Eye to Eye

Dear Friend:

Welcome to Eye to Eye, ELDERGIVERS' bi-monthly newsletter, designed to whet your appetite for inter-generational relationships through art.

ELDERGIVERS' mission is to connect the generations through programs that celebrate the wisdom, talents and creativity of older adults.

Most of us would agree that the health and prosperity of any society can be measured by its willingness and ability to value and to include all of its members. Traditional cultures recognize and respect the vital roles which elders play, but North American society tends to marginalize adults as they grow old. This is especially true of seniors in long-term care facilities, where more than 60% of residents never have a visitor.

Xi Fen Zhen Family

Elder Artist, Xi Fen Zhen, resident at Grove Street Extended Care in San Francisco, stands in front of her painting, titled "Colorful Still Life", with son-in-law, Jai Pei Wang, grandson, Eddy Wang and great grand-son, Kai Heng Wang.

ELDERGIVERS is devoted to keeping seniors as active in and integral to our communities as possible. Art With Elders (AWE) has proven particularly effective in this regard. In one spectacular instance of inter-generational connectivity, 500 guests ranging from infants to centenarians mingled at the opening of the 17th Annual Art With Elders Exhibit in October last year. It was a joyous affair!

ELDERGIVERS partners with 33 San Francisco Bay Area sites to offer the AWE program. This issue highlights AWE at Laguna Honda Hospital and some of the people there who make it the vibrant force it is - with the spotlight on Mark Campbell, Program Director. Kathryn Werhane (Program Assistant), Artist-Instructors Insio Che, Virginia Jourdan, Rafael Vieira and Mark LeGrande Trotter, with key volunteers, Griffin Johnson and Barbara Ordahl rounding out this highly able team.

Thanks for your interest in ELDERGIVERS' mission. We invite you to be an active part of it and, as a start, hope you'll share Eye to Eye with friends and family members.

Brent Nettle
Executive Director

Mark Campbell, Program Director

Driftin'He is, first and foremost, a gifted artist. An inspired teacher, too, Mark moves with ease across the generations, gathering wisdom and sharing it generously with others.
Brent Nettle, Executive Director
Mark is phenomenal - personable, down-to-earth, caring. He has great people skills and is in tune
with Laguna Honda.

William Frazier,
Director of Therapeutic Services
Laguna Honda Hospital

Brent asked me to start the Laguna Honda classes and has been
a great mentor. Although I was a teaching assistant at the Academy of Art, this is where I learned to teach. Our program at Laguna Honda is non-hierarchical, non-academic, and it focuses on being an artist. It's intense and there are lots of challenges, but there are also lots of rewards.

Has this work changed my own work? Profoundly. I've learned about clarity of expression, using what you have, living in the moment and about taking risks despite doubt. I consider my work with ELDERGIVERS to be as important as the work I do with my brushes in the studio. I have found great meaning and purpose through it. The gifts that the program and the elders themselves have bestowed upon me will require a lifetime to repay.

ELDERGIVERS has given me the opportunity to work in a field
I love with people who have so much to offer. Through a triumph of the human spirit, these elders remain vibrant, creative and important community resources. They are overlooked, though, and under appreciated by a majority of our culture. We want these (and other) elders to be more than our beautiful little secret which is why we also work to help the community re-connect to them and to benefit from their important gifts.

Work pictured above by Mark Campbell is titled Driftin'.
Learn more about Mark's artwork here.

David Ratliff, Elder Artist
Even more people should take advantage of the Art With Elders program. Art is a window to the world. It's self-expression with no rules, no limits, no bounds. What happens between you and the
medium you are working with is your own creation.
     David Ratliff

David RatliffDavid Ratliff has lived a tough life.

Raised in East Palo Alto and on his own since age 15, he learned how to survive on the streets. He has been in and out of jail most of his life. At different times he has worked to pull himself out of a cycle of drugs and
crime but never had any lasting success until his kidneys gave out and he came to Laguna Honda Hospital. Here, for the first time, he has been able to stay clean. Now in his sixties, on dialysis and with crippled joints, David talks of the miracle of life and about feeling blessed. Unlike many of the people he has known, he's still alive.

