Linden Ponds' Art Council Brings Monthly Exhibitions to the Community

June 12, 2024
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"Taking the time to appreciate art is very important to me," says Susan Murray, who serves as chair of the resident-run Art Council at Linden Ponds, an Erickson Senior Living community in Hingham, Mass. 

The 18-member Art Council, made up of both artists and art aficionados, works closely with residents, staff members, and local artists to create monthly exhibitions at Linden Ponds' art gallery. In addition, the Art Council organizes educational talks and hosts a variety of studio art classes at the community.

"As a volunteer at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I love the fact that there is also a space here, at home, to showcase beautiful art," adds Susan. 

Curating the space

Fran Charles, who joined the Art Council soon after moving to Linden Ponds in 2012, notes that the community's art gallery has gotten lots of attention over the years. 

"The gallery is an important part of life at Linden Ponds--for both our talented resident artists and those who appreciate art," says Fran. "We've showcased fine art, sculpture, photography, floral art, and--most recently--fiber art. The show featured knitted work, quilts, and fabric collages." 

Art Council member David Nelson leads the effort in identifying resident artists and members of the local community who might be interested in displaying their work. 

"The goal is to showcase a range of artists and their various talents," he says. "Thanks to the success of our exhibitions, word is spreading. I now have artists coming up to me asking to be included."

David adds, "I have friends who eagerly ask, 'Who is the next artist?!' Lots of people are excited to know what's coming as well as the story behind the art."

Creating balance

Each exhibition lasts a month, with all the art professionally labeled with the artist's name, the work's name, and a price--if it's for sale. During the month, the Council sponsors a "Meet the Artist" reception, providing guests the opportunity to interact with the artist and learn more about their work.

"When an artist comes in and sees their work in the gallery, they are thrilled!" says council member Ann Marcus. "In other galleries, artists typically only showcase a few pieces. But here, they are given the entire gallery, allowing them to present their full range of work."

The exhibition calendar that the Art Council creates alternates between resident, staff, and local artists, giving everyone an equal chance to display their work. 

Engaging exhibitions

In January, Linden Ponds showcased the extraordinary work of Hingham resident Zhenya Leushyk, also known as "Mr. Z." His premier showing of wood and epoxy pieces included benches, tables, furniture, vases, and wood sculptures.

"So many people from the local community attended," says David. "My daughter and son-in-law came up from Delaware to see the show. The work was outstanding--museum quality."

After Mr. Z's exhibition, 40 Linden Ponds residents displayed 77 of their best photographs. May's exhibit featured the work of two artists on faculty at the world-famous Rhode Island School of Design. And, last month, the award-winning Brooklyn artist Syma showcased her clay and mixed media art.

"Syma's story is so special and unique," says David. "We were introduced to her work by a resident who knew her when she lived in Hingham. Now, since our connection, she is interested in moving to Linden Ponds."

Opportunities await

For two months this summer, the gallery will host the annual art show, featuring the works of residents and staff members. There will also be an "Art in Bloom" event, inspired by Susan's volunteer work at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, in which 10 floral designers will portray paintings with flowers. 

In a similar way, the Art Council will host an annual poetry and art evening this August, featuring poems from Linden Ponds residents that were inspired by works of art.

To provide residents with hands-on opportunities, the Art Council offers a variety of lectures and studio classes, led by both residents and local instructors, as well. Recent class topics have included collage, photo editing using Apple software, shoestring art, and an introduction to charcoal sketching. 

"The classes are an extension of the council. It gives everyone a chance to express themselves--and maybe showcase their own work one day," says David. "I'm happy to be a part of the group that makes that all available, right here at Linden Ponds."

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