Art show benefits nursing home rooms

nurseart: The Andrew Wyeth &quotChristina's World" print donated by Ed and Adam Perkins of School Street Picture Framing in Brewer will be auctioned off at the second annual Bangor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center art show on Oct. 2 at the Masonic Center in Bangor. The artwork's estimated value is $380. (Copy photo provided by Bangor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center)
nurseart: The Andrew Wyeth "Christina's World" print donated by Ed and Adam Perkins of School Street Picture Framing in Brewer will be auctioned off at the second annual Bangor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center art show on Oct. 2 at the Masonic Center in Bangor. The artwork's estimated value is $380. (Copy photo provided by Bangor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center)
Posted Sept. 27, 2010, at 6:44 p.m.

The second annual art show to provide funds for the renovation of Bangor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center homes will be held Oct. 2 at the Masonic Center at 294 Union St. in Bangor.

The art show is free and open to the public. More than 20 artists and photographers will be displaying and selling artwork. The money raised by the benefit dinner and silent and live auctions will be added to the Bangor Nursing Auxiliary’s “Extreme Home Makeover” funds.

Since spring, the auxiliary has raised money, “one dollar at a time,” to renovate five rooms. Thousands of dollars have been raised from basket raffles, art shows, bottle drives and garage sales. The goal is to renovate every single room — 30 in all.

“[The auxiliary] asks, ‘If you were living at home, what would your room look like? What would make you happy?” said Sue Goulet, community outreach coordinator for Bangor Nursing and Rehab Center.

Goulet describes the auxiliary as being like the “sports boosters” or a “cheering squad for the residents.”

Each time they raise enough to complete one room, an auxiliary representative sits down with the residents to plan out the design. They paint, put up curtains, purchase linens and more.

“The auxiliary is letting the resident of the rooms say, ‘Hey, I wish my room were my favorite color and I really like horses, so I’d like a horse picture or a new quilt.’ These things make it feel more like home,” Goulet said.

The majority of living spaces are set up for people to have roommates, so the center can hold 60 residents. There are currently 28 residents at the center who live there permanently.

“The center is an old army hospital,” said Goulet. “And there isn’t a lot you can do with the old look without transforming every room individually and not making it look like an institution.”

The next resident to receive a room makeover usually is chosen by longevity of residency. Those who have been there the longest are given the opportunity to redecorate first. There was one exception.

Ron Legere, 59, has been at the center for three years, and he considers it his permanent home. He has had muscular dystrophy since he was 16 years old and now must use a wheelchair to get around. His room was the second to be completed.

“All of the rooms are the same, a very drab, off-white color,” said Legere. He chose sand color walls with a forest green accent wall, new curtains, a room divider and new bedspread. Over his TV is the Red Sox baseball cap of a prior roommate who passed away.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea because it gives permanent residents a chance to pick the colors of the room, and gives them an opportunity to have a voice in what they want to do,” said Legere, who is vice president of the auxiliary. “It makes it more homey.”

Kathy Cheverie, daughter of resident Irene Gallant, helped her mother decide and communicate her ideas for a room design, which included a bright magenta wall —— “a breath of fresh air.”

“Bangor Nursing, in of itself, is a wonderful place,” said Cheverie. “But my take on it is that the auxiliary does little things above and beyond what is required of the skilled nursing facility.”

The auxiliary has held lobster dinners, purchased a new karaoke machine, refurbished the garden area and funded the installation of a fence.

“We’re hoping to top last year,” said Cheverie, who is in charge of the annual art show. “Of course, it was our first year, and we had some learning to do. But we have more artists displaying this year and we have a wider range of ages for artists.”

Nicholas Randall, 13, is the youngest artist, and several artists are in retirement.

The show will include watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings, photographs and compositions of dried flowers.

The silent auction table will include University of Maine hockey and basketball tickets, cruise tickets for the Margaret Todd schooner and gift certificates to restaurants in the Bangor area.

The lasagna dinner at 5 p.m. will be followed by a live auction of artwork having a total value of more than $3,000. Rick Tyler of Blueberry Broadcasting will emcee.

“[The items] will go for a fraction for what they are really worth,” said Cheverie. “I’m hoping the artists do well and enjoy themselves and lots of people will want to come. It’s a great way to pick up some pieces.”

The art show is free and open to the public. Meal tickets can be purchased at the door, but the auxiliary prefers people call in advance. To reserve a ticket, call Bangor Nursing Auxiliary President Rosie Randall at 992-4432 ex. 353 or Kathy Cheverie at 991-1669.

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