|October 25, 2013||Seniors Showcase Life Work at Kaleidoscope of the Arts Show||no comments|
|October 03, 2013||Active Seniors Lead Project to Build Scenic Viewing Platform||no comments|
|October 01, 2013||New Paltz Artist Sculpts Statue for Sojourner Truth Memorial||no comments|
Creativity and emotion embodied several works of art on display at the annual Kaleidoscope of the Arts show on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents of Woodland Pond were eager to share their life work and creative spirit with neighbors, friends, family and the public. Everything from books, jams, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and carvings were on display. Many of the items on display were also available for purchase. Dick Barry, a resident of Woodland Pond, premiered his latest novel, Experiencing Woodland Pond, at the Kaleidoscope and signed copies sold. Additionally, there was a bake sale and gift basket raffle. The proceeds from the bake sale and raffle benefited the Woodland Pond Foundation, which serves residents at the Woodland Pond community.
“Experiencing Woodland Pond is a personal memoir of laughing, learning, loving and living in a continuing care retirement community, and I was very excited for its premiere,” said Barry. “It is a wonderful book about my experience to move to a senior living community; the move itself, meeting new people in the community and the lifestyle at Woodland Pond. This is one of seven novels I have completed during my retirement. I finished this book in mid-September.”
Barry had his other six books on display as well: Crosscurrents, The Qualities of Mercy, Personal Wars, An Inappropriate Death, An Evil’s Vortex, and Infinite Gestures. He also had his latest novella, History of the Smiling Young Lord, available as well. Barry has found that writing has brought him a lot of joy in his retirement. He writes five days a week for at least three hours a day. He was excited to share his passion with others at the Kaleidoscope show.
“Woodland Pond is an incredibly diverse community filled with dynamic and interesting individuals,” said Barry. “The Kaleidoscope of the Arts demonstrates to the wider community that Woodland Pond is filled with talented seniors that are still creatively active. This art show portrays the livelihood and vibrancy that fills this community.”
“This is such a colorful and interesting event, and one to which all of the staff and residents look forward to each year,” said Robert Seidman, executive director of Woodland Pond. “The Kaleidoscope of the Arts gives the residents the opportunity to showcase their passion, their work and their talent. We all enjoyed this year’s showcase and the premiere of Dick’s book as well.”
Retirement for some seniors is a chance to do something good with their time, something they may not have otherwise done if they were still committed to Monday through Friday jobs. Residents at Woodland Pond, a senior living community in New Paltz, are taking advantage of this newfound free time by initiating a project that they hope will enhance the lives of fellow residents. This group of residents sought to build a scenic viewing platform at the end of a natural trail that extends from the back of the community down to a small pond. The committee of residents that executed the project hosted a dedication ceremony on September 24 during National Active Aging Week. Douglas McBride, Trina Greene, Ray Smith and Anne Smith, all leaders of the project, enjoyed the ceremony and are encouraging everyone to check out the new platform.
“I was in the wooded area where the viewing platform would eventually be built, walking alongside the conservation stewardship officer from Wallkill Valley Land Trust, when the idea of building a viewing platform came to mind,” said Doug McBride, a resident at Woodland Pond. “I really enjoy spending time outdoors and I feel it is important to explore the world around us. I like to go down there by the pond and observe the wildlife, insects, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, migrating water fowl and the beavers that call the pond home. I initiated the project, as I wanted to share my experiences with others so they too could enjoy what I have come to love. It also gives the residents an opportunity to do something active.”
The Woodland Pond Residents Council started the Mill Brook Preserve Committee in February 2011. In May the committee decided to initiate the viewing platform project. The whole process took two years to complete. The Bruderhof, a community that performs pro bono public service, provided the labor for the project. Trina Greene, a resident at Woodland Pond and current chair of the committee, led the fundraising efforts and was able to collect $5,000 from 50 residents in 3 weeks for this project. The money went toward the required materials to build the platform.
“We have a gorgeous pond behind the community that is deep down in the woods,” expressed Ray Smith, a resident at Woodland Pond. “The trail existed before we built the platform and the actual building of the platform did not take very long at all. There were a lot of approvals, applications, fundraising, building permits and other forms of red tape that extended the length of the project. We are all delighted that the project is finally finished. I’ve taken many residents down there to see the platform and the scenic view already. I am eager to share this with anyone that I can.”
