"Misericordia residents are bursting with Creativity" 

An important part of the Community Day Services program, the Misericordia art department offers residents the chance to explore various forms of art. If you’ve attended the Artist in All event at the Art Institute, you know that Misericordia residents are bursting with creativity and that the staff in the art department have a knack for bringing out that talent.

This is a behind-the-scenes look at the art department, which occupies six major rooms, three each in the main building and Conway, with each room dedicated to a specific art medium.
In the main building, one room is dedicated to painting on canvas, group projects, and art education. The second room is the ceramics room, which has clay molds, a liquid clay machine, and a press to flatten slabs of clay. Within this room is a kiln room that contains the kiln where ceramic pieces are fired. There is also a conventional oven, used to bake hand-painted glass items. The glass items are created in the third room, the multi-media room.
Conway has two rooms that focus on painting on canvas but also incorporate other art mediums. The third room in Conway is where residents can work with fabric, yarn, wool, and canvas. This room has several looms for weaving.
Misericordia’s art department is overseen by six professionally trained instructors, each of whom specializes in a particular medium. All are active in the art community, pursuing their own artwork outside of Misericordia. And each of these artists has the unique ability to bring out the artistry of the residents. Projects are tailored to the needs of each artist, using adaptive equipment, hand-over-hand techniques, adjustable easels, and standers that provide easy access for non-ambulatory artists. Examples are large-handled brushes and the use of painter’s tape to guide painters as they work on different sections of a painting. The art instructors, additional staff, and volunteers frequently work one-on-one with resident artists to provide support while making sure that each person works as independently as possible. Inspiration for the artwork comes from books, magazines, and personal interests. The instructors help residents develop ideas for their next piece of artwork and promote engagement in their projects by tapping into each person’s strengths. For example, artists who are musically inclined might benefit by painting to music.
In addition to creating artwork, the residents are also immersed in art education. They learn about artists with different abilities, such as Frida Kahlo, Judith Scott, and Renoir, discussing how they used their abilities to create beautiful pieces of artwork. Other topics of discussion include the use of color, blending colors, current events and trends, and artists of today.
Works of art made by the resident artists include a wide variety of different items: sketches, collages, paintings on wood, glass or canvas, ceramic pieces, either built by hand or using molds, beaded jewelry, beaded vases, wire sculptures, fabric art, and photographs. Photography sessions are offered after the workday. Some of the artwork created by residents is used to produce additional items, such as coffee mugs, note cards, and candles. At Christmas time, you can purchase amaryllis kits with hand-painted pots, another product of the art program. The Christmas cards sold online and in the shops are also designed by Misericordia residents.
While much of the artwork is auctioned off at the Artist in All fundraiser, some pieces are auctioned off or sold at other events, like the MFA Benefit and Misericordia Family Fest. Artwork is also sold at the gift shops, both the Heartstrings Gift Shop and the Sweet Shoppe in Glenview, and the boutiques at fundraising events. Any revenue generated by resident artists goes back into the art program. The residents also receive a commission when their artwork is sold.
Many pieces of art created by the residents are on display throughout the campus. When things return to normal and you have the opportunity to visit Misericordia, be on the lookout for these items and prepare to be amazed.
by Linda Buchalo
MFAnewsletter2 2021