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Honens Prize Laureate Nicolas Namoradze performs for residents

Honens Prize Laureate Nicolas Namoradze performs for residents

Listening to an exceptionally talented pianist or putting a paintbrush to canvas touch only a small part of the extensive list of programs that United offers the residents of our Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. Thanks to United’s partnerships, residents will be heading out to see the St. Mary’s University Choir, Calgary Civic Symphony, Lunchbox Theatre, Mount Royal Conservatory’s Sounds of the Season, Calgary Jazz Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. Some high-calibre performances will be coming to United’s theatres as well. On top of all that, both communities will be hosting a door decorating contest as well as multiple bus tours of Calgary’s best Christmas light displays. Due in large part to these many and various programs and events, there is much for residents to enjoy over the course of the chilly winter months.

“Aging in an engaged and creative way opens the doors to so many new experiences and social connections. We’re finding that age is no barrier to creativity,” said Kim Coulter, United’s creative expressions manager. “United provides the right atmosphere and opportunity for residents to express themselves. Our philosophy is to encourage residents to do that through the arts: singing, music, drawing, painting, dance, pottery and sculpture, plus the opportunity to attend professional and amateur performances both outside the community and in our own theatres.”

Resident Mary Fenwick performs with the Calgary Youth Orchestra

Resident Mary Fenwick performs with the Calgary Youth Orchestra

United’s extensive list of programs, including specialty programs and events, partnership events with many of Calgary’s art and cultural organizations and regular programs, sets United apart.

“At United, being creative isn’t a hobby or a way to pass the time. It’s a way of life,” said Monica Schmidt, program coordinator at United’s Garrison Green community. “We have professional artists on staff who provide support for every level, from those who have never picked up a brush or a handful of clay, to residents who were attracted to United because they can continue their lifelong passion for art.”

 

 

Resident Con Irving's owl carving hangs in the Fish Creek art gallery

Resident Con Irving’s owl carving hangs in the Fish Creek art gallery

United has fully stocked art studios at both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities, plus art galleries to display resident artworks as well as showings of professional work. Not only is it fun, but expression through the  arts can have health benefits researchers are just starting to understand.

As well, participation in the arts encourages connecting with others and making new friends – a cornerstone of United’s philosophy. Research shows that older adults who are the most socially engaged remain healthy and active. Communities develop when people get to make their own choices and when residents are active, learning new things and participating in community events that they find interesting and stimulating.

United’s comprehensive guides of upcoming specialty and ongoing programs at both communities are available online. Each contains about 40 pages of programs so that residents and their families can see what’s available and make plans to participate. Monica says, “Working together with other departments, the creative team is able to brainstorm unique themes to guide programming ideas for each month. In this way, we are able to avoid falling into a rut of repetitive offerings month after month and instead, keep our programming fresh and interesting.”

Both guides are online at these links:

Garrison Green program link

Fish Creek program link

“When you see everything written down in one location, you realize just how extensive the programs are,” said Kim. “It’s what makes living in a United community exciting and fun. There’s always something new and the programs are changing and evolving all the time based on resident input.”

Photos by Sherana Productions, United Active Living, Mount Royal Conservatory.
Video by Sherana Productions

Ask us about our short-term respite stays.

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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Resident Kay Kuwahara checks out the merchandise

Resident Kay Kuwahara checks out the merchandise

The annual fibre arts sale at United’s Garrison Green community raised about $1,200 for four Calgary charities. The sale ran for two days last week and sold a wide range of hand-made gifts produced by more than a dozen residents – all members of the Fibre Arts Club.

The residents knitted, crocheted, cross-stitched and quilted to produce hundreds of one-of-a-kind items perfect for Christmas giving.

Trudy Martin, who has lived at Garrison Green for four years, said the club is a great way to make friends and introduce new residents to the community. “The club is a great part of this community. Some of us are here alone, so there’s a social aspect. And to be able to do what I love and create something useful, I think that’s terrific.”