David and MarkHe started painting in the Art With Elders program just a few months ago, and is already creating large works on canvas. The movement in his hands and arms is limited, so he switches hands as he paints. One arm is able to do what the other cannot.

The art he creates has a timeless, mythic quality - a sense of place and story, mystery and power.

To see the work of other Elder Artists visit our on-line galleries.

Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center
Not only does the Art With Elders program engage individuals in art, it helps break down the walls of isolation by sharing their
artwork with the community.

William Frazier, Director of Therapeutic Activities

Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center (LHH) is owned and operated by the City of San Francisco. Home to 780 residents, it is one of the largest skilled nursing centers in the United States.

Laguna Honda takes an interdisciplinary approach to caregiving that combines nursing, medicine, rehabilitation, activity therapy, nutrition, and social work to support resident quality of life. The emphasis is on culturally competent care and achieving levels of functionality that allow residents to transition to community settings whenever possible.

In 2010, Laguna Honda will move into three new buildings now under construction on its 62-acre campus west of San Francisco's Twin Peaks. The buildings are designed to foster community. Residents will live in 15-person households organized around a central Great Room where daily activities, including Art with Elders programs, will take place.

Barbara and Angelina
Volunteer Barbara Ordahl with Angelina Rey and with Fabien Moriquit in the background.

Laguna Honda invited ELDERGIVERS to bring its Art With Elders program to patients in the fall of 1997. Now offering morning and afternoon classes four days a week for up to 100 men and women, the program is very popular. "Residents who think that they can't draw often surprise themselves," says Frazier. "AWE is a great benefit to the self-esteem and sense of accomplishment of the participants."

AWE staff not only teach classes, but they mount occasional exhibits of the elder artists' work inside the Hospital. Select pieces from the classes become part of the ELDERGIVERS' Annual AWE Exhibit which travels to a variety of sites. By the end of the year the exhibit is seen by more than 60,000 people.

LHH AWE staff
Barbara Ordahl (volunteer), Kathryn Werhane, Mark Campbell, and Griffin Johnson (volunteer): all part of the Laguna Honda AWE staff

The new complex includes a dedicated art studio and gallery that will also be home to the Art With Elders program at LHH. Located off the Hospital's new Great Room, with windows that face in to the main hall and out to the adjacent community, it physically represents the nature of the program that AWE brings to LHH: working, through art, to connect its residents and staff to each other and to the larger Bay Area community.

Visit Laguna Honda's website and take a virtual tour of the new LHH.

Witnessing the Healing Power of Art
by Ginny Prior

FINALLY, something to look forward to in old age. No, I'm not talking about my AARP discount, though Lord knows that's a sweet deal.

I'm talking about Art with Elders.

Zimou and Edna

Edna Singleton at the McClure Convalescent Hospital, Oakland, sharing collage ideas with Artist Instructor Zimou Tan.

Read full article here.

Many thanks for your interest in our work. We invite you to send us any suggestions. And please feel free to share our newsletter with your friends and family.
Brent Nettle
Executive Director
Mark Campbell, Program Director
David Ratliff, Elder Artist
Laguna Honda Hospital
Witnessing the Healing Power of Art


...through April 26th

35 pieces
1699 Market Street
(at Valencia)

...through May 10th
53 pieces
Turk and Parker Sts.

May 11 - June 1

Full show of 88 pieces
401 Van Ness Ave.

Love Potion
"Love Poition"
by Joanne Ryan
of Laguna Honda Hospital

Many Thanks to our Supporters

ABC Security Service

Argosy Foundation

Callison Foundation

Crescent Porter Hale Foundation

Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation


Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund

Kindred Healthcare

Mount Zion Health Fund

May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

San Francisco
Arts Commission

SanDisk - a corporate advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Sunrise Senior Living


Wells Fargo Foundation