A Resident’s Perspective – My Arts Walk Experience

ShawsWritten by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2015

When I think Panorama can’t get any better, they pull something else on us.  Well, they did again in May, when 300 guests and 300 residents attended our first annual Art Walk and tour of the campus, organized by Panorama and our Art Guild.

Chris and I arrived in our sage, Panorama Art Walk T-shirts to our assigned, white-skirted table with wooden easels made in the woodshop.  It was next to the grand piano I’d play as part of the Music Arts Division.

Chris’ framed scene of a tree on a hill in Rocky Mountain National Park was sketched with fine-point pens. So was my framed Fancy Fish Aquarium in Zentangle art-form. The larger of two fish was multi-sectioned—each filled with a different, intricate pattern.   A smaller identical fish—but colored, blending from light yellow to deep purple—was a cut-out mounted on the cardstock.  On the bottom of the scene were piles of ornate, tiny squiggles of aquarium-looking plants, shells, vines, and sand, illustrated with almost hair-thin pen points.

J.ShanowerWe were swarmed with excited visitors OH’s and AH’s who came to our table and other exhibits in the same large reception room of the skilled nursing facility.  There were demos of woven and twined baskets made primarily of bark.  A lady demonstrated functional baskets and sculptural art-work using fabric, water-colored paper, thread, paint and occasionally wire.  A resident-teacher was weaving exquisite coiled baskets with pine needles and waxed Irish linen thread.

At noon, Chambers Restaurant hosted a buffet of raw veggies and fruits, gourmet sandwiches, salads, and hearty soup amid the high volume of excited chatter.


C.BowersPanorama busses shuttled, or visitors walked in beautiful weather to the auditorium for theater scenes, artist profiles, then ice cream while listening to live stringed and brass music outdoors.

On to other areas, to view books by residents, metal and wood works, and fused glass jewelry.  Many strolled paradise in McGandy Park.

Visitors were also amazed with:

The Clay Arts Studio with artists at work

Demonstrations of hand-woven tapestry

Fabric art using hand-dyed and commercial cotton and silk fabric

Wood sculptures

Northwest Coast native style art–masks, rattles, bowls, flat art

Shadow boxes of unique found objects, images, fabric, fiber, trims

Acrylic, oil, watercolor, gouache paintings

Counted cross-stitch, and much more.

We are honored with two centenarian—artists:

*Russell Day, who mentored famous Dale Chihuly, whose “Glass Persians” hang over the large fireplace in Panorama Hall, and at our front entrance outdoors: the Icicle Tower.

*Cay Thomas, and her oil paintings, has encouraged and instructed many other residents in her 35 years as resident.

The next day, residents raved the success, quoting guests’ comments:

“You residents seem so happy.”

“I heard most residents say that one spouse wasn’t interested in moving, but glad they did.  Now I’m relieved.”

“The quality talent on Panorama campus is incredible.”

“I showed up early to fill out an application first thing.  I’ve been checking places—I’m ready!”

“Whenever I ask for cons about their choice, most say they wished they’d come sooner, and that Panorama just gets better and better.”

“My husband loves the wood and metal workshops.  I love that pool, art studio and many exercise rooms around the campus. I want to learn to weave.  So many choices!”

“My husband didn’t want to come today, but I made him.  He just now whispered to me, ‘Maybe we’d better get on the list!’” 

If you missed it this year, yep,—you missed!  Keep in touch.  Maybe we’ll see you next year.

P.S.  Wait ‘till you read what we’re doing every day in June!

Mary Jo Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Arts and Appreciation

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2015

Panorama is home to many artists working in many media. Recently Panorama and the Arts Guild sponsored a “first annual” Arts Walk here on campus. By all manner of measuring, this was a huge success. 

I must admit to being on the appreciation end of the art spectrum. My talents at crafts, art, musical ability and such are not up to what we were treated to in late May. So many venues displayed artistic talents of residents in the Panorama community. Active work by some involved was being displayed as we “appreciators” moved from building to building. The new clay workroom is quite a generous space and creations coming out of it are great! 


Resident Artist in action at the Clay Arts Studio

Stage works and visual photographic art were displayed at the Auditorium, running and alternating for the event. Piano music was enjoyed in both the Convalescent and Rehab lobby and in the restaurant which served a nicely put together array of luncheon choices. 


Resident Artist, Lillian K. – Photo courtesy of Charlie Keck

Many of our artists are busy in work shops (wood, fabric, metal, lapidary) not always seen by folks who live in this amazing community. It was an extra treat to have it all out on display for the walk around. The artistic energy is amazing! 

The day was sunny and bright and Panorama offered shuttles from venue to venue for those who were less steady on their feet. This made the entire outing accessible to so many. I think it was of interest to many who came from the greater Lacey/Olympia area as well. 

A display of this kind is never very successful without the time and effort put in by volunteers. Panorama is awash with caring folks who give of time, besides their talents, to keep activities rolling. Hats off to the entire band of volunteers, artists and staff that made this a wonderful day!!!! 


Resident Artist, Julia T.  – Photo courtesy of Charlie Keck.

Many of us will look forward to next year and perhaps the Second Annual Arts Walk at Panorama.


Sandy Bio


A Resident’s Perspective – Kids Today


Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner. May 2015

Do you ever get tired of watching the news and hearing over and over again about all the bad things happening in our schools?  School shootings, drugs, low educational scores, bullying, cyber-bullying, and all the other things reported that give us pause about young people, about what they are thinking and doing.