Trudy Martin gets a table ready for the sale

Trudy Martin gets a table ready for the sale

Trudy’s specialty is knit shopping bags, which were a big hit at the sale. Her daughter, Rose Thomas, often comes into Calgary and helps at the club and at the sale.

Resident Louise Dean has been at Garrison Green for a year and a half. This was her first sale. “It went very well. A sale like this is an excellent idea. It’s nice to see our work put to good use. I contributed scarves, hats and dishcloths. The very first person I met when I was thinking about moving in was Trudy, and she asked ‘Do you knit?’ I said I crochet, so she immediately invited me to the Fibre Arts Club. It’s a great way to make new friends.”

The club holds two sales a year, with all money raised going to four charities they support – Children’s Cottage SocietyWomen in Need Society, the Calgary Food Bank and the Women’s Centre Calgary.

Each charity will receive $325 from last week’s sale, with unsold items also donated.

Ask us about our short-term respite stays and other short-stay options.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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Anthony and Rolande Parel with one of Rolande's paintings

Anthony and Rolande Parel with one of Rolande’s paintings

Choosing to live at United’s Garrison Green was a natural one for Rolande Parel and husband Anthony. United’s art programs and well-equipped art studio allowed Rolande to continue to focus on her artwork.

She learned to paint as a child while under the watchful eye of several of the prestigious Group of Seven painters who were interested in encouraging artistically talented children. Eventually, she found she had a natural talent, which she continues to put to use in her new home.

“My family moved from Montreal to Vancouver when I was in grade one,” said Rolande. “I took the ferry to Victoria every Saturday morning to attend a children’s art school, which was supported by members of the Group of Seven. They weren’t famous at the time, but I remember I used to paint floral pictures a certain way, which they liked and encouraged.”

The Group of Seven were among Canada’s most famous artists. They came together in 1920 and continued until 1933.

When the members of the Group of Seven weren’t available, their wives taught the classes. “When my family returned to Montreal a couple of years later, J.E.H. MacDonald’s widow gave me three postcards of his and other members’ paintings, wishing me the best in my art pursuits. Those postcards are among my most treasured possessions.” While in Montreal Rolande continued to follow her interest in painting at the Montreal Museum of Art where Arthur Lismer, also of the Group of Seven, directed the classes.

In those early years, and for a short time after, Rolande modelled her painting style after the Group of Seven, who developed a unique Canadian landscape style. Eventually she became a teacher, and taught art classes, as well as other subjects, at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir school in Okotoks, and later for the Calgary Separate School Board. “However, I always used my artistic training as part of my teaching method as a way to illustrate concepts,” said Rolande.

Rolande's painting of Castle Mountain

Rolande’s painting of Castle Mountain

She learned about United’s approach to the creative arts while visiting Garrison Green with a friend, who was lecturing on creative aging. “We came to live here in 2018 after I broke my hip. We couldn’t live in our home anymore because of the stairs. We looked for a place that had an art room that was cozy and welcoming,” she said.

“I started with the techniques I learned as a child, but when I came here I felt free to expand and develop my own style. It was United’s creative facilitators, who are all trained artists, who were instrumental in challenging me to express myself beyond what I had been doing.”

United has been described by another resident as “heaven for artists”. Rolande agrees, and she has developed deep friendships with several other artists. Their circle is growing as more people show an interest in developing their creativity. “You can’t teach creativity. It comes from within,” said Rolande. “But you can create an atmosphere where it is able to flourish. The facilitators provide such an atmosphere.” 

Many of Rolande's paintings deck the halls at Garrison Green

Many of Rolande’s paintings deck the halls at Garrison Green

Rolande continues to paint whatever strikes her imagination. “Sometimes I’ll go back to the Group of Seven style I grew up with, and I’ll paint a landscape or flowers. Other times it will be interesting things my children or grandchildren are doing – a snowball fight or a dance class. When you have a scene in your imagination and it comes out the way you think it should, that is very satisfying.”

For Rolande, that feeling of making her imagination come to life never gets old.

