Elmhurst artist’s mural
honors Park Place residents

Memory Care Mural

The Memory Care mural, painted by local artist Donna Castellanos, shares details about 20 residents — details they themselves might not always remember.

ELMHURST, Ill. (February 2015) — Pat loved being a housewife, and she enjoys gardening; Art was a surgeon, tennis player, and golfer.

These facts are posted in a freshly painted mural in the Gilead, the memory care area at Park Place Health and Wellness Center. The mural, painted by local artist Donna Castellanos, shares details about the 20 Gilead residents — details about who they were and who they are, details they themselves might not always remember. This information helps visitors and other families learn more about each resident. A quote at the bottom reads, “Time passes … memories fade … but the heart never forgets.”

The idea for the mural came from the life enrichment staff — there was a large open wall near the entrance to the area, and they wanted to use it for something meaningful. Health and Wellness Center Life Enrichment Director Kathy Groenendyk had a vision for a tree, because over time, the residents and their families become like one large family.

“From when we opened (in 2012), I wanted to put something on that wall, and somehow, the vision of a Gilead family tree came up,” Groenendyk said. “We wanted something beautiful, something that tells about the residents — they are all unique, and we wanted to show family and other visitors what they have done.”

Families were present at the dedication of the mural, which took place during a family get-together in January. The party and dedication were attended even by a couple whose relative has passed away — they still come back to visit other Gilead residents, evidence of the family ties created in the unit.

Castellanos was also present at the dedication ceremony in January.

“It was Donna’s style and work that brought the mural to life,” said Park Place of Elmhurst Life Enrichment Director Lisa Stoik, who has worked with the artist in the past.

The last few years, Castellanos has been at Park Place for art workshops, where she and the residents create ornaments, which Castellanos then sells at Art in the Park (an annual event at Wilder Park). The profits benefit charitable organizations, such as the Emergency Clothes Closet in Oak Park or the United Community Concerns Association, a food bank in Elmhurst.

Castellanos, who was born and raised in Elmhurst, teaches at the Elmhurst Art Museum.

“She’s a great artist — very talented and very giving,” Stoik said.

The gift she gave Park Place will continue to bless staff, residents, and their families for years to come.

This story was shared with local media, and it was picked up by My Suburban Life in their February 25, 2015, edition.

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