Atrium Village residents take part in art class, a part of the community’s new art program in partnership with Art With A Heart. (Photos courtesy of Atrium Village)

By Nadine Matthews
Special to the AFRO

Atrium Village, which bills itself as a senior lifestyle community, has been a fixture in Owings Mills for the past 20 years. Offering assisted living, independent living, short-term care and a range of other services, the administration strives to create a strong sense of home and community for its residents. Atrium Village is now in the final stages of an 18-month, $13 million renovation of its sprawling seven-plus acre campus. In addition to a redesign of the interior community spaces marked by sleek, ultra modern decor, there was a focus on incorporating art work dotting these spaces.

Atrium Village added an art studio and now offers classes in painting and drawing, artist talks and gallery events, something that sets it apart from most other senior living facilities. The decision to add this feature was guided in part by the interests of Atrium Village’s residents, many of whom are art enthusiasts.

Stacy Buckley, Atrium Village’s executive director, speaking with the AFRO explained, “We have developed this program because of who lives here: very metropolitan   very well-cultured when it comes to the arts. As we venture to renovate and revitalize, we are really paying attention to what our residents are interested in.”

For some residents, these amenities symbolize the potential fulfillment of lifelong interests. “They are no longer taking care of family or working everyday,” explained Buckley, “so they have the time to get into interests they may have always wanted to try but were unable to.”

Atrium Village also partnered with community organization Art With A Heart to offer the art classes. Residents have already enthusiastically participated in the signature program. “Having art at the Atrium Village makes me feel beautiful. I find art to be uplifting and inspiring. Having our weekly art classes here at Atrium Village helps regulate my mood. Art gives me a sense of peace,”  said resident Marvelyn Foster.

A resident proudly showcases her artwork. For some residents in the senior community, these amenities symbolize the potential fulfillment of lifelong interests. (Photos courtesy of Atrium Village)

Remarked Buckley about the reaction of the residents to the first classes, “They were just in there working on a project together and everyone was relaxed and just enjoying letting go for an hour and creating something cool.”

Many of Atrium Village residents like to be quite active, and the administration tries to meet these needs as well. “They like to stay up to date with what is going on in the community around them,” stated Buckley. “As they are aging, they still have these wonderful interests and want to do things and like to be involved in what is happening in the world.”

The independent living and assisted living spaces showcase a collection of 40 photographs of Baltimore landmarks, among other historically significant locations, and an installation made of blown glass by Maryland artist Tim McFadden in the newly renovated lobby. 

Called The Anemone Series, the sculpture consists of a series of ten scallop-edged Venetian glass plates in bands of translucent white alternating with mostly muted primary colors and pastels. Stated McFadden in an email to the AFRO, “I wanted to create something for the newly renovated lobby at Atrium Village. As this is the statement piece around which residents, families and visitors will congregate, it was important that the art elicit feelings of beauty, relaxation, and happiness.”

Atrium Village also offers residents culturally enriching experiences off-site, including a visit to McFadden’s renowned glass blowing studio and gallery. “While visiting the McFadden Art Gallery, I was amazed at the level of patience that they had for us. The instructors gave us step by step guidance, which made the experience pleasurable. I give the McFadden Art Gallery a ‘20/20′ for customer service,” said Foster.

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