 

 

Ask us about our short-term respite stays and other short-stay options.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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“Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy yarn, which is kind of the same thing.” – Anonymous

Trudy Martin knitting at a meeting of the Fibre Arts Club

Trudy Martin knitting at a meeting of the Fibre Arts Club

Garrison Green’s Fibre Arts Club is one of the busiest groups in the community. Sitting together each Monday to knit, crochet and quilt has built up friendships and created a strong community.

“Do you knit?” Trudy Martin says it’s one of the first questions she asks new residents. “It’s a great way to introduce yourself and something lots of others have in common. Many of us have lost our spouses, so a club like this is an excellent way to make new friends.”

Trudy moved into Garrison Green four years ago, and often knits with her two daughters, Rose Thomas and Terri Cassidy,  when they are in town. Both are also knitters who learned the art as children.

“I’ve been knitting since I was in Brownies,” said Trudy. “At that time, you could knit to earn a badge. As my children grew, they also went to Brownies and learned to knit.”

Rose and Terri often come to Calgary to visit with their mother, and are very involved in the Fibre Arts Club. “This is a special way to stay connected when we do not live close,” said Rose. ” I have friends and cousins who have also contributed ideas and patterns to the club. I find the group at Garrison Green are amazing ladies.  I enjoy their company on my visits. They made me feel welcome from the first time I joined them.  It is great to see their efforts assist a variety of charities in Calgary. The knitting, crocheting and quilting keeps them engaged in a meaningful way.  All the members contribute their talents.”

Trudy, right and daughter Rose Thomas at last year's Fibre Arts sale

Trudy, right, and daughter Rose Thomas at last year’s Fibre Arts sale

Learning to knit, crochet, quilt or do needlepoint are fine arts that many people are no longer familiar with. But as an older adult, these art forms were commonplace and hold an important place in their lives.

“I’m always looking for new patterns, to find something new and different to make for the sale,” said Trudy.

The Fibre Arts Club holds two sales a year, with all money raised going to four charities they support – Children’s Cottage Society, Women in Need Society, the Mustard Seed and Sonshine Community Services. The sale this year will be on Nov. 20 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. , continuing Nov. 23 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Garrison Green community. So if you’re looking for that perfect gift –  potholders, dishcloths and towels, scarves or mittens, shopping bags – friends and family are welcome to stop by and pick up a Christmas gift or two, all for a worthy cause.

“Friendship is what I get out of being part of the club,” said Trudy. “I’m alone now, except when my girls come to visit, so being part of a group like this and part of a larger community is really important to me.”

 

Ask us about our short-term respite stays and other short-stay options.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions, Trudy Martin

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!

 

 


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United’s arts and cultural partners will once again display their talents to residents of both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities as the autumn program guides highlight events and programs from September through November.

The expansive Fish Creek courtyard was turned into a giant game board

The Fish Creek courtyard was recently turned into a temporary giant game board

“United has always taken pride in the wide variety of speciality programs and ongoing, regular programs that we offer residents of both communities,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program development and creative expressions manager. “We work closely with residents to determine the type of programs and outings they would like us to make available. And it’s clear that residents appreciate  the range of educational and entertainment options available.”

United’s arts and culture partners offer residents the best music, theatre and educational programs both outside the communities and during more intimate performances within our communities.

Lifelong learning is one of our guiding themes at United,” said Monica Schmidt, program development coordinator, Garrison Green. “When residents move here, they may choose to continue to pursue a lifelong interest, explore new concepts or delve back into an interest that had taken a back seat. Regardless, there are a great many options available within our unique programming.”

Honens Laureate Nicolas Namoradze

Honens Laureate Nicolas Namoradze

Lifelong learning options include in-house programs such as music appreciation discussions, TED Talks, resident choirs, art workshops, educational lectures, fitness classes and a variety of outings. On top of this, partnerships with professional organizations throughout the city bring performances into the two communities. The Calgary Jazz Orchestra will perform for residents this fall, and residents will attend other partner performances such as the Calgary Philharmonic. One of the highlights in September will be a performance for residents by the new Honens Laureate, Nicolas Namoradze.

