It was one of those dreary, rainy late-spring days when a colleague and I pulled up to Kendal-on-Hudson, a senior living community in Sleepy Hollow. I had received an email from one of the residents asking me if the River Journal wanted to see the resident-created art show that lined their hallways. I decided to check it out but have to admit I wasn’t expecting much. As it turned out, I was very pleasantly surprised by both the artwork and the team that put it all together.
We were greeted at the main entrance by Gretchen Engler, the Art Committee Chairwoman. She brought us to the Rue des Artistes on the Community level where 50 pieces of art lined the walls. There were stunning watercolors, photographs, mixed-media pieces and even crocheted articles of clothing. The exhibit, entitled Mostly Blue and White, was beautifully curated by resident co-curators Lynn Brady and Barbara Gochman. After a tour of the exhibit, we sat with Gretchen, Lynn, Barbara and Ann Lasusa, past curator and unofficial historian of the Art Committee.
According to Ann, the committee was originally started to develop art exhibits and manage art classes for the residents. As the committee evolved, it became more about encouraging residents—many of whom had never tried their hand at creating art—to give art a try. Now with so many residents actively participating, the committee received over 70 submissions for the April show. Every resident who submitted a piece was included in the show.
“When I chose the theme Mostly Blue and White, I wanted something unifying and it came out exactly as I anticipated,” noted Lynn. “It was unifying, it was bright, and it reflected the river. It was just what I had hoped for.”
Although many of the resident-artists are new to their craft, there are several professional artists living at Kendal. One is historian Ann Lasusa, who has been painting for over 60 years. “It’s been my passion,” said Ann. You can see Ann’s work on her website, www.lasusart.com.
For many of the residents, it’s activities like the art show that draw them to Kendal-on-Hudson. “It’s one of the reasons I moved here and I think other people as well,” noted Barbara. “They see what goes on here and I think it’s one of the reasons that encourage people to move here.” And art isn’t the only activity that draws residents. A library with over 5,000 books, concerts by resident musicians, and more keep residents engaged.
The next art show is scheduled for October and submissions are now being accepted. This fall’s show is themed “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” from the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. “You can think of it as a physical place, a spiritual place, or an emotional place,” noted co-curator Lynn Brady. “Or you can look at the book and see it as a journey of life.”
The art committee is considering opening future exhibits to the public but details still need to be finalized. The River Journal will share the details as soon as they are available.