Art is Alive and Well for the Residents of the Reutlinger

14th Annual Exhibit Showcases Residents’ Art

Danville, CA (February 16, 2015) – Fifty years ago, Maher Salama, a resident at The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, enjoyed swimming and rowing. “I used to take my wife to the Club Nautique Hellenic and row there on the banks of the great river followed by dinner together,” he remembers.

His graphite and watercolor painting about those long-ago days on the River Nile is on display in the 14th Annual Exhibition of Art at The Reutlinger, located in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Danville, CA.

The exhibition reflects the work of the 70-, 80- and 90-year olds who participate in the facility’s awardwinning art program, which will celebrate its silver anniversary in September.

The largest piece in the show, a portrait by Rhoda Wasserman, is a graphite/oil on canvas panel. Making art, she said, “is a matter of a good choice, working it through, and coming to a completion. Even if an idea doesn’t work into the current painting, it might work in the next.” A 5-inch sculpture by Harriet Rotman, a resident who just started coming to the art room, is the show’s most petite piece.

Opening the show is a landscape, “Seafoam Crest,” that is a composite of the artist’s memories of northern and southern California. “We used to go to Pescadero Beach when we were youngsters, where we watched the waves come in over the rocks, felt the wind and frolicked in the water chasing the waves,” said its creator, Michie Takashima. Michie incorporated the foam “working up in the water and then floating away” and added Glendale palms “to give the painting more color, contrast and space,” she explained.

Ruth Janger began her painting without knowing how it would look when finished. As she progressed, she felt she “needed more” and remembered her mother saying, “Don’t look for the gold, you’ll find it. The gold will always be there. Now, I know this image was in my mind all the time,” she said, and named her work “All That Glitters is Not Gold.”

Such exceptional results would not happen without Betty Rothaus, MFA. She is the full-time Artist-inResidence/Director of the Art Program at The Reutlinger. Rothaus meets several times a week, individually and in groups, with any resident, including those in the memory care units, who is Media Contact: Jeanine Genauer The JPR Group (973) 980-0100 jgenauer@jprgroup.com interested. “Being available full time provides a consistency that allows a much greater involvement from the residents,” she said.

“Everyone does their own thing,” Rothaus said. “I try to help them clarify and realize their vision, and what they want to do.” The residents come to the program with a wide range of skill levels, from some who were dedicated to art all their lives to those who remember doing art as children.”

“People benefit so much from making art,” said Rothaus. “It is expression; they learn a new visual language, develop skills in composition and color. It gives them so much to think about outside of any problems they may have. It is positive and healthy and something to look forward to.” The show, aptly titled “Discovering the Artist Within,” is a major event for The Reutlinger, said CEO Jay Zimmer.

In addition to the exhibition, he said, there is “always art at the Reutlinger. Beautiful works of art are permanently displayed throughout the building; over 350 of these are resident creations.” Fourteen Reutlinger artists were chosen to be represented in the 2015 calendar for the California Association of Healthcare Facilities. Reutlinger artists also exhibit at well-known public venues through a collaboration with the Eldergivers “Art With Elders” program, and in exhibitions at Jewish facilities throughout the Bay area. In a few months, the Reutlinger will hold a reception for families, residents, staff and visitors.

The resident artists will read their statements and add a few words, if they wish, while their art is shown. “It is a very moving program to see and then hear what the residents have experienced and achieved,” said Zimmer. “It is especially meaningful to have their families sharing this day.” The art show is on display in the main building through the end of the year at 4000 Camino Tassajara, open 9am to 5pm seven days a week through the end of the year.

For more information, call 925-964- 2034 or email betty.rothaus@gmail.com. “All generations may learn about living and aging gracefully from our residents; we also look to them for how to age with meaning and purpose,” said Rothaus. “In this exhibition, our elders share their secrets, teaching us about living full lives, and that possibilities of growth, fulfilling our dreams and blessings always await us.” The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living is a multi-level care facility that is home to 180 residents living in the Sukkat Shalom Skilled Nursing unit, Assisted Living apartments, the Tikvah Enhanced Care Center and the Traditions Memory Care Center. It is rated 5 stars by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. # # # Photos: Reutlinger1-Michie Takashima Reutlinger2-Ruth Janger Reutlinger3-Rhoda Wasserman