MANITOWOC, Wis. — A giant sunflower and a kaleidoscope of butterflies add bright splashes of color to a wall in the dementia care unit at Sunny Ridge Rehabilitation Center in Sheboygan.
The mural is one in a series of nine designed and painted by Kaye Solander, a junior majoring in studio art and theology at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc.
“This project began when the activities director reached out to the art department at Silver Lake to see if students would be interested in doing a series of murals to ‘bring the outside in’ for the dementia unit residents,” said Solander, who hails from Stephenson, Michigan.
She was encouraged to take on this project as her internship for the spring semester by Erin LaBonte, associate professor of art.
“Throughout this semester, I have learned more about dementia and the needs of the residents. I created the murals from this research, as well as observation and conversations,” Solander said. “The sunflower mural is in the activity room where residents participate in brain-stimulating games, listen to music and build community.”
Other murals in the hallway showcase Sheboygan scenes, to help the residents feel more at home and evoke past memories. Murals in the dining areas feature images of food to stimulate the appetite and help the residents recognize the space as one for eating, she said.
“The murals are very beautiful,” said Lana Jacobs, the center’s therapeutic recreational director. “They liven up the unit. It’s been a very positive experience for our residents.”
Silver Lake College of the Holy Family student Kaye Solander paints a mural at Sunny Ridge Rehabilitation Center in Sheboygan (TOP). Submitted
Kaye Solander (CENTER)