The Art Of Connections: Peggy Pelletteiri of Friendship Village Lived Her Dream With Her Artwork Featured At The Art Institute Of Chicago

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Titled The Art of Connection, the exhibit showcases the work created and overseen by 29 interns enrolled in the Master of Art Therapy program at the School of the Art Institute. Friendship Village, a retirement community in Schaumburg is in its second consecutive year of hosting students from the program as interns.

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“Peggy has been very excited. She told me that this art exhibit was something she’d always wanted to do,” said Chaplain Shawn Kafader.

Peggy Pelletteiri of Friendship Village lived her dream, as her artwork was featured in a new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Titled The Art of Connection, the exhibit showcases the work created and overseen by 29 interns enrolled in the Master of Art Therapy program at the School of the Art Institute. Friendship Village, a retirement community in Schaumburg is in its second consecutive year of hosting students from the program as interns.

Peggy, a resident of assisted living at Friendship Village, was identified by the community’s clinical counseling supervisor, Chaplain Shawn Kafader, as someone likely to enjoy and benefit from art therapy. “Peggy has always made the arts a part of her life. She has been a dancer, poet, storyteller and painter. Being a part of our art therapy program has allowed Peggy an opportunity to process some of these life experiences as well as continue to live out her role as an artist,” he said. “Our art therapy program has allowed Peggy to remain creative as she experiences some of the challenges of the aging process.”

Peggy was partnered with Friendship Village’s art therapy intern Cathy Clarke, who will be completing her studies in May. Cathy said that in pursuing her Master of Art Therapy degree, she has worked with different populations, but finds herself drawn to seniors. “This is my first experience, and I love it. I have made great connections and they have such incredible stories to tell,” Cathy said. “I feel like they’re an under-appreciated population in our culture. But almost across the board, I see that there are such rich life experiences and a wealth of knowledge that seniors have to share.”

“Over the years, Peggy has experienced decline due to the aging process,” said Shawn.

“As she’s gotten involved with the art program, she’s become more involved in the community. And as we’ve put this art exhibit together, she’s become more confident, and sits and visits with other residents,” Cathy said.

Peggy, who has a special interest in theatrical characters and puppets said that she’s always loved art, and about ten years ago decided to teach herself to draw. “I started drawing seven pictures a night. That’s what started me in art,” she said. “Now everything stands still when I’m drawing. I can hear a pin drop. Some people have said my work is beautiful. That’s a compliment.”

Peggy said that she has been informed that her drawings are reminiscent of a famous artist. “A teacher told me that what I was drawing was a Picasso. I didn’t know that. But I draw a lot of clowns, and that’s how he started out,” she said. Peggy now signs her work “Peggy Picasso”.

Peggy’s exhibit at The Art of Connection is called Peggy’s Puppets: All the World’s a Stage. It features 24 sketches; three of which Cathy brought to life as marionettes in a stage setting. “They’re very whimsical,” said Cathy.

Art of Connections showcases the work by the other graduate art therapy students, along with their clients at their various internship sites. The exhibit opened with a private reception on January 29th and remains open to the public through February 14th.

“Peggy has been very excited. She told me that this art exhibit was something she’d always wanted to do,” said Shawn.

Friendship Village is a leading Chicago-area retirement community offering a complete continuum of care including independent living garden homes and apartment homes, as well as assisted living, memory support, skilled care, and short- and long-term rehabilitation services. For more than 37 years, Friendship Village has been providing Chicago area seniors with exceptional retirement living options. For additional information visit http://www.FriendshipVillage.org

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Bridget Machalinski

Bridget Machalinski
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