CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The effects of COVID-19 have heavily impacted residents in long term care facilities, leaving many isolated and away from family for nearly a year. Juniper Village at Brookline is using the healing power of art to make resident’s lives a little brighter.

“Life, freedom, and bond of love.”

Those are the themes Zahra Lofti said are expressed in her exhibition, ‘The Awakening of the Creative Spirit’, which is featured at Juniper Village at Brookline.

“I thought, you know, if I want to show my paintings it is the best way to have it with the people who can enjoy it more,” said Lofti, a State College local.

“We normally think about art as going to a museum, or going to a concert, the word ‘going’ is always in the mix when you talk about art. But in this instance, as Zahra has said, we’re bringing it to people where they are,” said Dr. Grace Hampton, the exhibition curator.

Juniper Village says the easy access to art has lifted resident’s spirits, especially during the cold winter months.

“To be able to infuse our hallways with color and life and feelings of that bond of family, our residents have really enjoyed having something new to look at and be inspired by,” said Katie Kensinger, senior director of community relations for Juniper Village at Brookline.

The pieces are also shared on Facebook, so families can connect with their loved ones through a shared experience.

“Quite often through the week, residents have Zoom visits with their families, or window visits, or even just phone calls, and it is something fun to talk about and share together,” said Kensinger.

Lofti had a period of absence, away from her passion for art, but she recently returned to the craft.

“Zahra’s story resonates with us so much because something we talk about at Juniper is ‘life in the third act,'” said Kensinger. “The fact that Zarha rediscovered and recommitted to art later in life is truly an inspiration because creativity and creative expression has no age or timeline.” 

Residents at Juniper Village at Brookline Wellspring Memory Care have put the paintbrush in their own hands, all to benefit a cause close to their hearts.

The individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia had the opportunity to create abstract, still life, and block style paintings, as well as tie-dye t-shirts.

An online auction for these items opened today and will run through March 5. This is the seventh year of the auction, but the first time it’s been held virtually, due to the pandemic.

Juniper Village says having a creative outlet has allowed the resident’s personalities to shine through.

“It connects a lot of our residents back to a time that they look fondly on,” said Kaitlin Hoover, communications director for Juniper Village at Brookline Wellspring Memory Care. “It’s really just capitalizing on interests, strengths, and it’s a really cool thing to see clarity in our residents as they’re creating their art.”

All proceeds from the auction will go toward the Alzheimer’s Association.