Every three months, residents at The Westchester House in Chesterfield, Missouri, have the chance through the Paint Pal program to choose a new painting to hang on the wall of their rooms.
It may be a painting of flowers, or a cityscape, but no matter the subject, the artwork is always bright and colorful and brings extra cheer to the center.
A volunteer goes to different painting studios in the St. Louis area and collects art to share with local skilled nursing and rehab centers. The artwork comes from studios’ painting parties, and artists leave notes for the residents who choose their artwork.
Residents then gather in the dining room for the volunteer’s special presentation. She brings about 50 paintings and displays them around the room. She also brings a projector and does trivia with the residents, often enjoying clips from old films.
“She spends at least half an hour with them explaining and asking them questions using the microphone,” said Mini Bindra, activity director. “She holds very interesting conversations with the residents.”
After that, residents take turns selecting their favorite painting and get to take the artwork back to their rooms with them. From session to session, residents are welcome to exchange their paintings or keep the one they have been using.
“It’s great and interesting,” said resident Carol Herrick.
“It brings back old memories doing the trivia,” resident Dorothy Luker added.
“It’s different and unique,” said resident Dorothy Easton.
The first Paint Pal program took place in May 2016, with the most recent one in August and one coming up on Nov. 10.
“There is nothing out there like this,” said Bindra. “Even the associates get involved. Everyone has so much fun.”