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Symphony of Chesterton Residents Enjoy Life Under the Sea with Art Celebration Bash


Friday afternoon, the Symphony of Chesterton invited residents and the families to celebrate the arts with an underwater sea-bash at the facility. It was a day full of painting, cookies, cupcake making, and enjoying a family- and fish-friendly film!

Schools of fishes swam and danced across the canvases as a group of residents and their families were lead in a canvas and cookies activity. The instructor Suzie Rosso showed each painter how to trace different kinds of aquatic animals on their blue paint boards, and then each person could paint and decorate, as they like. The event was a fun activity and a great form of art therapy. Angela Boland, Director of Clinical Business Development for Symphony of Chesterton, helped coordinate the art celebration at the facility.

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“It is a cookies and canvas event, which we invited the community and our residents,” she said. “It turned into painting sea creatures and turned into what we are calling a sea-bash!”

This was the first canvas event held at the facility and was set up in the art room at the facility. It was the perfect event for the many artists and art enthusiasts living at the assisted living center.

“There are many residents who paint and do art,” Boland said.

Art therapy is a form of therapy that Boland has brought to the facility in the past, and a beneficial and relaxing activity for senior citizens to engage in. The walls are decorated in the artwork of Virginia Phillips, an oil painter who lived at Symphony of Chesterton before she passed away earlier this year.

On the other side of the building, residents were having more artistic fun. Jennifer Martin of the Chesterton Art Gallery was teaching marble art, or spin art, in which residents held a box with several marbles in it. They laid a piece of paper on the bottom, dripped different colors of paint into the box, and as they swung their box from side to side, the marbles rolled across, spinning paint across the paper.

“We did this at the art fair for the children, and they had a blast,” Martin said. “It is great because it is not too messy and makes a cool, ‘Jackson Pollock’ type picture.”

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“They are loving it,” she added, watching two residents tilt their box up and down.

Staff were also helping residents decorate their own summer-y cupcakes, where they could plop on different colored types of icing, sprinkles, and candy toppings. Once done eating and artwork, participants grabbed a bag of popcorn and sat inside the theater to watch “Finding Dory.”

Andrea Drygas sat next to her grandmother,, Linda Garcia during the canvas activity, painting brightly colored octopi on her blue canvas background. Knowing her granddaughter was an art enthusiast, Garcia invited Drygras to the event.

“She invited me and I said, ‘Yeah that sounds like fun,’ and it is,” Drygras said. “I want to hang this up in my apartment at school.”

Drygras is heading back down to Indiana University Bloomington to study law and public policy, and when she has the time, to continue to draw and paint. Garcia is from Gary and has been living at Symphony of Chesterton for the last year and a half.

“I am just watching this time,” she said. “There are so many cool events here.”

Symphony of Chesterton holds a number events for residents and their families throughout the year, from a performance by the Chesterton High School Sandpipers, to a Vendor Fair. Garcia’s favorite, she said, was when the staff brought in a huge alligator for the residents to see and touch!

While painting, residents were welcome to cookies, snacks, and drinks. Residents, along with their grandchildren, shared paint colors and helped trace the character, Nemo, from “Finding Dory” onto their canvas.

What was interesting about the canvas paintings is that even though each person painted the same scene, thanks to the different colors, positions, techniques, and creativity, each canvas was unique to the artist. It was another successful and fun night at Symphony of Chesterton as the assisted living center welcomed the community to a unique event meant to bring residents and their families together.

“They are fun events open to the community and to the residents and their families,” Boland said.

For more information about Symphony of Chesterton, go to www.symphonyofchesterton.com.

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