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Homegrown gallery attracts big names

The Gallery at Ann’s Choice exhibits works from nation- ally acclaimed artist Tom McKinney

Created date

March 21st, 2018
Tom McKinney’s portrait exhibit at The Gallery at Ann’s Choice was primarily resident-driven. Residents launched and manage the gallery. Irene Reiter (left) interviewed McKinney during a special event in the campus performing arts center.

Tom McKinney’s exhibit at The Gallery at Ann’s Choice was resident-driven.

Most retirement communities provide clubs and activities to participate in, but one community takes it a step further.

Ann’s Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, Pa., inspires its residents to dream big. “They encourage us to think up good ideas,” says Edie Krieger. “Then they support us to make those ideas happen.”

Two years ago Edie’s neighbor, Sherry Resnick, proposed establishing an art gallery at Ann’s Choice. After getting positive feedback from resident services staff, Sherry asked Edie to partner with her in the venture. Edie said yes immediately.

The women, both photographers, have exhibited in galleries. They’ve known one another most of their lives and were neighbors for decades in Huntington Valley.

Sherry and Edie spearheaded the gallery project with staff providing technical and promotional assistance. The Gallery at Ann’s Choice opened two years ago.

The exhibits, six each year, hang on a long wall across from the creative arts studio in Liberty Commons Clubhouse and feature work by community members, area artists, and Ann’s Choice staff.

A nationally acclaimed artist

A recent exhibit, “Mostly Portraits,” showcased work by Philadelphia native and nationally acclaimed watercolorist and portrait artist Tom McKinney.

McKinney’s website describes his paintings as projecting a powerful and “almost photographic realism.”

Knowing no bounds in terms of subjects, McKinney, who is African–American, captures on canvas the essence of jazz musicians, ethnic peoples, and children.

As do all the gallery’s exhibits, his opened with a reception in the Liberty Commons Clubhouse lounge.

“At the reception, the audience was spellbound as he talked about his life,” says Edie. “He had all kinds of stories about painting his portraits.”

A special event about McKinney, his life and work, was held at Ann’s Choice in February during Black History Month.

Following a meet and greet session, Irene Reiter interviewed the artist in the campus performing arts center. Staff from Ann’s Choice’s on-site television studio filmed the interview to air later on ACTV.

Irene’s thoughtful questions included several about McKinney’s connection with jazz and how he came to know and paint such renowned musicians as Eubie Blake, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane.

No couch potatoes here

Technically, Sherry and Edie are retired. But they show no signs of slowing down.

They both lead active and fulfilling lives at Ann’s Choice, and each participates in activities on and off campus. Edie says there’s so much to choose from that she doesn’t have time to do everything she’d like.

So why add managing an art gallery and mounting exhibits to their schedules?

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” says Sherry, “I like very much being a part of bringing this to my friends and neighbors. At Ann’s Choice we share our gifts. That’s why we have 150 clubs here. They keep it a lively place and keep our minds busy and happy.”

Edie finds her involvement with the gallery to be empowering.

“I’m doing something that really interests me,” she says. “I’m so happy to be at Ann’s Choice. It has enriched my life.” 

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