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On June 2, 1980, Presbyterian Village North (PVN) opened in Dallas, ready to transform the lives of seniors through excellent service. After 35 years, the senior living community is still thriving because it has created an environment where residents enjoy an active lifestyle full of ease and quality recreation. To ensure that PVN continues to provide the most sought-after retirement experience, the community is undergoing a $96 million expansion that includes the addition of two independent living buildings, assisted living units, memory care apartments and services, a lifestyle fitness center, a transitional care unit, a chapel and a central park with a water feature and a pavilion. To celebrate the past 35 years and the bright future that lies ahead, the community hosted a series of events and guest speakers in May and June. As part of the festivities, the community celebrated current residents by showcasing award-winning artwork in an inspiring art exhibit that was open for four days. Janice Bentley, a 76-year-old resident at PVN who has lived at the community for eight years, was responsible for putting the art exhibit together and  showcased one of her own pieces that just won a state award. There was even a special Q&A with the artists. 

 

“The art exhibit was a beautiful way to celebrate the residents’ talents and lift them up,” said Bentley. “It was such a vibrant visual, and it is amazing to see how much talent is within this community. I gathered more than 50 submissions, which included oil paintings, watercolors, cross stitching, knitted sweaters, quilts, crazy quilts, pillows, baptismal dresses, ceramics, baskets, Christmas stockings and more. We included a story about each piece on a display card, as well as the name of the piece and who made it. One lady is put in a gorgeous Christmas stocking that she created for her daughter when she was young. Two residents submitted handcrafted a baptismal dress that their family passed around to ensure that all grandchildren wore it on their special occasion. Another resident has submitted a crazy quilt that won best of show in Austin in 2011. The pieces were remarkable and stunning.”

 

Bentley showcased a quilt that recently received acknowledgement in the LeadingAge ArtsInspire contest, whose theme was “Art is Ageless.” Her piece is titled “A Pineapple for My Garden,” and she feels honored to have won first place in the Soft Crafts: Sewing competition. Fellow PVN residents also entered and won. Carol Zoller received second place for “Peacock in a Pear Tree” in the Soft Crafts: Decorative category. Judith “Judy” Logan received third place in Soft Crafts: Decorative for her piece “Viking Ship” and was a finalist in Mixed Media for her piece “Zentangled Gourd.” Zoller’s piece and Logan’s mixed media piece will also be on display during the show. These winning pieces were just on display at the state capitol during mid-May. Some of the artists have been practicing their skills their whole lives, while others picked up their hobbies in retirement.

 

“I have been quilting since 1999,” said Bentley. “I had always admired quilts and decided to pick it up in my retirement. I have easily made more than 100 quilts since I started. Even though I have given many of them away, I have quilts all over my home. I use them for tablecloths; they are hanging in the game room and in the dining room; they are on the wall and draped over the sofa. They’re everywhere! My first piece I entered in the Dallas quilt show was a stained glass quilt, which I made 12 years ago when I first started quilting.  I received an honorable mention for that quilt. Over time I kept submitting different pieces for shows in and around Dallas and have received awards and honorable mentions for more of my work. Once you take home two blue ribbons from a major show, such as the one in Dallas, you achieve the title of “Master Quilter.” I am happy to have achieved that title and look for new methods of quilting to challenge myself.”

 

Bentley’s first blue-ribbon quilt was a Christmas-themed quilt covered in poinsettias and red berries. It took her two to three months to make the 608 berries that cover the quilt. She received recognition at the Plano show and the Dallas show for that piece. She made her other blue-ribbon quilt three years ago. It is titled “Magical Medallions” and is hanging up in her living room. Bentley has enjoyed sharing her passion with fellow residents at PVN and was happy to help lift up others and showcase their artwork as well. She is grateful for these opportunities provided to her through PVN.

 

“I was so excited to be a part of the celebration of such a phenomenal community,” said Bentley. “They work very hard to please us and make us happy, and that is a comforting feeling. There are also many opportunities for involvement and building friendships with your neighbors. I host the Sew and Sew group at my house every Tuesday, and we make items that we donate to charity. Retirement at PVN is a pleasurable experience because we get to pursue our passions and spend time doing things we enjoy with great company.”

 

“When residents choose to spend their retirement in our village, we make a commitment to deliver excellent service, build compassionate relationships and maintain a community that is a backdrop for new memories and experiences,” said Ron Kelly, executive director at Presbyterian Village North. “We work hard to deliver a community of connectedness filled with an abundance of choice. PVN’s founders have acknowledged that we are fulfilling the very mission we set for our community 35 years ago – we are a ministry of people here to serve people. We have the same passion and drive as our community’s founders, and we have changed over time to ensure that we accommodate the needs and desires of today’s seniors. When I envision this community 35 years from now, I see someone in my shoes having the same conversation, and I know this team will be striving to fulfill the same mission.”

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