Hastings woman aged 82 sees her art go on display in the town centre

Care home resident Audrey Coward has had work from her life drawing classes selected for display on a Hastings bus shelter.

Audrey, 82, who lives at Hastings Court care home on The Ridge, is one of a number of local artists given the chance to display their works as part of Lovehastings.com’s ‘Artshelter’ project.

Her figure of a man done in charcoal is on display at the bus stop in Queens Road.

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“I can’t believe my work has been chosen!” said Audrey, “I feel so pleased. This is one time I hope the buses are late so people get more time to look at it!”

Audrey Coward, aged 82, with her bus shelter art SUS-210713-122642001

Audrey is among Hasting Court’s residents who, prior to lockdown, took part in regular life drawing classes run by Judy Parkinson from Drawing Life. The classes used real life models and allowed residents, many of whom have dementia, the opportunity to express themselves, to reminisce and to communicate with staff and loved ones in a different way.

“It’s wonderful to see Audrey’s drawing has been chosen,” said Judy. “It shows not only what older people can produce but what those living with dementia can achieve, given the opportunity. The life drawing classes were so impactful, requiring people to really look at what they were seeing.

“Art is wonderfully therapeutic not only in being a focused, calming activity but also giving people a sense of autonomy.”

Hastings Court has been running in-house art classes during lockdown, led by Lifestyles Assistant, Martine Dupuy.

“Art is something that’s really enjoyed by many of our residents,” she said. “It’s such a positive activity that gives them a sense of pride and achievement at the end of the session. It can also be a great tool for communication. We talk about what they’ve created and it can stimulate memories we’ve not heard from them before.

“Although Audrey drew her figure many months ago, it’s still a strong memory for her.

Now it’s been chosen for the bus shelter she’s been telling us how she used to take the bus a lot when she was younger, growing up in Bromley. It’s wonderful to see her delight at her drawing being selected.”

Audrey’s daughter, Lesley Cordier, is equally thrilled. “I am so proud of my mum! Queens Road isn’t somewhere I normally need to go but I make a detour now just so I can see Mum’s drawing! .

“The staff at Hastings Court have given her so much support and encourage her to do things she hasn’t done before.

“To see her artwork on display in town just shows what the team’s time and patience can achieve!”