Broadway Gardens Residential home in Bushbury, Wolverhampton, has hosted a week-long intergenerational art project, piloted by the SP8 of the Art Foundation.
"Will I ever forget Sohan and the lady residents and staff dancing to 'Singing in the Rain'. I doubt it!!" Oliver Speight
The Foundation was set up by Oliver Speight, in memory of his son Mark.
Activity Co-ordinator Lorraine Evans met Oliver and together they created the idea of a pilot art scheme that would incorporate different forms of art and all generations. The idea was approved by ExtraCare's Chief Executive, Nick Abbey, and Broadway Gardens' Manager, Jenny Jackson.
Different artists came to the Scheme, along with schoolchildren and other young people from The Royal Wolverhampton School, the 200th Wolverhampton Prince's Trust student group and Northwood Park School.
On the first day of the project, artist Ollie Jones, who exhibits his work in London, Birmingham and Los Angeles, brought the skills of portraiture art to the event. A huge portrait of Frank Sinatra was created by everyone working from a numbered and lettered grid to pastel crayon over 100 squares that were later glued together to complete the portrait.
Sohan Kailey also taught participants some Bhangra dancing. Lorraine said: "Age was no barrier to participation, the floor was crowded with dancers at both the morning and afternoon sessions. It was an absolute joy to observe the interaction between the generations, everyone encouraged and helped each other to join in.
"Thank you to Nick Abbey and Trustee Martin Shreeve who popped in to support our first day and ended up staying to join in! It was difficult to distinguish which one had the most colour over them or was the best dancer? That would be telling!"
Bhangra dancer Sohan Kailey said, "The morning started with a solo Bhangra dance performance by myself dressed in the authentic Indian costume. I then demonstrated basic hand movements and gestures so that the participants could start off with a gentle warm up. The music I used was soothing Punjabi flutes. As this went on I told the story of Bhangra and its agricultural roots. Then we moved onto dance movements and had everyone doing armchair Bhangra. Soon everyone was up on their feet and danced away. It was wonderful watching the students dance along with the elderly. The intergenerational experience worked very well"
The second day involved two more artists: Chris Ryder, a caricaturist based in Telford, and graffiti artist ADee.
Lorraine said: "Chris gave classes in the art of caricature. The concentration was palpable and the multi-generational participants created superb drawings of each other, everyone said they really enjoyed this art form.
"ADee enabled both residents and Prince's Trust students to free their inner artist to create colourful graffiti paintings using aerosols, going on later to join together to graffiti the wall at the bottom of the garden in the theme of 'time moves on, but the heart remains the same' in keeping with ExtraCare's theme for 2013. We predicted that the students would enjoy this art form but were very surprised by the enthusiasm and enjoyment displayed by our residents!
"Thank you to guests attending and supporting our event, Alex Lamb, Keiron & Debbie of Princes Trust & Wolverhampton College and the Express & Star newspaper."
There was a change of plan on the final day of art projects at the Scheme as the artists were stranded due to snow! However, Lorraine explained that the day still went well.
"A truly amazing day evolved starting on schedule with our own Anne Basini leading a multi-generational ceramic class, that enabled everyone to take home a personally painted butterfly or dragonfly much to their delight.
"Ollie Jones returned to teach the skills required to draw eyes and noses and yet again the enjoyment and concentration by all generations involved in the classes was tangible.
"Chris Ryder also returned and continued to teach the art of caricature to residents 'wanting more' and youngsters eager to create images of their piers and our residents, by now all on first name terms (it doesn't take long when the generations mix), lots of laughter in this session.
"Sohan Kailey ended the 3 day event by putting everyone through their dancing paces with colourful Bhangra lessons, it was a lively, fitting closure to what had been three days of wonderful new experiences, social multi-generational interaction and the formation of new partnerships within the community.
Sohan added, "Friday was the grand finale of the project and we had a Bollywood dance display. I took the participants on a journey through the different eras of the Indian Film Industry. We touched upon rock'n'roll, swing, jazz and of course Bollywood."
"Thank you to our lovely Angela Bradford for braving the snow to support our endeavour, for showing so much interest and for sharing our vision."
Lorraine said: "Working with Oliver Speight and the very talented artists has enriched the lives of our residents and left them wanting more... all forms of art will now be a regular part of our activity program.
"Forming new partnerships within the greater community and maintaining our 3 year commitment and partnership with The Prince's Trust will enable us to continue our multi-generational way of life here at Broadway Gardens, we will not allow age to be a barrier to social interaction or new experiences.
"The icing on the cake was a letter of thanks and congratulations for Broadway's and ExtraCare's continuing commitment to The Prince's Trust from HRH Prince Charles.
"We are all smiling .... and planning our next venture!"