Calendar Hero

Annual PACE Art Competition Recognizes LA Seniors

“I have always liked painting,” said AltaMed PACE – South Los Angeles participant Gladys Castellon, “but due to my shaky hands, I thought that my painting days were long behind me.”

With the support and encouragement of the staff at her PACE center and a professional artist leading the way, she was able to begin painting again. On January 25, she was one of 10 participants who were recognized for their artistic contributions to the 2019 PACE Art Calendar.

“Our participants’ art brings out the colors and energy of the centers,” said Pamela Barrera, Center Manager of AltaMed PACE – Covina. “Art has been a great outlet for them to be creative, socialize, and vocalize their emotions and feelings.”

For three years, AltaMed PACE has given its participants the opportunity to submit their artwork for inclusion in its annual calendar. Participants from all eight sites across Los Angeles County submit art created in one of their art therapy classes. The 2019 PACE Art Calendar, with 12 original pieces, celebrates the art produced throughout the year and highlights the milestones of the PACE program.

“Art therapy is known to benefit seniors by increasing cognitive skills, intellectual stimulation, while also encouraging socialization and improving self-esteem,” said Maria Zamora, VP of Senior Care Services at AltaMed Health Services. “These art therapy classes give our participants an outlet to express themselves and create art that gives them joy to share with their family and peers.”

Nikita Boykin, a participant from AltaMed PACE – South Los Angeles, submitted the sunflower painting that is featured for the month of July. She shared that the classes helped distract her from chronic head pains.

For participant Maria Saucedo from AltaMed PACE – Downey, the art classes gave her the chance to engage in a lifelong passion that has deep ties to her former home of Jalisco, Mexico, where she would draw and create decorative stitching to sell in local markets.

“While in Mexico, I always dreamed of succeeding in art and using it as a means to provide for my family,” Saucedo said. “Now, I just let my imagination run wild and let it dictate what I am going to put on canvas.”