A year-round window

Art group installs mural at Good Samaritan Home

Residents of the Good Samaritan Lutheran Home now have a window to all four seasons year round, with the installation of a mural in the dining room of the nursing home.

The mural, which is designed to look like a window facing out to a landscape of rolling hills, dotted with trees and buildings, is the product of months of work by Good Samaritan residents and the Capitolers volunteer art group.

Planning for the project started over a year ago. Good Samaritan Director of Recreation Therpary Sharon Rappaport brought the idea to Capitoler Tina Greenfield, who comes to the nursing home to hold a weekly arts class.

I kept looking at this wall and I said to myself, this wall need something, and that's how this all started, Rappaport said.

Greenfield obtained four, 4'x4' planks for the mural. A committee of Capitolers worked out what the mural would look like. The four seasons was chosen as a theme not only because it offered a lot of possibilities, but because the fact there were four canvases made it a natural fit.

Good Samaritan residents painted the background of the mural during their weekly class with Greenfield before tuning them over to the Capitolers, who added the details like trees and houses. Those elements were meticulously added over the course of 11 sessions, taking 250 volunteer hours, said Greenfield.

"I find that art is often solitary, but when the detail painters get together on a project it's very collaborative," she said.

The painters chose landmarks from the surrounding community, working off of photographs, but also added their own personal touches to the mural (one painter named Abe lent a bookstore the name "Abe's Books," for example). They also worked in minute details that made it possible for a 15-question "I Spy"-type quiz to be drawn up, so residents can the mural search for cardinals, apple trees and the like.

The art classes offered at Good Samaritan are often a bit hit with residents, said Rappaport, but it's also an opportunity to get the outside community involved at the home.

"One of my goals here is to bring the community in for the residents," she said. "The more volunteers we have, the more activities that can come in, it's better for their quality of life."

The Capitolers is a chapter of the Society of Decorative Painters. Headquartered in Loudonville, the not-for-profit has about 150 members all over New York and surrounding states.""

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