“Learning new things doesn’t stop at a certain age,” said Kim. “Learning continues throughout your life, and our in-house programs and outings promote an active, stimulating lifestyle that you won’t find anywhere else.”

A significant part of United’s ongoing programs centres around the two community art studios. Supported by professional artists, residents are encouraged to explore new art forms and use their imaginations to create paintings, sculptures and other works of art that are regularly displayed in the two art galleries.

The fall program guides together offer almost 60 pages of events, programs and outings, with a special emphasis on the arts.

View or download the Garrison Green community fall program guide.

View or download the Fish Creek community fall program guide.

Photos by Honens, United Active Living, Sherana Productions. Video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.


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Eugene Stickland and cellist Morag Northey performing at Garrison Green

Eugene Stickland and cellist Morag Northey performing at Garrison Green

Telling someone’s life story in an hour is a daunting task, but through a combination of narration and a cellist/singer who wrings an emotional performance from her instrument, a very unexpected and pleasing performance results.

As part of United’s commitment to the arts, the Garrison Green community invited cellist Morag Northey and Calgary playwright Eugene Stickland to perform. Morag is a talented performer and has countless credits to her name. She has played with the Calgary Philharmonic and taught others through her classes at Mount Royal University. This month she debuted with the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra, and will perform with the Hershey Symphony this fall. In 2015 she won the Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Theatrical Composition.

Her lifelong love for the cello is evident in her playing. She raises a variety of sounds that complement the highs and lows of Eugene’s storytelling.

Eugene Stickland and Morag Northey rehearsing at Garrison Green

Eugene and Morag rehearsing

“I met Eugene during the production of Queen Lear, a play he had written for Joyce Doolittle for her 80th birthday in 2009. Joyce starred in the play and I played cello to punctuate her emotions,” said Morag.

She originally wrote her emotional life story as a series of concerts, but in 2016 worked with Eugene to retell her story in a much shorter, hour-long performance called 17 – When Emptiness Turns Inside Out.

“I invited Eugene to the Wells, B.C. Sunset Theatre Artist Exploration Series as my Dramaturge for a former project.  We performed a showcase at the end of the time and having Eugene’s distinctive male voice added balance to what could be a female heavy vibe. The truth is, my story belongs to all of us. 17 can be likened to the body of an iceberg where over 90% of its volume (and mass) lies underwater.”

The two of them created a polished production that combines poetry, prose, cello, song, storytelling and improvisation to relate the range of harrowing experiences Morag lived through in her early life and her various attempts to find light in the darkness. In 17, the cello, the voice and the story are equal partners in the play.

“It took us about two weeks to create the performance out of Morag’s original concert production,” said Eugene. Morag said she survived some potentially devastating atrocities and recognizes that having a balance of male and female voices is an important part of her story. “I think it was important to have a male storyteller, to create a male-female balance,” said Eugene. Balance plays an important part in the performance. The difficult emotional episodes are countered with humour, and Morag uses song and her cello to perfection to insert sound effects – whale songs, the voice of a golden eagle and a babbling brook – as exclamation points in the narrative.

17 is a musical memoir. I wrote and composed it as a suite of nine poetic pieces, each offering a glimpse into significant moments, markers or turning points that shaped my view of life and my place in it,” said Morag. “17 marks a unique genre. You could also call it a theatrical concert.”

“Life is a journey, and when you think of it in those terms, it all becomes manageable,” said Morag. “The cello pulled me through this life. It’s been with me in the worst moments alone in the dark. What I realized is that I could view this nothingness as a gift and the gift was that I had the power to choose what I would allow back in. I could choose a new life, a new way.” Her new way took her to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago with her cello on her back. She stopped along the way to play when requested by others. Later, Morag struck out on a four-day vision quest with the help of Blackfoot elders. She came away from the experience with a renewed hope. “After everything, I am alive!”

