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Exploring Creative Opportunities at Pennswood Village

Posted on June 7, 2018 in Community Highlight

The life of the community at Pennswood Village thrives on its residents’ artistic interests and creative energies, which are evident as soon as you step on campus.

“When you walk into the community building, there’s a dedicated art gallery that rotates every two months with an exhibit by a professional artist,” resident Julia Beers explains. “The artist comes, gives a talk, then we go look at the work. It makes it more of a learning experience.”

“Some really superior artists have come here,” she notes.

It’s not just external artists who are highlighted in Pennswood’s art galleries, however.

“Then there’s another resident art gallery,” she continues. “Every two months there’s a different resident exhibit of photography, painting or sculpture. Sometimes it’s a two- or three-person show; sometimes it’s just based on a theme.”

There’s also a third gallery for textiles, which often features quilts, which Julia describes as “stunning.”

Julia, an avid painter, moved to Pennswood Village a year and a half ago, fully intent on continuing her painting.

“I’m trying my fourth medium: acrylic. I started watercolor 30 years ago, then moved to pastels and oil for some time. Because I’m in an apartment, I thought I’d try something a little easier.

“I’ve mostly done landscapes from the get-go. I’ve also done life drawing,” she adds.

Yoma Ullman

The atmosphere at Pennswood Village nurtures its residents’ artistic aspirations.

“People come here with amazing CVs,” says resident Yoma Ullman, a Pennswood Village resident for seven years.

Yoma serves on the committee that coordinates exhibits of residents’ art. She is a talented photographer who had a solo show of her work in a Washington, DC gallery in the 1990s. Since moving to Pennswood Village, she’s shifted her focus toward photojournalism.

“That’s what Pennswood does for you,” she explains. “It gives you a second chance to develop what you can do.”

Recent studies are indicating that a link may exist between creativity and aging – which will surprise few at Pennswood.

A person’s creative approach changes as he or she ages because of alterations in the brain, according to an article in Psychology Today. As a person ages, his or her neural connections tend to become “looser” in a sense, and he or she becomes more distractible. At the same time, though, those “looser” neural connections may facilitate making novel connections that one’s younger, more tightly focused self may not have made.

But the aging/creativity relationship may not be just a one-way street. Another Psychology Today article focused on a study that found that people who viewed themselves as more creative and open to experience appeared to live somewhat longer than average, even after holding other factors constant. (The article notes the study’s limitations meant the finding was suggestive, but not definitive.)

“Enhanced creativity is associated with greater satisfaction,” Sunil Iyengar, research and analysis director for the National Endowment for the Arts, told The Washington Post. Staying open to new ideas is key, the article noted.

Pennswood affords its residents a variety of opportunities to get involved in cultural pursuits. The community furnishes transportation to the latest museum and gallery exhibits in Bucks County, Philadelphia and Princeton, NJ. Many resident groups and classes focus on painting, singing, drawing, sewing and knitting, poetry and writing, and more.

“It’s just a pleasing atmosphere, and nurturing and friendly,” Julia says.

For more information about the many arts-related opportunities available to Pennswood Village residents, call the community’s Marketing Department at 215-504-1118, or send an email to info@pennswood.org.