Well there is a very large bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Recently Panorama and the North Thurston School District had a joint program here at Panorama.  It was a sort of “thank you” from the district to the Panorama residents for their support of local schools, school activities and general community involvement.

There were 3 parts to the program:

The Superintendent of the District, Raj Manhas, spoke about the state of the local schools in terms of financial stability, test scoring, future school sites and site upgrades and his philosophy of how the teacher/student relationship is being handled.  The audience found the presentation positive, informative and gratifying to hear.

The second part of the program was a set of musical programs by local middle school students; a jazz group and an a cappella singing group.   I have to say these students were not only remarkably talented for their age but were also kind, polite delightful kids.  They were respectful to the Panorama staff working with them, they followed directions to the letter, and were very responsive to the staff with “thank you’s”, “your welcomes” and “yes sir/so sir”.  Not like any of the kids portrayed on the news.

My favorite part of the program was the Intergenerational Discussion Panel.  The panel consisted of 4 Panorama residents and 4 high school seniors.  I was privileged to have been the moderator for the discussion.  The purpose of the panel was to bring together people of different generations and discuss the similarities and differences of their high school experiences that has a spread of more than 50 years.  The questions touched on a variety of topics: Jobs Dress Codes and Trends, Curfew, Bullying etc.

I must say I expected more differences than similarities in the discussion, but found that there was quite a bit of agreement on the topics discussed.  Of course the clothing trends were a fun trip down memory lane and provoked a giggle or two from the teen panelists who were seemingly amazed that people actually wore poodle skirts.  Then the real laugh came when Bill S (graduated in the 50’s) shared a memory of a group of girls who chose to wear pants to school one week, which of course was not allowed, girls wore dresses only.  The boys were so taken aback by this statement that they decided to make a statement of their won by wearing skirts to school, which almost got them expelled!

As the questions kept coming and discussion carried on, many striking differences were revealed. For instance, while one student shared that her high school has a Gay-Straight Alliance Club that fosters acceptance and open discussion about sexual identity, a resident panelist replied with a story about how, as a teen, she didn’t even know what the word “gay” meant; “people just never talked about it.” On another topic of great differences, bullying was described as “no longer physical” in today’s schools. Children continue to be put down and verbally abused by their peers but there is a lot of support offered and it’s simply not tolerated. This was in great contrast to the memories of years ago when bullying was “just the way things were…it wasn’t considered ‘wrong’ and no one dared say anything about it.” Although, at some schools, student athletes were encouraged to step in and protect a fellow student who was being bullied.

At the end of the program I asked the group if they had any questions for the other panel members.  There was one:  “What do you think of old people?”  To a student, they agreed that they liked older people, that they had great stories to tell, their experiences were interesting and helpful to the students and that older people had lived long enough and had enough experiences in life to not worry so much about what others think, they just say what’s on their mind with confidence and self awareness.

One last question was “What do you consider old?”  The first answer brought down the house with laughter.  The answer given was 40!  One wise young man replied “Old is a state of mind. Like, I can just tell by your shoes that you’re not old” he said as he pointed to the shoes of a resident panelist.

These 4 high school seniors were at ease with the panel, the questioning, they were bright, funny, driven, knowledgeable, well spoken and intelligent.  Their contribution to the panel was outstanding and gave the audience a wonderful view of high school today.  They too were nothing like the kids reported in most news stories.  It was heartening being part of and hearing about their lives, opinions and experiences.

I ended the panel discussion with the statement, “I guess we can feel pretty good about our future.”   I think everyone in the audience agreed after hearing our panel discussion.

So the next time you are watching the news and it all sounds so bad just remember that for each of the kids going in the wrong direction there are so many more that are on the right path and will do great things.

Mike Turner

A Resident’s Perspective – Music and Memory

Panorama Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. May 2015

On Tuesday, April 28th, the Panorama Auditorium showed a Learning In Retirement segment that all of us should see.  It was titled “Music and Memory” and featured the work of Dan Cohen in awakening residents of nursing homes and gentle-care facilities from their seeming withdrawal from life.  Dan Cohen is a social worker who observed how withdrawn long term residents with dementia and, particularly, Alzheimer’s disease seemed to be.  But, he also observed another thing about them:  music, particularly, their favorite type of music seemed to reach deep within their brains and light a fire of memory, animation and socialization.  They came alive.  Cohen followed this observation by using the technology of the I-Pod player to provide residents with a way to play their own music over the simple headset.  He founded a non-for-profit organization dedicated to getting as many nursing homes and gentle-care facilities as possible in this country to use the simple technology to bring life to their residents.

As I watched the LIR video play out I was so glad that last year about this time of year PC/C.A.R.E. and the Panorama Foundation were responsible to bringing the program to the Activities Department of our nursing facility.  As a result we have 30 I-Pods in use or will have shortly.  It is a thrill to see people who have been in the deep slumber of dementia waken to the tune and beat of their favorite music played on their personal I-Pod in the quiet of their own room.  The video showed this so well.  I’m delighted to have a part in this program that is so worthy.  And—you should be too!  Because it is the dollars you have contributed that have made the difference.  Thanks!

By the way, Katherine Billings told us the auditorium will be showing the video again soon. Watch for it and see for yourself the value of their program.

Bowers Bio