Tipton Place artists are showing age is no hindrance to artistic talent

Vickie Christman, a resident at Tipton Place Assisted Living Center, shows off a cross-stitched blanket she made for her daughter in 1987. Christman’s art was among the many pieces shown at the Tipton Place Art Show on Wednesday, March 23.
Vickie Christman, a resident at Tipton Place Assisted Living Center, shows off a cross-stitched blanket she made for her daughter in 1987. Christman’s art was among the many pieces shown at the Tipton Place Art Show on Wednesday, March 23. Photo by Ehren Wynder.

Originally published April 4, 2016.

Three Seniors at Tipton Place Assisted Living Center in Huntington are showing their community that artistic talent does not diminish with age. The center featured an art show to display their work on Wednesday, March 23.

Gina Krause, life enrichment coordinator, says that she was inspired by the artistic talent of the residents, and she wanted to showcase it.

“I realized that they had lots of paintings,” Krause said, “So I realized there’s a lot of creative people here and to celebrate that.”

Krause says that Tipton Place originally wanted to start teaching formal art classes, but let the idea go when they realized residents were not taking interest.

“The average age is 90 years old,” Krause says, “so they just wanted to paint. They didn’t want a class. So now we just have art, and as you’re doing it, if you have a question, you ask one of the artists.”

One of the artists, Vickie Christman, has a counted cross-stitched blanket that she made in 1987. The blanket, which features a duck motif, was made for her daughter.

“She was our firstborn,” Christman says, “We had nine children. I give them to my kids and friends, but I don’t sell anything.”

Christman has other works, including a framed cross-stitching of the last supper and some images of horses.

“A friend of mine had all kinds of books,” Christman says, “and we could take them and make copies, and that’s how I got started.”

Christman hasn’t been doing cross-stitched work for a while. She has since started doing art with colored pencils, though she says she would like to get back into cross-stitching.

“I like to keep busy,” she says.

Another resident, Pat Hohe, likes to paint with watercolor.

“I started when I retired,” Hohe says. “It was about 20 years ago. I’m 85 now.”

Hohe enjoys watercolor because of the colors, and it’s inexpensive to start out with. She taught herself by going to the library and watching painting shows on PBS.

“It’s a good thing to do as a hobby,” Hohe says. “When you get older, plan to do something like that, because you’ll have lots of time.”

Hohe also does quilt work. Most of her works are of flowers or fruit.  In addition, she sometimes does work on commission decorating people’s kitchens.
Paul Neely also paints with watercolor. His works often feature old buildings.

“I like history – historical buildings,” Neely says. “I like to see buildings that I think aren’t going to be here 50 years from now – build a record of them.”
Neely says he’s been painting since he was in second grade. He is also a history minor currently studying at Indiana University.

Krause says that Neely periodically switches out his paintings so residents and visitors can enjoy something new.

“From Paul’s I chose what I thought people would enjoy looking at,” Krause says. “He flips the artwork every two weeks. That’s how many paintings he has.”

Krause says she’s pleased that residents are continuing to practice their artwork. She stresses the importance of continuous activity.

“It’s a celebration of life,” she says, “and that they’re not done.”

Krause wants residents to recognize that even with disabilities, they can continue to make art.

“As we grow older, you have to fit in with your new weaknesses,” Krause says. “So you have to change your art form to go with those weaknesses. Don’t stop the art! Just format it differently so your hands are able to do it.”