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Seniors combat stress, share that relief through art at Victoria residence

Parkwood Place promotes April as stress awareness month in Canada

Relieving stress on several levels is the key goal for a group of seniors sharing their art at Parkwood Place residence in Victoria.

Art provides a unique therapeutic way for stress relief through creative expression. For seniors, in particular, art offers additional benefits, providing a means of social engagement, cognitive well-being and pride, says general manager Cheryl Chalifour.

“The love of art is a common bond that we all enjoy,” Chalifour said. “Just by being surrounded and admiring the beautiful paintings and artistic masterpieces we just feel good, a boost of positive energy.”

During stress awareness month in April, residents share their stories and hope to inspire others to be creative, connected, and artistic.

Resident artist Jim Lewis says working alongside others helps his own mental health simply by sharing creative time and space together.

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“It’s an escape to do my artwork,” he said.

A retired high school art teacher, woodcarver and watercolour artist for more than 35 years, Lewis has donated several pieces to Parkwood Place with his own permanent display in the lobby.

“I lose myself in my art, it’s so satisfying. I love thinking about a feeling, I know what I want to do before I see it,” he said. “It’s a challenge, like a puzzle.”

The building is home to several artists of varying disciplines, from MJ Matthews, a self-taught watercolour landscapist of 50 years, to the textile arts of Lois Fuse, who first started making doll clothes as a child.

“For me it is a way of capturing the moments of my life,” Fuse said. “I love to make my own designs and doing things with symbolism, like the autobiography of my life in my Five Rivers Piece.”

The third annual collaborative gallery show with Studio 30 Art Club is on display through April 19 at 3051 Shelbourne St.

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