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Cross-Generational Legacy Project Inspires Unique Work of Art

They risked their lives to help release American Prisoners of War, helped solve international disputes, led programs for the United Nations, and been trailblazing female military navigators. And along the way, they’ve captured the imagination of the next generation.

The lives of 30 of remarkable residents from Atlantic Shores Retirement Community recently inspired a unique work of art, created by gifted young area students.

The socially active retirement community recently partnered with eighth-grade students from Old Donation School in Virginia Beach as a key element of the students’ Capstone Project.

Over the course of the year, students paired up in groups of 3-4, based on similar interests, to identify an issue in the community, and work towards resolving it – – attending to the three pillars of sustainability: social; economic; and environmental.

One student group was interested in the dynamics surrounding the aging of our population. For the “social” aspect of their cross-generational project, they wanted to explore the legacies of area seniors, and capture them through the use of visual arts.

These exceptional students were paired with intriguing Atlantic Shores residents for personal, face-to-face interviews. Afterward, they and their fellow students creatively interpreted an impactful scene from each resident’s life into a single, oversized painting, weaving all the stories together into a historic creation.

As part of the “environmental” aspect of the project, this legacy painting was created on an eco-friendly stretched canvas using non-toxic paint, all sourced by the students. For the “economic” aspect of this interdisciplinary project, the students also researched the economics of long-term care. At the completion of the Capstone Project, students assessed the impacts of their actions both qualitatively and quantitatively and reflected on their own growth over the course of the endeavor.

Bringing People Together Through Art

The painting was officially unveiled for the first time in a special ceremony at Atlantic Shores on June 12, when residents were able to see how their stories came to life through the eyes of the students. One by one, each resident was thanked by the students and posed for a portrait beside their image on the painting. Family, friends and fellow residents were also in attendance to support this historic project and meet the young artists who are helping carry forward the legacies of their loved ones.

After the ceremony, this exceptional painting was displayed in hallway gallery space at Atlantic Shores, and in the future will be on rotational display in schools, local libraries, and community centers – – celebrating this unique multigenerational collaboration.