There’s always something happening in the art sessions at Rose Baker Senior Center. With help and direction from the indomitably positive and dedicated artist, Juni VanDyke, participants in the art program share their talents and collaborate. Participants join in an amazing amount of creative work and activity and have the opportunity to exhibit their creations. Often they work together as a group toward a final outcome. Three quilt series became monumental and cherished works of public art. (See Kim Smith’s beautiful coverage on Good Morning Gloucester.) When you visit the art studio at Rose Baker you’ll see floor to ceiling examples of their creations. For the past few years, dolls have been blooming up the studio wall and steadily and similarly building into a kind and social public art project. Now it’s a mission for art and healing that’s reached beyond Gloucester and Cape Ann.
Juni Van Dyke shared the photographs in this post and writes about the iteration of this project:
“Two years ago, Lois Stillman, a regular participant in the Art Program at the Senior Center, shared an idea with our Monday art group. The idea became known as “The Endearing Doll Project” — “endearing” because the hand-made doll that Lois introduced to us was just that…endearing. By way of Lois’ initial instruction, the dolls began to multiply with a serious purpose: the dolls would be created for the comfort of children undergoing cancer treatment at Dana Farber. Later, more dolls…(baskets of dolls!) would be delivered to elderly residents at Golden Living and SeaCoast. Still later, more dolls…(armfuls of dolls!) would join volunteers headed to The Dominican Republic where children who have little in the way of playthings would receive them. The “Endearing Dolls” became known as “The Have a Heart Dolls”. To accurately describe the artwork attributed to each individual doll, (over four hundred dolls to date!) one would have to exhaust every synonym in a thesaurus under the heading “beautiful”. Indeed, the dolls are beautiful with exquisite individual attention given to detail: lace trimmings, velvet ribbons, eyelet petticoats, knitted caps, stylized tresses, etc. But the “Have a Heart Dolls” are so much more than beautiful works of art. These dolls, with their purpose of bringing comfort and cheer, are a definitive source of love.” Participants in the “Have a Heart Doll Project” are: Lois Dench, Judy Menicocci, Mary Noons, Maggie Rosa, Carmella Scola, Emily Soule, Ida Spinola, Lois Stillman, Teddy Talbot, Connie Troisi, Juni VanDyke, and Susan Wright
To help with the dolls or other projects and learn more about the art program: Council On Aging (COA) Rose Baker Senior Center Art Program. The mission statement under the direction of Juni VanDyke: To connect Gloucester Senior Citizens to their community through worthwhile art projects while encouraging artistic individuality and collaboration.
Gloucester … A Community of Neighborhoods will be on view at the Cape Ann Museum through the month of January.
All Cape Ann residents are welcome free of charge during the month!
Gloucester … A Community of Neighborhoods is an ongoing exhibition of quilts made by members of the Rose Baker Senior Center under the direction of artist Juni Van Dyke. The thirteen quilts on display were recently donated to the Museum by the Art Program at the Rose Baker Senior Center and are now part of the Museum’s permanent collection.
Gloucester … A Community of Neighborhoods began in 2007 as a collaborative art project celebrating Gloucester’s diversity. Following the completion of a 30-foot long series of quilts celebrating the American landscape (From Sea to Shining Sea, now permanently installed at the Rose Baker Senior Center), the group went ahead with what program director Juni Van Dyke admits felt like a daunting task. Since then, with an ongoing invitation from the Art Program at the Rose Baker Senior Center, nearly one hundred participants – primarily Senior Citizens – from every corner of the community, have enthusiastically participated in the project commonly referred to as “The Neighborhood Quilt Project.” The project has since grown to include quilts representing thirteen neighborhoods – from Lanesville to Eastern Point, Magnolia to Brier Neck – with a fourteenth now in progress.
“From the very beginning” Van Dyke says, “my assurance to all was that one need not to have attended art school to create beautiful works of art…. What is necessary is time and passion.” Fabric, both accessible and forgiving, proved an ideal medium for the project, allowing for imaginative and expressive approaches to the work. While most of the participants had not had any formal art training, many of the accepted principals of fine art – balance, contrast, harmony, composition – are apparent in the works in this exhibition. As Van Dyke puts it, “the Senior’s (mostly intuitive) utilization of these principles, tethered to their tenacity, spirit of participation, and devotion to place is inspirational and helps to inform the definition of what it means to be an artist.”
In conjunction with this exhibition, Juni Van Dyke will present an illustrated talk on Saturday, January 16 at 3:00 p.m. in the Cape Ann Museum auditorium. The program will be free and open to the public.
Another word about Rose Baker Senior Center. They really have some amazing things going on there. Juni Vandyke does an incredible job with the art program at the Senior Center. At top are the wonderful portraits some of the seniors have done under her direction. They have a marvelous singing program, which my mother, who sang in the choir most of her life, really loves because they sing for the joy of it, not under the gun of having to learn a cantata or new music for an upcoming service. There are also some serious card sharks there, both men and women. These three gentlemen were just starting their rummie game when I asked if I could take their picture. One man said they had a seat open and I could join them. I told them I didn’t know how to play and they would just take all of my money. One replied that they could make it strip poker instead. Some things never change with age (thank God).
