Media Release:  August 2020

Story by Angie Gilchrist,
Program Coordinator, Life Enrichment

Make no mistake. Not everything is doom and gloom currently in long-term care. As a matter of fact, the front entrance of St. Joseph’s Villa has never looked more colourful. Besides the photo-diary of our time spent “busy” in isolation from March to June, on August 20th the Villa’s Silent Auction went on display. Up for auction this year are 21 framed and hand-painted masterpieces done by the residents of St. Joseph’s Villa.

When large group programs ceased in March and physical distancing became a part of our new reality in long-term care, Life Enrichment Staff member Sadna Hettiarachchi reached out to Villa residents to share her love of art. Painting had always been an interest of Sadna’s and she was eager to be able to pass on that passion and enthusiasm to her residents. “The paintings turned out to be so beautiful and I could not believe my eyes!” And it is true. Everyone was very pleased with the results. “All staff members, residents and family members were elated with the result, taking time to admire the paintings, offered supplies to improve our painting and speaking with residents about their works of art. This further fuelled me to expand the program with more resident, projects and loftier goals.” There was some hesitancy at first when Sadna approached the prospective artists. “Whenever I (would) ask residents to come for painting they say yeah right, I’m not an artist, I’ve never painted.” The residents however would leave the program feeling “amazed” at their final masterpiece. “I can see it brings joy, keeps them active, engaged and for some, a reason for living.”

The art program has also inspired residents to pursue painting on their own with several residents investing in their own drafting tables and paint supplies for their room. When asked about the therapeutic benefits to the program Sadna believes the program “adds colour to their quality of life, helps to reduce stress , overcome loneliness, resolve conflicts, manage behaviour, increase self-esteem, self-awareness and many more.”

Sadna’s favorite memory from this remarkable program: “I have many sweet memories, when I was painting a Dachshund dog with a resident; she was in tears as it brought her memories back of her dog. She chose the colours of her dog, framed and kept it as a treasure in her room.

The Silent Auction will run until Friday September 18th. All funds raised will go to the Recreation Fund that assists the Life Enrichment Department to replenish supplies for recreational programming. The Life Enrichment Department is also currently considering producing a 2021 calendar which will include more resident artwork.

Framed artwork displayed on table
Inside the front doors of St. Joe's Villa displaying the Silent Auction artwork
St. Joseph's Villa Resident painting a picture
Framed artwork on display table for silent auction
St Joseph's Villa Resident holding artwork
Closeup of framed artwork of fall leaves

Information: Tanya Gil-Alfau, 705-674-2846 ext. 2104