“It’s a very courageous piece,” said Eugene, who has recently been nominated for the Order of Canada. “There are parts of her journey that we need to hear. Many women have come up to her after the performance to say that they too identify with her experiences.”

“Despite its darkness, the story reminds us that we can move on, embrace our stories, share our stories and move on together,” said Morag.

Morag Northey, left, with Joyce Doolittle and Eugene Stickland

Morag Northey, left, with Joyce Doolittle and Eugene Stickland

The performance at Garrison Green left the audience wanting more. Most were struck by how versatile the cello can be. Many stayed to ask questions. “I thought it was fantastic!” said resident Wendy Martin. “The balance between Eugene and Morag was exceptional. They played off of each other very well. And she really brought the cello to life!”

Joyce Doolittle, who won the Order of Canada for her work in theatre, has known both Eugene and Morag for many years. She was instrumental in inviting them perform at Garrison Green. “The most important thing in the work is to share your talents, ” said Joyce. “Eugene and Morag are incredible talents. You could hear the sadness and the joy throughout. It wasn’t a concert or recital, and it wasn’t a play. It was a combination of several types of performances.”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.


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Joan Clark uses words to express herself creatively. In fact, over the course of her career she has published 16 books. Along the way, she has been recognized through a number of awards for her work in helping to shape writing in Canada. In 2010, she was awarded the Order of Canada.

“As a child I was always making up stories,” said Joan. “When I was maybe five or six years old, I recall having my toys have long conversations with each other, but I really didn’t start writing in earnest until about 22.”

She was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia and grew up in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It was while attending Acadia University’s drama program in Wolfville, Nova Scotia that she began to write. “I was an English Major but never really wrote,” she laughs. After graduating, she published two books – in 1968 and 1971 – but she considers The Hand of Robin Squires, published in 1977 as her first novel. “My dad would talk about the mystery of Oak Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, so I set about to write a fictionalized story about the rumours of buried treasure there.”

A few of Joan's 16 published works

A few of Joan’s 16 published works

Joan lived in Edmonton for a time, where she started the literary publication, Dandelion, with another author and attended university. She also served as president of the Writer’s Guild of Alberta before returning to Atlantic Canada.

In 1988 she published The Victory of Geraldine Gull while she and her husband were living on Hudson Bay. The book was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. A string of successful novels followed including An Audience of Chairs, a novel published in 2005 and made into a film in 2018.

“I was surprised and grateful that one of my books had been made into a film. I wrote most of the story in a cabin in Baddeck, Cape Breton,” she said. “This one was based on a relative of mine who was bipolar. She had a difficult life. To me, people are the heart of my stories.”

Joan's Order of Canada lapel pin

Joan’s Order of Canada lapel pin

In 2010, Joan was awarded the Order of Canada. In part, the award reads: “In her work with organizations such as the Literary Arts Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Public Lending Right Commission, this generous mentor has been a guiding spirit to new and established authors.”

Her latest book, The Birthday Lunch, was published in 2015. “Although I’ve written short stories (From a High Thin Wire), I’m more drawn to novels. I like the in-depth characters and the opportunity to set the mood. I haven’t written much lately, but if I find a topic that really matters to me, I might start writing again.” One of her favourite authors and literary heroes is Alice Munro. “My husband and I drove cross country to attend a lecture she was giving in Banff. I got to meet her and I was thrilled when she knew who I was and complimented me on my work!”

For Joan, character is everything in a novel. “People bring so much depth to a story.” When Joan decides to write she asks herself two questions. “Why do I want to write this, and why does it matter to me? It has to matter because so much work needs to go into it,” she said.

Joan’s husband passed away four years ago, and she made the decision to move to Calgary to be closer to her son and daughter. She chose Garrison Green, which is home to another Order of Canada winner, Joyce Doolittle.  “It’s a friendly place. Very open with lots of choices. I’m very impressed.”

While taking a break from writing, Joan has been drawn to expand her creative side. “I’ve always done some painting so I’ve started doing some work in the art studio.”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 


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Hertha in art studio

Hertha in art studio

Garrison Green resident Hertha Reich has been painting for more than 60 years – a fact that surprises her when she pauses to think about it.

