Older Adults Illustrate that Creativity Keeps the Mind Young

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Juliette Jutras will be celebrating her 100th birthday in August but this Cedar Mountain Commons resident has no intention of slowing down. Matter of fact, she was the only individual of 16 resident artists who created works in all seven categories for the fifth Masterpieces & Mimosas exhibition held in late June.

Jutras, whose interest in art began when she was a child, has participated in all the art shows that are a culmination of the art appreciation group’s studies. “So many will say, ‘I’m not creative,’ but it allows them to be playful, show a sense of humor and increases their feeling of worth, especially when someone says, ‘Wow, you made that – That’s beautiful!’” said Debra Labbe, activity director, who began the program nearly four years ago at Cedar Mountain Commons, an independent and assisted living community located at 3 John H. Stewart Drive.

The most recent exhibit included interpretations of Celtic art, Mexican folk art, Tlingit paper piecing, Sol Lewitt, Claude Monet, Takashi Murakami and Jackson Pollack. The artists created the works using paint on canvas and glass, paper, tissue and other materials. Labbe strives to expose them to different styles “from classical masters to the up and coming. Diversity is the key and they never know what they are going to do until they come,” Labbe said. Using the colors and patterns coupled with the older artists’ creativity also supports their cognitive and motor skills.

Featured resident artists included Theresa Bibeault, Barbara Block, Ed Bobko, Connie Cornelio, Jeanne Ericson, Barbara Erskine, Lucille Faenza, Lauretta Hannum, Jane Hilbie, Kate Horstmann, Juliette Jutras, Barbara Kilpatrick, Suzanne Mantel, Eleanor Peterson, Eleanor Poland and Jean Whyte.

Mantel, who moved to Cedar Mountain Commons in February, tried her hand at Mexican folk art and Tlingit paper piecing because she found it easier to handle the materials rather than a paint brush. She has always loved art, especially Marc Chagall, and took many trips in the past to visit art museums with her dear friend, Peggy Gorman, also a Cedar Mountain Commons resident. As an art lover, Mantel thought it would be interesting to try creating her own works and said during the opening reception that she was pleased with her results.

The program has also received outside recognition include the Connecticut Assisted Living Association’s Managed Residential Services Award.

Cedar Mountain Commons is a not for profit independent and assisted living community owned by Hartford Hospital and Jefferson House, and is a member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Health Services. For more information about Cedar Mountain Commons, visit cedarmountaincommons.org.



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