Stories of stimulating active minds during the quarantine keep bubbling to the surface as people far away and in the Walla Walla Valley seek ways to stay tuned in.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown, the staff at Quail Run Retirement in Walla Walla embraced the mission to keep residents mentally and physically engaged with life, said Executive Director Parke Thomas in a release.
Most recently, they hosted a week-long in-house “ArtWalk 2020: A Breath of Happiness.” The large dining room transformed into a formal art gallery where social distancing could be strictly maintained as a few residents at a time worked their way through the many easels and photo display boards, Parke said.
Sparkling cider and other refreshments made the show’s opening quite festive, echoing any snazzy gallery opening in New York, San Francisco or downtown Walla Walla. The strains of music greats Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole set the mood.
The show featured photographs by Parke and Quail Run Manager Rachael Jones, sculptures by resident and longtime sculptural creator Robert Freeman, sketches by senior housekeeper Anna Filatov and Rachael, an original oil painting by Quail Run owner Vivianne Lounsbury‘s uncle Leo Delgado depicting their ancestral village in Cuba, a masterpiece Christhead by noted local artist the late Richard Jens Rasmussen and a selection of heirloom quilts and objets d’art from various collections.
Through the photos in particular, residents took virtual tours of places near and far, such as animals wild and domestic, skies stormy and tranquil, as only Walla Walla can produce, and much more, Parke said. And residents came through the gallery multiple times
“Around and around the residents went all week, carefully practicing their social distancing skills, as they ‘traveled’ from the seashore to the mountains, from views of the Valley to views of downtown Walla Walla’s architecture. Barns, churches, tranquil ponds — all there to be enjoyed and to stir memories and importantly, thoughts of nature outings to come. For Quail Run’s residents, art truly has been a breath of happiness. Their only sadness was in not being able to share the show with their loved ones,” Parke said.
In mid-February, Quail Run began a carefully considered walk toward the ultimate full lockdown that has now been in place for about three months.
Following the guidance provided by the CDC, NIH, the office of Gov. Jay Inslee, and with an abundance of caution, Parke said they’ve “taken every careful and dutiful step with the single goal of keeping its highly vulnerable residents and its staff virus-free.”
The lines of communication are wide open between staff and residents, with everyone determined to do everything to remain healthy and of good cheer.
“Rather than complaining about the lockdown as they might, they often offer their thanks to staff for the protected environment of Quail Run.”
Video and other virtual communication is keeping residents and their loved ones in contact.
He also said the independent retirement community has put together divertissements and internal events that challenge and reward residents and keep their lives rich.
“ArtWalk 2020 was so successful that it is likely to return to Quail Run after the lockdown is over with friends and family invited to join in the fun.”