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90-plus years of stories to share

The life stories of (from left) Lillian Christianson, Vern Harshman and Florence Kahler will be represented in artists’ works at an exhibit at Heritage Court Assisted Living Apartments in Hammond on Thursday, June 5. Jean Brihn, whose story will also be highlighted, is not pictured. (Photo by Sarah Young)

Imagine the stories, wisdom and insight one could glean from someone who has lived on Earth for 90-plus years. Pairing that with an artist’s interpretation of those years of knowledge makes for a fascinating way to honor elders.

Heritage Court Assisted Living Apartments in Hammond is partnering with artists from the Hammond Arts Alliance to create a unique art exhibit that highlights seniors in the community.

The exhibit, titled “Change, Renewal...and Purpose: The Journey of Assisted Living Through Art,” will be open to the public from 5 to 7 pm. on Thursday, June 5, at Heritage Court.

“All of the tenants being represented are in their 90s,” Heritage Court assisted living manager Noelle Klund said in a press release. “They have all lived full lives; lots of adversity, lots of joys. They have a story to tell. The art will tell a story about some very remarkable people. They absolutely deserve recognition.”

The artists met with four Heritage Court residents and listened to stories about their lives. They were then free to create a piece of artwork that would represent each person’s life journey. The media of the pieces will be a surprise. It could be a painting, sculpture or anything, Klund said.

The four residents to be highlighted are Jean Brihn, who is originally from Clear Lake; Lillian Christianson, who owned the Roberts Cafe for many years; Vern Harshman, who owned a bar in Knapp; and Florence Kahler, who hails from the Emerald area.

The pieces will in some way feature the backgrounds, passions, talents and life stories of the four nonagenarians.

Klund said she heard about the idea from another assisted living facility, and they had “a wildly successful event.”

Kahler will also feature her personal art work, which ranges from doll making to rock painting. HAA’s Christine McKahan will spin yarn as part of a demonstration. Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served.

For more information about the art exhibit or Heritage Court, call Noelle Klund at 715-796-2218.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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