Breathtaking photographs and paintings, along with intricate stitchery and other media, were featured in the annual Art Walk exhibition at Dearborn’s Henry Ford Village senior living community. The event, which ended Apr. 18, began in 2018 as a way of getting a little exercise and discussing hobbies and mutual interests with other residents.

During an interview with Sylvia Moore on HFV Community Television’s “This is the Life” program, coordinator Christine Panyard said the Art Walk idea was born from displaying items from her own art collection outside of her apartment door. “Were blessed to have so many of talented and creative residents here, and we have so many that have traveled and collected a tremendous amount of art,” she said. “I thought it would be a good idea to show it off.”

Safe interaction with the artists was encouraged during Art Walk, which was cut to two weeks this year because of the pandemic. Joanne Latham displayed a large, colorful piece entitled “Spring in the Garden” that took countless hours to stitch together. The work features birds, plants, and other elements one would associate with the leisurely outdoor activity. Latham took up knitting many years ago during a cross-country trip before trying her hand at counted cross stitch. A retired teacher, Latham still educates people on the difference between cross stitch and counted cross stitch. “Cross stitching is working off of a pre-stamped pattern on a piece of fabric where the colors of floss you use are already there,” she said. “Counted cross-stitch doesn’t have a pre-determined printed pattern.”

Resident Roger Skully is a retired therapist whose interest in photography was a way of life before it became a hobby. He’s shot a number of subjects over the years from people to animals and displayed several outside his apartment this month for people to enjoy. “I used to take formal pictures at weddings with film, and then digital cameras became popular, and each had its own characteristics,” he said. “Film had the capability of painting its own palette, while digital media made it easier to manipulate and copy photographs.”

Pencil drawings and a self-portrait in red and blue highlighted the Art Walk contributions of Patricia Austin. The latter body of work was the result of working with sketches to perfect her style of producing such work. Like Latham, she’s a former educator, having taught college-level art courses during her many years in Alaska. That rich background has served her well since moving into HFV in 2014. She’s participated in art appreciation courses and various lectures and continues to enjoy art’s educational – rather than business – side. “The drawings I had displayed are not totally indicative of the work that I do,” Austin said. “Although I’ve had good sales over the years on my work, I’m more of an educator than an artist. I was always interested more in the education and teaching and enjoying the exhibitions.”

A former psychologist and educator, Panyard said the Art Walk program has been wildly successful. “One of the things that people like the best is learning about the other residents here,” she said, “learning in terms of what is of interest to them, why they collect it, or how they came to create their art pieces.”