She began painting as a young mother in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “I started with oil painting. It was smelly and messy, but oils were the only thing available at the time,” recalls Hertha. “I’ve always liked learning new things so painting attracted me.”

To keep an eye on her two young children, Hertha painted at home. Over the years, she continued to paint and attended art classes at the University of Regina, where she switched to watercolours. When her husband passed away in 2011, she moved to United’s Garrison Green to be close to her daughter, Denyce Lundeen and son Allan Reich.

“Growing up, my mom was always doing artistic things,” said Denyse. “Copper tooling, needlepoint, petit point, and of course, the painting.”

Hertha's painting, Sunset by the Lake, from 2014

Sunset by the Lake, 2014

“She painted at home for 15 years,” said son Allen. “I think it was mostly landscapes, but the quality of her work really picked up after she came here.”

Hertha moved into Garrison Green seven years ago. After getting used to her new surroundings, she started going to the art studio. “It was my haven. The teachers are always very friendly and always ready to suggest positive solutions to any problem I raised.” The studio is staffed by professional artists, and they helped Hertha improve her work. “I’ve done so many different themes,” said Hertha. “Sunsets, flowers, landscapes.” These days, if someone is looking for her, the best advice is to try the art studio first. She is almost a permanent fixture there.

“She has gone from abstract paintings to paintings that have fine detail,” said Allen. “The depth of her work has really improved. Over the years she must have done more than 100 paintings. She has inspired both of us. We’re not painters but we both love photography, so I guess her artistic side has filtered down to us.” She has also inspired other residents who might not have considered painting or other artwork before. Hertha enjoys taking part in the trips that United offers into the countryside. “Being a prairie person, I enjoy going to the mountains.”

Residents at the art showing of Hertha's workShe has become a prolific painter, continuing to use watercolours and acrylics. Some of her work lines the hallways, common rooms and the art studio. Garrison Green decided to honour that work by putting on a showing. “I was so surprised at having a show like this,” said Hertha. “I was excited to see all of my paintings set up in one place. Some of them go back several years.”

Will she continue to paint? “Oh yes!” She smiles and reflects for a moment. “I might like to change my style. I like variety, so I’ll ask the studio artists for their suggestions. You’re never too old to learn – even at 96!”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 


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Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the mountains, parks and gardens that Calgary has to offer.

Residents of the two United communities have a wide range of choices for getting out and about to enjoy the sunshine. The Summer Program Guides showcase the opportunities that United’s unique partnerships give residents. Music, drawing, painting, dance, pottery, sculpture and more are offered throughout the year. When you combine these with programs inspired by United’s community partners, the variety is even more impressive.

“This summer, we have a diverse selection of programs that really speaks to the variety of creative, musical and educational experiences that residents can enjoy,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program development and creative expressions manager. “Some of these are made possible through our extensive partnerships with some of the best cultural and educational organizations in Calgary. As well, our in-house professional artists and music director work with the residents to determine what we should be offering. For instance, at our Fish Creek community alone this summer we are holding eight different clay workshops this summer and more than 16 musical performances!”

The CPO quartet performs at United's Garrison Green

The CPO quartet performs at United’s Garrison Green

Our focus is on building a community  where personal choice is paramount, our residents can live active and engaged lives and where learning new things and participating in community events are fun and fulfilling everyday occurrences. There are a large number of programs that take residents out to enjoy concerts, lectures, the mountains and the many beautiful Calgary parks.

“While the partnerships provide us with a number of one-of-a-kind opportunities, it’s often the residents who suggest programs or activities they would like us to put together,” said Monica Schmidt, program development coordinator at United’s Garrison Green community. “That’s why the list of programs is so varied. It’s as varied as the people who live here. And that’s a definite benefit of living in a United community. There’s always something new and the programs are changing and evolving all the time based on what the residents want.”

