Residents at Fairway View care home were invited to make the first marks on a large scale blank canvas, which was then carried to nearby Park House care home. Once the resident Picassos and Matisses had added their contributions, it was off to Highbury Hospital, where in-patients made the finishing touches to the freeform artwork.
Budding artists were told there were no rules and were encouraged to experiment. Whilst some added their own touches with traditional paint brushes and sponges others chose to get creative with their hands and even their feet. Over 80 people, aged from 65-99, many of them living with dementia, took part in the project.
The painting, which measures 84cm x 119cm, will now hang on the wall at residential and dementia care home Fairway View, on Swale Close, which is operated by Ideal Carehomes. It is rated outstanding by health and social care regulatory body, the CQC.
Local artist Phillip Hearn was so admiring of the brightly-coloured and abstract work that he offered to pay to have it professionally framed.
The project was masterminded by April Towriess, activities coordinator at Fairway View, who is also an artist. A textiles graduate, April took her first role in social care six months ago when she decided she wanted to help during the pandemic.
She said: “This is my first job in care and I honestly can’t believe I get paid to do this. I have so much fun and am able to bring creativity into everything I do with residents at Fairway View.
“Perfectly Pink was the residents’ idea to raise some money for breast cancer research. It was about having fun and collaborating and everyone really enjoyed the ‘anything goes’ ethos behind the work.
“It was lovely to see residents feeling free enough to take off their socks and dip their toes in their paint! I think that freedom can be felt in the final artwork we created – it’s joyful and magnificent.”
Nicola Curzon, activities coordinator, Park House, said: “This was a wonderful project and we were very excited to take part. Everyone who got involved really loved it.
“We look forward to many more collaborations in the future”.
Esther Hepple, occupational therapist, Highbury Hospital said: “Making connections with the community is very important to us and a travelling painting was an imaginative way of enabling us to take part in this wonderful project.”
April, who previously worked as a graphic designer and also runs her own crochet business, hopes this will be the first of many projects Fairway View can coordinate to build links between older people in the community.
The painting raised £65 for the charity Breast Cancer Now throughdonations given via a Just Giving page.