Client: Brewster Place
Location: Topeka, KS, United States
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $35,000
When the CEO of Brewster approached artist Carol Bradbury about creating a series of special artworks for the residents of Brewster Place, she was eager to engage their voices and honor the people who reside in this retirement community. Brewster Place is a micro-community of the broader community. It’s an ecosystem, where residents, family members and staff co-exist in an intimate way on a daily basis. 3 Artworks were created for the rennovation: LIMINAL: Glass wall 6'x26' / GARDEN OF EDEN: 65″x65″ Fabric / MORNING 65'x120″ Fabric.
The Main Street at Brewster Place renovations include a new market place, wellness center, beauty salon, chapel, bank, and a pavilion.
Relying on research that shows color can increase well-being and create a sense of community, the artist developed a series of artworks for the new Main Street that represented the vibrancy of the residents themselves.
Says Bradbury, "The goal of the remodel and the artworks was to begin shifting the paradigm of what retirement living means. Baby boomers are demanding a more active lifestyle and more modern accommodations. These artworks serve to reinforce that shift, bringing color and energy into the space that reflect the people themselves.
“The glass installation and resulting artwork are simply transformative,” says President and CEO David Beck, “The renovations by Architect One were quite innovative, but once the artwork was unveiled, we knew the project was complete. There’s a renewed energy now at Brewster.”
Bradbury took the project further by inviting not only the residents to participate in the collaborative art experience, but also the volunteers, staff and family
members – including children and grandchildren. Over 100 individuals participated in the “drop-in event,” discovering their inner child and reflecting their life experiences in the art itself.
Once the crowd-sourced artwork was digitized, the artist shifted from analog to digital, using their marks as a medium to explore new compositions that reflect the community in a unique ways.
Working collaboratively with the architect and support team, the artist was able to address a series of technical challenges regarding the glass application. After the artwork was installed, the artist designed a signage system that unifies the new space and completes the transformation.
From the artist: "I'm delighted the project has been such a success. As we finished installing the artworks, a long-time resident looked around in wonder and exclaimed, 'We're not dowdy old Brewster any more!' Later, a guest shared her experience of 'LIMINAL', saying 'It feels like people's voices.'" Community pride has risen and visitors regularly comment on the vibrancy of the artworks. Bradbury considers herself a portraitist, using what she finds in the immediate environment to inform her work. "My medium changes but creating work that reflects the soul of a people and place is my passion."