Laurel Circle’s Creative Workshops Inspire Residents’ Artistic Abilities
Laurel Circle, a life plan community for seniors in Bridgewater, NJ, cultivates and bolsters all aspects of wellness through its 8 Dimensions of Wellness program. The holistic health and well-being program engages residents through activities, events, classes, and trips that support social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, vocational, physical, and intellectual wellness, as well as health services such as assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.
Of the aspects of wellness, vocational wellness is often one of the most overlooked. Hobbies and activities that give us pleasure are proven to reduce stress and anxiety by allowing us to live a more balanced fulfilled life. That is why residents of Laurel Circle can prioritize their vocational wellness by participating in a wide variety of creative workshop classes. Topics include floral arts, photography, creative writing, and so much more. Workshops like these are taught by the community’s dedicated staff as well as experts from its long-standing partner, Arts by the People.
Arts by the People is a local non-profit dedicated to providing arts education, programs, and opportunities to the general public. Professional artists from Arts by the People have worked with Laurel Circle residents for many years, inspiring them to discover their creativity, while also learning new skills.
Megan Fainsinger, an artist from Arts by the People, uses her passion for gardening and professional skills in floral design to create educational, creative, and enriching horticultural programs for the seniors of Laurel Circle. Residents create bouquets, crafts, plantings, and other artistic arrangements using a variety of plants and flowers in her monthly Floral Arts Workshops. Recently, they explored the art of Kokedama, a popular style of planting in Japanese gardens made with a ball of soil covered with moss, on which an ornamental plant grows. Other recent projects include rustic Easter wreaths and custom seasonal-inspired floral arrangements. Fainsinger believes workshops like these help people reconnect with their love of the outdoors through the sight, touch, and smell of plants.
“Not only does this workshop enable residents to create art they can share with family and friends, but it gives them the creative freedom to use their imagination and create what they want,” says Leah Jennings, Community Life Services Director of Laurel Circle.
Paul Rabinowitz, the Founder and Executive Director of Arts by the People, teaches Laurel Circle’s twice-monthly creative writing and photography workshops. In the photography workshop, Rabinowitz teaches budding creatives how to use digital cameras and educates them on the best methods of sharing photos with their family and friends using technology.
The creative writing workshop invites seasoned and novice writers to come together and share their stories through different writing styles. The class covers everything from poetry, prose, and non-fiction. Resident Bill Geyer’s memoir, “Riveting Memories,” features two writing assignments he completed in the creative writing workshop as well as an entire chapter dedicated to sharing his experiences living at Laurel Circle.
“These creative workshops have become an engaging and meaningful experience for the residents who attend,” says Jennings. “The classes give them opportunity to use their creative talents to make art they are proud of.”