There is a flurry of activity with an ambitious art project underway at the Franklin Nursing Home in Flushing, Queens. NY Residents are painting murals for the home.
Each design is presented to the administrator for approval, including themes such as pastoral presentations and colonial scenes. Each design is selected with the decor of each floor in mind.
The designs are drawn out on long sheets of paper (white wallpaper). Designs are then sectioned for ease in handling and the residents paint in the colors according to a number code given to each space. Once dry, the strips are connected and hung on the walls. The paints are hand-mixed by the art director, Mary Parrott and all shapes in the design are outlined in bold black felt tip marker.
Two murals have been completed so far and a third is in progress. The murals have a twofold impact on the residents of the nursing home. The first, immediate impact is that of the excitement of participation in the project and the resulting pride in accomplishment. The second is the brightened atmosphere of what were once rather plain rooms. Residents who participated in the art project had this to say:
Mabel Pollard: I think the project is wonderful. It is interesting and gives you time to think. I don't see how the project could be done any better. We have finished two murals and are working on a third. They are beautiful. I like working on the project as it is set up now because I'm learning so much and gaining experience.
Joseph Montecalvo: While I was painting, I wasn't thinking of anything except doing "my job." I used to be pretty good at drawing before I got sick, but now it is better to paint like we did.
Dorothy McDermott: After they told me what they wanted done, I just did my job . . . my part. I think they were satisfied with it. I like it. It is good having it set up the way it is because I can't even draw a straight line.
Mrs. Sylvia Stern, administrator for the facility, commented, 'The patients' pride in achievement is evident. The project seems to help them renew some self-esteem. Regardless of their disabilities, they can still create and contribute. They proudly show off to visitors the sections they did. They each feel their parts were most important to the success of the whole project Their enthusiasm is contagious and it has added meaning to their days. The apathy we may have seen before is being dispelled and disappearing."
A total core of 25 resident workers contributed to the project. Some days, if a few were not feeling up to it other patients took their places temporarily, but about 22-23 of them were constant.