AIA’s intergenerational art project celebrated

Residents of Morningside House nursing home and students on summer break from school gather together to celebrate a quilt they created promoting peace. Photo by Victor Chu

Residents of Aging in America’s nursing facility and youth from Pelham Parkway schools celebrates an art project they created together to promote peace in a world sometimes wracked with violence.

The recent celebration included students on their summer breaks and residents from AIA’s Morningside House nursing home at 1000 Pelham Parkway South.

Together, the intergenerational group created a mural that celebrates non-violent solutions to issues plaguing our society today.

The mural is a quilt depicting a train going around the world linking people together for peace.

The “peace train” was designed to invoke the idea that people who come to know and understand one another generally tend to become more peaceful and and certainly more civil.

“Creating the quilt is a tactile activity that engages the kids in a nice medium,” said Aging in America president and CEO William Smith.

“To have an overarching understanding of the theme of peace is something that senior citizens hopefully know a lot about. We have children from seven different nations interacting and creating art with a diverse resident population.”

As part of the intergenerational program, the theme of world peace was discussed during the process of creating the artwork.

“For part of the program, we talked about what peaceful behavior is,” said Sunae Thomas, recreation therapist for Morningside House. “The students and residents interviewed each another and learned about their backgrounds. The premise of the artwork is that if you know one another, you tend to get along better.”

The group worked on the quilt during day sessions every Tuesday morning for four weeks, and the children who are in elementary and middle school got to interact and create art with residents who are mainly senior citizens in the AIA’s nursing and rehabilitative care unit.

“Art transcends politics, nationalities, and is a common language,” said resident and graphic and visual artist Edward Hill. “The world should have more art. I was trained as a painter and I got into graphic and visual art after graduating from school. The idea of building a bridge to peace using visuals is something that I never would have thought of on my own.”

Hill said that he enjoyed brainstorming and working with the children, who gave him a fresh perspective on artwork and new ideas about peace.

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