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Couple creates artistic space at Brooksby

Created date

May 24th, 2011

Last spring Manny and Nordia Kay visited Brooksby Village, an Erickson Living community in Peabody, Mass., for the first time, as guests of a friend. During the visit, the friend called other friends over to meet the couple. Nordia Kay, a watercolor artist, recalls the connection made then: Two friends came to meet us. One of them said, I have a painting of yours. Then the second one said, I have a painting of yours. That s been a real fun thing. At the time, the Kays were living in Marblehead, Mass., where Mrs. Kay had taught watercolor painting to adults for 40 years and remains a well-known artist today. A handful of her former students live at Brooksby and between them, friends, and admirers, her paintings grace a number of Brooksby homes.

Decision time

At the time of their first visit, the couple had moved from their Marblehead home of 40 years to a condominium with a three-year lease. The third year was coming; there was a lot of uncertainty of what would happen, Mr. Kay remembers. We decided if we were going to make a move, let s make a move we want to make. The first step to worry-free living. Join Brooksby s priority list find out more at 1-800-516-4798. Though the Kays find it difficult to pinpoint the one thing they most liked about Brooksby on that first visit, Mr. Kay says, The place had a certain amount of class; you felt you were in a place that was put together well. One of the advantages of Brooksby for us is it s in the neighborhood, he adds. People feel they can drop in. The couple has a daughter in Swampscott and a son currently in Cambridge. After the initial visit with friends, the Kays put their names on Brooksby s priority list, reserving them a spot in the community when an apartment home became available. In September the two-bedroom, two-bathroom Oxford floor plan with just the right view and amount of closet space they desired became available and they made their move. Since then the Kays have been settling in and organizing their belongings. Their living room is lit with the inviting pastels of Mrs. Kay s watercolors, depicting tranquil flowers, lighthouses, and beach scenes. For the past 30 years, Mrs. Kay has collaborated with photographer Herb Goldberg to create an annual Herb-Nordia, a piece featuring one of Goldberg s black-and-white photographs and a matching watercolor painted by Kay. Each year the Herb-Nordia, now a collector s item, is auctioned off to raise money for the Marblehead Festival of the Arts, an event that takes place in early July. Over the years the Herb-Nordias have raised a total of between $30,000 and $35,000 for the event.

Artistic endeavors

The Kays plan to use their second bedroom as a shared office/art studio for their future projects. An industrial psychologist, Mr. Kay worked at General Electric for 11 years before consulting independently for company performance appraisal systems and employee development. Now he has turned his attention to more visual work and joined Brooksby s photography club. A recent group meeting focused on software used for digitizing and organizing slides. Mr. Kay has already digitized hundreds of slides, but has many more to go, including about 400 related to his wife s paintings. He hopes to organize the images in digital frames to tell a story for the couple s children and their families. He says the club has been extremely helpful, adding, They re really a great bunch; there s a lot of encouragement. During one of the couple s early visits to the community, they stopped in one of Brooksby s craft rooms, where each month art and craft exhibits are featured. Nordia was invited almost immediately to have an art exhibit, Mr. Kay remembers. The couple s neighbors eagerly persisted until the exhibit came to fruition in February. Though Mrs. Kay took some time off from painting after the couple s move, she planned to begin painting again this spring. Meanwhile, the Kays are looking forward to meeting more of their neighbors. I m dying to get into this book, Mr. Kay says, handling a copy of Brooksby s resident directory.