To me the most wonderful program they offer is the Adult Supportive Day program, which my mother is now involved with. It operates Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00am to 2:30pm and offers a secure, fun, engaging, loving environment where I feel very comfortable leaving my mother, and she enjoys. If you are a caregiver for a parent or older relative, or are a senior who wants to get out of the house and enjoys being with other really friendly, lovely people, look into the Adult Supportive Day program. It has given me the respite I really needed to have some time for myself, and has given my mother the opportunity to be with peers, make new friends, and do things she enjoys independent of me. It is a Godsend.
Also, don’t forget Monday, July 6, The Ole Salty Jazz Band returns to the Senior Center from 1:00-3:00pm. They are great musicians and play lively music to dance to. I already have a couple of guys on my dance card, but more are welcome. All are welcome, and it a great way to break up your Monday with some movement, good music and fun.
Rocky Neck Neighborhood Quilt Unveiling
Sunday, October 26, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester.
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck is pleased to host the unveiling of The Rocky Neck Neighborhood Quilt on Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 4pm.
The Rocky Neck Quilt is one of twelve finished quilts created for the project:
“Gloucester… A Community of Neighborhoods.” The quilts were created with community participation led by Gloucester Senior Citizens in The Art Program at The Rose Baker Senior Center. The collaboration bears testimony to the truth that the gift of creativity resides within us all. The unveiling reception is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, the official Welcome Center for Rocky Neck and home of the Art Colony, hosts exhibitions, workshops, meetings, lectures and cultural events of all kinds. The Center accommodates up to 100 people. For information about renting the facility for a meeting, theatrical or musical performance, a small wedding or anniversary, both private or for the community, contact the coordinator at email@example.com
Juni Van Dyke and Maggie Rosa discuss design elements of the Eastern Point panel.
Yesterday I had the joy to meet Juni Van Dyke and several members of the Rose Baker Senior Center art class. Juni and her students are working on a project titled Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods. Each fabric panel measures approximately five-foot square and illustrates through iconic imagery characteristics unique to Gloucester neighborhoods. The banner’s design in it’s entirety, along with the individual artist’s whimsical designs and choice of fabrics, is utterly captivating and a vibrant visual feast.
Maggie’s extraordinary interpretation of the archetypical Beauport window. The window’s mullions frame a collection of antique glass in varying shades of lavender to deep grape.
This is not the first grand scale project of it’s kind created by Juni and the fiber artists at the Senior Center. The banner titled From Sea to Shining Sea: Celebration of the American Landscape that is currently on view at the Senior Center lunchroom was also exhibited at the Lexington Heritage Center for six months, and it measures nine feet in height by thirty feet in width.
Lois Stillman’s elegant rendition of the birch tree clump at Niles Pond.
Eastern Point panel detail with Mother Ann and butterflies.
I am honored to have been invited to create a butterfly for the Eastern Point panel although I think they have it beautifully covered. The whimsical swirl of butterflies in the upper left corner was created by students at the Eastern Point Day School and the charming and detailed Monarchs fluttering around Beauport by Maggie Rosa.
Lois stands in front of the panel she designed. Note her genius interpretation of the Abram Piatt Andrew Bridge, replete with cars (click photo to see larger version) and including Nichols Candy House. Her deep love of trees is apparent in the exquisitely skilled manner she has stitched and pieced many different species of trees created for the panels.
As the work on Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods unfolds we’ll bring you more stories and detailed photos about this vibrant and captivating work of art in progress–there are simply too many beautiful tales to tell in one post!
Juni and Priscilla ~ Sunlight streams through the large picture windows of the second floor art room at the Rose Baker Senior Center.
Pauline, Juni, and Maggie
Juni and Maggie
Flu Shots-Rose Baker Senior Center
There is enough vaccine for everyone who wants one to get one.
Rose Baker Senior Center
6 Manuel F. Lewis Street
Thursday October 14, 2010
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Seasonal Flu and H1N1 Vaccines are combined shots this year.
Please bring your Medicare and Senior HMO cards.
Please wear a short sleeved shirt.
Public Health Fact Sheet-Flu
The Gloucester Democratic City Committee, though its Public Service Committee, is publicizing and supporting the City of Gloucester’s Medications Disposal Program. Specifically, several of us will help collect outdated and used medications this Saturday, June 13, from 10 to 12, at the Rose Baker Senior Center Parking Lot. The Center is located at 6 Manuel F. Lewis Street in downtown Gloucester.
As you may know, keeping unused medications on hand is a public health risk, especially if they’re found by children and young people. Flushing medications down the toilet is bad for both public health and the environment.
Please check your own medicine cabinet for old medications, both prescription and over-the-counter items. Vitamins, veterinary medications, narcotics, pills, and liquids will also be accepted. This material will be appropriately destroyed by the Gloucester Police Department. (Other items – such as syringes, needles, thermometers, IV bags, personal care products, empty containers, and the like – will not be accepted.)
Please also pass the word to friends and neighbors. We hope to see you Saturday morning! Thank you.
Chair, GDCC Public Service Committee