Art | Ovation: Continuing The Long Tradition of Art Preservation

Kavod Connections

Founded in 2016 by Judy Margolis, former Ovation Art Committee Chair, and Randy Crosby, Ovation CAO, Art | Ovation is a program that brings in professional and amateur artists to the halls of Ovation Communities.

The Art | Ovation galleries at both the Jewish Home and Chai Point feature work in a variety of mediums such as sculpture, painting, and photography, and often feature the hidden talents among Ovation’s residents.

“Having the art exhibits on a regular basis creates a positive vibe in the culture of the place. It energizes the place; it also gives people a conversation starter,” Randy says. “We’ve brought in a lot of interesting and really good art exhibits, and we’ve been really fortunate to have people who are interested in exhibiting their work.”

Currently on display in the Chai Point Gallery, is the work of current resident, Vladamir “Dima” Kushnaryov. Dima was a microbiologist who worked at the Medical College of Wisconsin for many years. He picked up the skill of painting toward the end of his career.

“It happened so that my son was reading the newspaper and saw an ad from an art store where they offered classes for beginners,” Dima says, “So, he told me, ‘Dad, why don’t you start painting?’ I had never painted in my life before, so he was very generous and offered to pay for the class.

“My nature as a researcher, I like challenges, so when I started to first paint, nothing good came out of my painting,” Dima continues, “So, then I started to take it more seriously. One day, our instructor said that the most difficult medium is watercolor, and here I was asking, ‘is it the most difficult? Then I will do that!’”

Dima’s work includes a variety of landscapes in different settings. Some are from his trips to Ireland, and some are inspired by the trails he walked when he lived at Sarah Chudnow. His favorite paintings are of the various dogs he has encountered, such as Erica, Mr. Becket, and Clyde.

Among the previous installations Art | Ovation has featured was Chai Point resident Shirley Langer’s collection of international walking canes.

“My husband happened to become ill while we were in Spain,” Shirley says, “He was hospitalized, and they recommended that we go home. When we left the hospital, my husband said ‘No way! Maybe we can find a store that sells canes.’ So that is what we did.

“I thought that I would make this a collection, so now wherever we go, we buy a cane,” Shirley continues, “I was first surprised to be asked to display my collection for Art | Ovation. I said, ‘you know more about displays more than I do, so if you’d like to, you’re very welcome to.’”

Displaying various mediums of art across both Ovation campuses has helped improve not only resident’s wellbeing, but it also benefits the employees and returning volunteers. Everyone gets to experience the balance that art and creativity bring to a well-rounded life.

“The pride that people have had in being able to have this, it’s like a travelling art gallery throughout the whole complex.” Trish Cohn, Chai Point Executive Director says. “For me, the arts are so important. When you think about this community, it is really a culture that knows about art, and really likes to be immersed in art, and immersed in different experiences.”

If you or someone you know want their art displayed at Ovation Communities, please reach out at: [email protected]