Branchlands Community Hosts First Resident Art Show

The Manor House Independent Living was filled with anticipation and excitement on September 14th as residents prepared for the grand opening of the Arts and Crafts Show. As the first art exhibit to be hosted and contributed to by residents at Manor House, the event marked what will likely become an annual Branchlands tradition.

Planting the Seeds

The idea to host an art exhibit was sparked as a way for residents to come together and share their creative works. Of course, any successful event requires the work of a dedicated planning committee. Before long, some of the community’s most artistically-inclined individuals—Gail Stovall, Denise D’Aoust, Carol Riley, and Dianne Waldron—were busy as bees in their exhibit preparations.

The committee made a call for entry in mid-August and quickly began to hear back from residents with one resounding theme: enthusiasm. Before they knew it, residents began submitting artistic works to be considered for the show. Some individuals even submitted a variety of pieces in different mediums! Submissions started rolling in during the first week of September, making evident the exceptional number of artists living under one roof.

Quilows at Art Exhibit.
“Quillows” by Ruth Bishop

An Idea Comes to Fruition

In the days leading up to the exhibit, quilts and paintings were being carefully draped across pieces of furniture. Sketches, poems, woodwork, and ceramics were intentionally placed on shelves and display tables. Simultaneously, the green room’s furniture was rearranged to accommodate the visitors expected during grand opening.

“The [arts and crafts] show got a lot of us going after COVID and the isolation time.”

— Dianne Waldron

It goes without saying that the hard work of everyone involved in the exhibit—from the planning committee to the Branchlands staff and, of course, the artists—paid off. The opening of the reading-room-turned-art-exhibit had a great turnout as supporters enjoyed their friends’ and peers’ previously unrecognized talents.

When asked about the exhibit on opening day, planning committee member Carol Riley beamed with pride. “We have a lot of talent here, so we are really pleased to see that [Manor House residents] could bring it in,” she said. “There’s a really good variety of talents here. We’re very impressed by it.”

Art of All Forms

One of the most notable attributes of the event was the wide variety of mediums featured throughout the exhibit. The 44 artistic pieces included artworks in 17 different mediums, ranging from quilted fabric to ceramics, creative writing, painting, and more. This exceptional spread, likened to the myriad of appetizers available to gallery viewers in the front hall, ensured that every visitor had a piece or series that resonated with them.

“I am just really enthusiastic about the different variety of mediums we got: quilts, hooked rug, quillows…It’s a really good opportunity for all of us to see these,” noted planning committee member Dianne Waldron.

Carved basswood shoe at Art Exhibit.
“Shoe” by Sydney Fink

While everyone has their own artistic preferences, the crowd favorites quickly began to emerge as gallery viewers cycled through the exhibit. Sydney Fink’s wooden “Shoe” playfully showed an adorable mouse escaping from the depths of a boot, inspiring many giggles. Equally exciting were Ruth Bishop’s three “Quillows”: large, quilted blankets composed of beautiful colors that can be strategically folded to create comfortable pillows.

A Diverse Community with Unique Inspirations

Even more impressive than the diverse mediums showcased in the exhibit were the unique inspirations that catalyzed each artist’s creation (or in some cases, creations). On one side of the room, writer Martha Leclére shared a fictional short story based on her daughter’s childhood. The opposite side of the room featured sketch artist Dianne Waldron’s series of seed pods, drawn to commemorate the towering trees next to her previous home.

Graphite seed pods at Art Exhibit.
“Seed Pods” by Dianne Waldron

Dianne elaborated on her inspiration, explaining, “I had these Paulownia trees that grew in my yard. They’re originally from China but are considered a nuisance here in Virginia. With the seed pods crunching under my feet as I walked outside every day, I decided I had to draw them!”

We are incredibly grateful for the wonderful contributions made by residents in this year’s art exhibit.

“Framed Quilt Block” – Quilted Fabric by Arlene Goodyear

“Three Ceramic Pots” – Arlene Goodyear

“Table Runner” – Quilted Fabric by Arlene Goodyear

“Hook Right” – Acrylic Yarn Pieces (2) by Bill Pott

“The Vaulted Sky and Butterflies” – Published Book by Birtha Noer Myers, wife of Joel Myers

“The Golden Spring” – Published Book by Birtha Noer Myers, wife of Joel Myers

“Assorted CDs” – Birtha Noer Myers, wife of Joel Myers

“Teapot and Plate” – Clay by Birtha Noer Myers, wife of Joel Myers

“Untitled” – Watercolor on Paper (2) by Carol Riley

“Window Ledge” – Watercolor on Paper by Carol Riley

“Language of Chairs” – Poem by Charles Kevin Mullin

“Essays” – Charles M. “Tod” Oliver

“Ernest Hemmingway” – Published Book by Charles M. “Tod” Oliver

“Nautical Compass Rose” – Quilted Fabric by Clara Cohrs

“Who Hath a Book” – Oil on Canvas by Denise D’Aoust

“Spring” – Dyes on Silk by Denise D’Aoust

“Elise” – Acrylic on Paper by Denise D’Aoust

“Seed Pods – Paulownia Tree #1” – Graphite on Paper by Dianne Waldron

“Seed Pods – Composition #2” – Graphite on Paper by Dianne Waldron

“Seed Pods – Composition #3” – Graphite on Paper by Dianne Waldron

“Seed Pods – Composition #4” – Graphite on Paper by Dianne Waldron

“Swan” – Pine Wood by Ernie Swanberg

“Canadian Goose” – Pine Wood by Ernie Swanberg

“Dulcimer” – Wormwood and Oak by Ernie Swanberg

“Eider Duck” – Pine Wood by Ernie Swanberg

“Antique Duck Decoy” – Pine Wood by Ernie Swanberg

“Opus I” – Decorated Manipulated Fabric

“Opus II” – Decorated Manipulated Fabric

“Opus III” – Decorated Manipulated Fabric

“By a Hare” – Watercolor on Paper by Gail Stovall

“Dust Bowl” – Watercolor on Paper by Gail Stovall

“A Sunset View” – Watercolor on Paper by Gail Stovall

“Kate’s Dragon” – A Narrative for Children by Martha Leclére

“Butterfly” – Bargello Needlework by Martha Wood

“Navajo Design Inspired” – Bargello Needlework by Martha Wood

“Spoon” – Carved Paulownia by Ruth Bishop

“Quillow” – Quilted Cotton (3) by Ruth Bishop

“Assorted Ornaments” – Assorted Woods by Sydney Fink

“Carved Wooden Chain” – Sydney Fink

“Shoe” – Sydney Fink

“Bowl” – Sydney Fink

“Relief” – Carved Basswood by Sydney Fink

“Santa” – Carved Basswood by Sydney Fink

“Fantasy in Blue” – Beaded Jewelry by Silvia Pellon

Branchlands Senior Living in Charlottesville provides residents with cultural and social activities to nurture each individual’s interests. Learn more about The Manor House Independent Living and Linden House Assisted Living.