Joyce Mesrobian often takes in the wooded trails, around the ponds and through the prairie on the campus of the retirement center where she lives, and the Lindenhurst-the Lakes Area, Illinois, Kiwanian felt saddened that many fellow residents did not have such mobility.
Aiming to bring some of the beautifully landscaped outdoors in, Mesrobian began searching for someone to paint nature scenes on a 175-foot bare wall in the tunnel between the independent living building and the assisted living section of her Village of Victory Lakes community. When Kiwanian Priscilla Veidemanis transferred into the Lindenhurst Kiwanis club, she found her artist.
“I accepted the assignment without hesitation and offered to donate my artistic talents, Veidemanis says. “I’ve just always loved painting, and I love to do murals.”
As a thank-you to the facility that hosts her Kiwanis club’s meetings twice a month, she agreed to paint a series of nature scenes. Each of her 24 paintings is a three-by-four-foot nature scene, presented in a stained-glass window style. Although most of the images reflected typical nature scenes from the surrounding area, many were influenced by the employees and other residents. Several dropped by to admire her works in progress, often leaving her grateful notes suggesting future scenes. One employee asked for a depiction of his black Labrador, Ranger.
“I found that the pictures jogged memories and stimulated conversations about earlier times in many of the residents,” Veidemanis says.
After nearly six months of work, the once dull tunnel is now outfitted with a lighthouse lighting a darkened sky, a windmill surrounded by colorful tulips, a preening peacock, a doe and fawn in the forest and a monarch butterfly among a field of flowers. Mesrobian is thrilled with her friend’s gift.
“On any given day, all who live and work at the Village at Victory Lakes can now experience nature’s splendor in these painted windows on the tunnel wall. Workers hurrying to an assignment, residents walking unaided or supported by a cane or walker and especially those residents brought in wheelchairs by volunteers—all pause for a few moments to experience the uplifting, special hope and joy inherent in the spiritual beauty of nature’s handiwork.” —Courtney Meyer