In 1940, Edward Krause was unhirable. He couldn't find work in architecture because he was listed as 1A in the draft, with America's entrance into World War II looming.
He had attended the Cooper Union Night School of Art in New York City - where he studied painting, sculpture and calligraphy - and he earned a certificate in architecture. Krause settled for a job as a stenographer until he was inducted into the Army. He later found work at the Boeing Co. helicopter plant, losing touch with his artistic background.
Seventy-six years later, at the age of 99, Krause has now found his way back to the art world at Brandywine Senior Living at Haverford Estates. Once a week, he joins over a dozen other seniors in a drawing and painting program led by professional instructors from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The new 10-week program, running at Brandywine facilities in Upper Providence and Haverford, culminates in an exhibit at PAFA showcasing the seniors' work. At the grand opening from 2 to 4 p.m. on April 9, residents and their families will come together for a gala-style celebration. The exhibit will remain open to the public through early May.
"We know a lot about our residents but tapping in through the use of art opened up another chapter of their lives," said Maria Nadelstumph, vice president of organizational development and program excellence at Brandywine. "It's triggering memories and triggering socialization, which is amazing to see."
The program began in January with instructors from PAFA, most of whom have not worked with seniors before, teaching Brandywine residents about different methods and mediums of art. Over time, residents each pursued pieces at their own pace, using the methods they preferred.
Nadelstumph hopes that after the pilot, the program can expand to some of Brandywine's other 28 facilities across five states through more partnerships with l museums and art groups.
"Our residents aren't interested in sitting around and playing bingo," said Brandywine president and CEO Brenda Bacon. "They want to learn and engage. It's our job to make sure that opportunity is available to them inside our community and outside in the community."