BY ALLISON MATYUS
A collaborative art project infused two generations together to create art and foster relationships between high school students and the residents at Montgomery Place Retirement Community.
Urban Gateways Chicago sponsored Crosswalks, an eight-week art program in which young students were paired with a resident from Montgomery Place, 5550 S. Shore Dr., and the results turned out surprising.
“This project challenged previous assumptions about these different groups of people and how they interact,” said Jill Potter, the director of programs at Urban Gateways.
Kids as young as 16 and residents as old as 94 stepped out of their comfort zones to share ideas and creativity, which culminated in a 3D finished product. Partners were asked what “home” means to them, and they worked together to create a unique version of that idea.
“All of us have a different understanding of what home is, but we decided that it is a broad spectrum of many different colors, ideas and cultures,” student Terrell Johnson said.
Johnson and his partner, Nate Kalichman, were able to form a special bond through the program and found out they were not all that different from each other.
“We started off by being uncomfortable, but as we worked together, we began to discover we are very much alike intellectually and in how we view the world,” said Kalichaman, a Montgomery Place resident of seven years.
Together, the dynamic duo created a 3D model of the spreading of migration as human beings for their final project.
Another partnership formed between two women, student Zana Carter and resident Barbara Greenberg, when their paths crossed for the project.
“She was a joy to work with. Zana was always interactive and conscious of my sensibilities and was always quick to be helpful,” Greenberg said, who has been a resident at Montgomery Place for almost five years.
“It puts things into perspective when you hear about how they grew up,” Carter said. “I wish I could have known her when she was my age.”
Besides the ability to break barriers between age groups, Crosswalks was successful in proving that creativity never goes away.
“This project most prominently demonstrated that the creative process never leaves you. The desire to create and engage remains very strong throughout every stage of life,” Potter said.