptu performance for event patrons. After the show, the group embraced each other with smiles, hugs and high fives. They worked on the show for two weeks.
Fehringer also contributed a striking mixed-media abstract painting to the exhibit titled “Vulnerable Species.” The identifiable spotted pattern of giraffe skin extends boldly across the top of the canvas, with several long drops of paint, which Fehringer describes as nature weeping, as giraffes become more vulnerable in the wild.
Avenue des Arts, which opened in December, provides instruction and resources for villagers to learn and hone their creative skills. Mowry Construction, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, was hired to complete the expansion project and also funded the first exhibit, donating for the artwork. The gallery portion is adorned with ornate light fixtures, wrapped in glass to allow natural light to complement the artwork. Funding for the expansion was secured through fundraising and the Brethren Home Foundation, totaling $2 million.
“We saw real talent in the arts. We basically envisioned a living art museum like this. It really amplified the quality of life, to really ignite a fire of appreciation for the arts,” said Cross Keys Village President and CEO Jeffrey Evans.
Additionally, a spacious art studio, a meeting room with a kitchen, a billiard room and a 130-seat theater were completed as part of the expansion. The theater offers a stage adorned with a classical grand piano.
Going forward, Cross Keys Village is already thinking about new ideas for future exhibitions and installations at The Avenue of The Arts.
“In September, we will do an outdoor course (outdoor painting). They’ll be doing plays all over campus. This is our plan. It doesn’t stop there. This is just the first,” Fetting said.
The exhibition will be open to the public until September 16.
- Three children die of cold and dehydration, 25 sick in Madhya Pradesh village
- Des Moines East Village’s Dobré tasting room brings old dishes to life
- SDPD discovers suspected SUV in East Village hit and run that injured 2 scooter drivers – NBC 7 San Diego
- Spartanburg Development Update: County Courthouse, JUMPSTART Facility