Art display highlights seniors’ gifts

Barbara Dockery, seated, talks with a resident of the Kahl Home for the Aged and Infirm in Davenport, during an art show put on by residents last week. Dockery showcased more than a dozen paintings she has done.

By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT — Kahl Home resident Barbara Dockery was looking at all the paintings she had in her room and thought maybe she could display her art for residents. She approached Denise Reed, activities director, who was more than happy to put together an art fair.

Reed decided that with the schedule she had in place winter would be a good time to hold it.

She asked residents at the Kahl Home what artworks they had to display. Several called family members to bring in artwork of theirs that was not at the Kahl Home.

On Dec. 9, several residents and Kahl Home staff brought paintings, needlework and other art forms to display in the activity room. Residents and staff were invited to view the display and have a few snacks.


As a special treat, Reed and her activity assistants worked with residents the day before to make gingerbread houses to display as well. “They had a lot of fun.” She said the icing was a favorite to play with and taste as the residents assembled a few dozen houses.

Altogether there were 40 pieces of artwork on display in an event that Reed plans to showcase annually.

Resident Beth Fox had three, framed oil pastel paintings hanging on the wall of the activity room.

Although she does not do much art now other than some doodling because of declining eyesight, Fox was proud to show the paintings she has had hanging in her room.

One oil pastel was inspired by a trip to Florida. “I bet I could find that spot today if I could get there,” she said.  A second work, called “Rough Water,” looks like a large wave rolling over itself or an aerial view of a hurricane with the eye of the storm. Fox said she created that piece following Hurricane Andrew, which hit Homestead, Fla., in 1992.

Her final art piece was a scene of the corner of Third and Gaines streets in downtown Davenport. “I sat across the street at the ‘Y’ and did it,” she said.

Her favorite medium has always been oil pastels because it doesn’t require water and is easy to transport. She brought her small wooden box of oil pastels to show off and gave a demonstration for the residents on the art of painting with oil pastels.

Dockery said she got into art as a way to escape the demands of being a mother to 13 children. “I needed time to relax myself.”

She continued to create art, using various media, until her eyesight declined. “I’m blind in one eye and have limited vision in the other. You need two eyes to do this.”

Dockery had more than a dozen pieces on display.

One visitor to the display said she wished she had talent. Dockery said, “People think they aren’t talented — but they are in many different ways.”

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