New online gallery showcases work of artistic care home residents

Artistic care home residents have spoken of their pride at having their paintings featured in an online exhibition.

The showcase at the Pendine Park care organisation features the work of their residents at their homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon and will open on April 15, the

anniversary of the birth of Leonardo da Vinci  in1452 which also marks World Art Day.

The art classes are organised by artist-in-residence Sarah Edwards who last year celebrated her 25th anniversary of working with Pendine.

She helps residents find their creative streak and produce intricate works of art such as animal portraits and landscape paintings.

Sarah has been so impressed by the quality of artwork achieved by dozens of residents over the years that she is to showcase more than 100 of the best works in Pendine Park’s online Retrospective Art Gallery.

Among those beaming with pride was Mark Cartwright, a resident of the Penybryn care home in Wrexham,

He has found attending the art class to be one of the highlights of his time at Pendine Park.

Mark, 58, said: “I have been at Pendine Park for about 13 years and have been coming along to the art class for a long time.

“It is something I enjoy doing. I look forward to the classes.

“In my time going to the art class I’ve done lots and lots of things. Sarah is always suggesting things we can do.”

Sarah said: “Leonardo da Vinci is somebody we look up to in the art world. He is admired as being one of the greats,” said Sarah.

“It seemed a nice idea to launch our art gallery on this particular date, to remember da Vinci and also because it is World Art Day.

“We have certainly seen at Pendine Park how much artistic talent there is, from both our past and present residents.

“Hopefully, our art gallery will give people an idea of the sort of things we do here, as well as the quality of work produced by residents at our homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon.”

Sarah has long promoted the benefits of residents engaging with art, with all participants given advice and support to enable their creative juices to flow – no matter what condition or disability they may have.

“People forget that you can build skills when you come to a care home and there’s a chance to embrace new talents and creativity,” said Sarah.

“A lot of the residents have no history of doing artwork. But they have come along to the art class and realised just how good their work can be.

“For example, we have had residents with a range of complex conditions and  disabilities attending the art class. They have demonstrated how creative they are, producing really impressive works of art.

“It has never been the case in the class of everybody doing the same thing. Instead, it is about working to whatever their individual strengths are.”

Pendine Park is believed to have been the first care home in Wales to employ an artist in residence, when Sarah was appointed in 1995.

She has been in the role ever since, building close working relationships with residents and supporting the development of successful enrichment programmes.

The care organisation’s commitment to the arts has been reflected in it winning a number of coveted awards, including being named Business of the Year at the Arts and Business Cymru Awards in 2015.

Sarah said the emphasis during classes has been on helping all residents achieve the best they can and having fun, whether they be a modern-day Michelangelo or have never dabbled with a paintbrush before.

“Everybody’s contribution is appreciated at Pendine Park,” said Sarah. “Somebody may produce what to many eyes is a scribble, but it is valued because I’ve seen the effort they have put into it.

“All the residents get the chance to be creative. It’s more about the fun of the process than the end result.

“What we do here reflects the importance of having access to the arts, which I believe is integral to quality of life and well-being.

“The works selected for the art gallery will include some by our current residents, as well as remembering past residents who made a big contribution when they were here.”

The art gallery is due to be unveiled on Facebook and Instagram. It can be found by searching for ‘Pendine Park Care’.

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