The committee purchased two benches with the remaining funds for the purpose of offering places to stop and rest on the way to the platform. One bench is placed at the trailhead, and the other is halfway between the trailhead and the platform. The platform itself has two built-in benches. The platform will have a plaque honoring The Bruderhof. One of the benches will have a plaque honoring the residents who made the platform possible.
“It is beautiful and well constructed,” said Anne Smith, a resident at Woodland Pond. “Everyone worked really hard on the project and it shows. We wanted to give people a place to go that is beautiful, peaceful and quiet. Birdwatchers will appreciate it, as well as those who are fond of nature. We also wanted to encourage people to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.”
“This new viewing platform is an excellent feature for residents to enjoy,” said Robert Seidman, executive director at Woodland Pond. “We are all very impressed by the committee’s work and devotion to the project. Their motivation made this idea a reality.”
Trina Greene, a resident of Woodland Pond, was commissioned to create a sculpture of an 11-year-old slave named Isabella, who would grow up to become Sojourner Truth, a nationally known activist for equal rights and truth. Greene sculpted the statue using her imagination and research, as no photographs of Isabella exist. The Town of Esopus is hoping her creative work will make a statement about children and slavery and that the memorial will serve as a commemoration for Truth, as she spent much of her childhood and part of her adult life in Ulster County.
The memorial committee hopes that depicting a life size version of this young girl will help further educate people, especially children, on the cruelty of slavery. The Sojourner Truth Memorial Dedication was held on Saturday, September 21 at 2 pm. Nancy Giles, an Emmy Award-winning on-air contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning was the guest speaker at the event. Music was performed by the Amadu Diallo Drum Group, a musical group noted for African drums.
“I worked from pictures of the African people of Kau and pictures of Truth as an older woman, as there weren’t any available photographs of her as a slave child,” said Trina Greene, a resident of Woodland Pond. “Photography did not exist during this era, and even if it did, no one would have been interested in capturing the picture of a slave child. My imagination and research guided much of this project.”
The sculpture portrays Isabella walking and carrying two jugs, one labeled rum and the other is blank, as she was often sent to buy what her master required. She has closely cropped curly hair, is walking barefoot and is wearing a burlap dress that hits right above the knee. There are not buttons on the dress as slave children wore clothes that were merely pinned together most of the time. The back of her dress is pulled apart slightly to show scars from being beaten with heated rods by her master, John Neely. Neely severely beat her because she only knew how to speak Dutch and couldn’t speak English. With her baggy sleeves pulled up her arms, she walks with a look of innocence and determination on her face, a look that says she is the one that is going to make the better life for herself, because no one else would or could do that for her.
“Working on this sculpture for four months lead me to moments of reflection on who this young girl would grow up to be and what a role model she had become for so many people,” expressed Greene. “That a child from an early age could have such a proud sense of identity and a sense that she was not molded by her circumstances, really inspired me and made me appreciate the woman Truth had become that much more. Truth was self-contained, strong, confident, possessed innocence and was not embittered or warped by her abusive circumstances.”
Green has been sculpting since her early ‘30s. She attended Boston Museum School and majored in painting. However, she preferred three dimensional arts, so she pursued sculpting. She had taken a few sculpture classes at school, but is almost exclusively self-taught. She did not want someone else critiquing her work, so she decided to develop her skill on her own and critique her own work. Greene has been sculpting for 30 years, with many of her pieces belonging to museums and private collections.
“I am honored to have been selected to sculpt the statue of Isabella for the memorial,” said Greene. “I had not been a part of a celebration like this before and I was very excited to meet people who have a deep love for the work and life of Sojourner Truth. The celebration commemorated Truth’s life’s work for women’s rights, emancipation, abolition and justice.”
Fellow residents and staff members at Woodland Pond supported Trina and her work on the memorial. The senior living community scheduled transportation for residents from Woodland Pond to the Sojourner Truth Memorial Dedication for added convenience.
“Many of the residents were eager to see what Trina had been working on for the past 16 weeks,” said Sarah Hull, Resident Service Director at Woodland Pond. “This was a historical experience for everyone. It was also a way for us to support Trina and show her how much we value her as a neighbor, a friend and a person. We all enjoyed seeing the completed sculpture of Isabella and attending the dedication.”