United’s guides to summer programming (almost 40 pages of programming for each community) are now available for downloading or viewing online.

To take a look at these guides, please check out the links to printable PDFs below:

Garrison Green program link

Fish Creek program link

Our roster of performers, speakers and workshop offerings are constantly evolving, so please check in with the monthly calendars for any additions and changes.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Contact us here!

 

 

 


You're Browsing Creative Expression

Sheila Brinsmead with a few of her paintings on display

Sheila Brinsmead with a few of her paintings on display

You don’t need to be an artist to live in one of United’s two communities, but with professional artists on staff, you might find your hidden talent!

“I started painting as a child, working with pastels, but eventually began working with water colours and oils,” said Sheila Brinsmead, who moved into United’s Fish Creek two years ago. Sheila was attracted to the community because of its extensive creative programs including a full art studio and art gallery. She is a semi-professional painter and currently has an art show downtown and some of her works are displayed in the United art gallery as part of a show and sale by a group of painters known as the Painted Ladies, who are students of Sheila’s daughter, Mary-Leigh Doyle. They put on shows every year, and have partnered with United for the past two years.

Mary-Leigh, who has painted regularly with her mom for 20 years, comes to Fish Creek twice a week and has become close friends with others who come to the art studio.

Sheila and daughter Mary-Leigh Doyle share a laugh in the art studio

Sheila and daughter Mary-Leigh Doyle share a laugh in the art studio

“My first sale never really happened!” laughs Sheila. “One of my instructors had a show at Chinook Centre and I got a call from someone who wanted to buy one of mine. I was thrilled, but I turned him down.” She put her paint brushes aside to raise her seven children, and resumed painting after her husband died in his 50s. “When something like that happens, all of your plans for life after retirement change. I decided that if I’m ever going to paint, it has to be now. Don’t think about doing something 10 years from now, think about doing it now. Time is so fragile.”

Sheila and Mary-Leigh have had two art shows at United and one outside the community. “When we looked for a place for mom we were very attracted to the art studio. It is marvellous. The staff are professionals in painting, ceramics and other creative areas. The residents paint at all levels from beginner to professional.”

“Sheila has encouraged so many people to come to the art studio,” said creative facilitator Chantel Traub. “One of Sheila’s friends, Joan Patterson, who is an amazing quilter, has been coming into the studio to try her hand. Sheila is a big inspiration for others.”

“There must have been some very creative minds when United was founded that wanted to see creative interests represented in an older adult community,” said Sheila. “The programs are excellent. Absolutely A1!”

Sheila puts the finishing touches on a painting while Mary-Leigh looks on

Sheila puts the finishing touches on a painting while Mary-Leigh looks on

Mary-Leigh has seen a positive change in Sheila since coming to Fish Creek. Sheila broke her shoulder – twice – while living at home. She and her family thought a move to a community would be the best option for her. “It was difficult at first,” said Mary-Leigh. “She had to give up her home and the familiar part of her life there, but her painting and the art studio are what brought her back to her old self. This is where she thrives and comes alive, by participating in all of the various programs.”

“I’m so surprised by the calibre of the artwork being produced by the residents,” said Mary-Leigh. “The camaraderie is really something. People are trying new things. The residents all have different interests and skills. The staff here are the most patient and nurturing people that I’ve ever seen. This place really is heaven for artists!”

Sheila and Mary-Leigh also host an art history club. During one of those meetings they came to Fish Creek to see the work of artist John Snow, part of a larger collection of art called the United Collection, which hangs on the walls and sits in the courtyard of the community. Snow’s work is also displayed at the National Gallery of Canada and the Governor-General’s home in Ottawa.

The Painted Ladies work, including work by Sheila and Mary-Leigh, are on display in the Fish Creek art gallery. They are having a show and sale June 1. The public is welcome to attend between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The address is United Active Living Fish Creek,  51 Providence Blvd. S.E. T2X 0X2. United will have staff on hand to answer any questions you may have about living at a United community.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Ask us about our respite care and trial stays! Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Contact us here!