Brandywine Living Expands the “Life Through Art — My Story” Program

Artworks were influenced by events and encounters that celebrated participants’ lives and past recollections.

Ellen “Eileen” Gessner, resident of Brandywine Living at Voorhees, poses in front of her artwork with Dona Duncan, PAFA Instructor.

Following the success of their pilot program earlier this year, Brandywine Living and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) continued their collaborative art program, “Life Through Art — My Story,” for their residents at three of Brandywine’s South Jersey communities in Moorestown, Haddonfield and Voorhees.

Brandywine’s on-site, customized six-week program, facilitated by PAFA affiliated instructors, was designed to bring about breakthroughs in personal artistic expression for participants. Artworks were created that were influenced by events and encounters that celebrated participants’ lives and past recollections.

The program culminated in an exhibit held at Brandywine Living at Voorhees on Tuesday, Nov. 29, where residents from all three communities came together to celebrate, exhibit their work and mingle.

“Look at Fran when she was young!” exclaimed one resident, pointing to her friend’s storyboard.

Another, Eileen Gessner, posted a heartfelt thanks on her personal Facebook page after the event. “I must applaud the PAFA instructor, Dona Duncan, who came every week and instructed us, encouraged us, and challenged us to reach for the sky, even those residents like myself who never had art before,” she wrote. “We thank everyone from Brandywine who worked tirelessly in the preparation of the art exhibit. It was a great day!!”

The “Life Through Art — My Story” exhibit will be on display at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from Thursday, Dec. 1 through Saturday, Dec. 31 at the Historic Landmark Building on North Broad Street in Philadelphia.