December 7, 2017

JGS Lifecare hosts fall festival; unveils new sculpture by artist James Kitchen

Over 100 people, including Senator Eric Lesser and Representative Brian Ashe, were in attendance on Sunday, November 19, as JGS Lifecare hosted a fall festival and unveiled a new sculpture by renowned local artist James Kitchen of Chesterfield.

The sculpture, entitled “A Lifetime,” is located outside of the new Sosin Center for Rehabilitation on the JGS Lifecare campus in Longmeadow. It was commissioned by Dr. James Rosenthal, who also sourced the rest of the local artwork on display inside the center.

“The Sosin Center was created to care for our community’s elders, and we felt that the art that surrounds and comforts them should be a reflection of the community in which they live, created by local artists,” said Susan Halpern, vice president of philanthropy, JGS Lifecare. “Jim both conceived of and coordinated our local art acquisition project.”

Rosenthal said, “I sought to commission a signature sculpture to complement and forever be linked to the mission we seek to fulfill here each day. We are dedicated to improving the physical, spiritual and emotional health of individuals and families. I believe that art is key in providing this sense of inner well-being and overall emotional health.”

Kitchen’s metal sculptures grace much of the Pioneer Valley, with over 100 in the downtown Springfield area alone. His creations are constructed of recycled items made of iron and steel, such as rusted tools and farm equipment.

The ascending and intertwining rings of “A Lifetime” come from old wagon wheels that traveled the streets of Springfield over a century ago, at the same time that JGS Lifecare opened its doors to care for the community’s elderly on Massasoit Street. Also integrated into the sculpture are rings cut from piping installed in the new Sosin Center for Rehabilitation that opened just this past December.

“The base of the sculpture is made of large and expansive circles, representing the limitless possibilities of youth,” remarked Kitchen while imitating the sculpture with large and enthusiastic arm-circles. “In the middle, circles become more compressed and intertwined, representing how mid-life can be more complex as we balance relationships, parenting, working and common mid-life challenges, while the upper portion of “A Lifetime” ascends gracefully to the heavens.”

During his remarks, Senator Lesser noted, “Public art enriches us all. We are lucky to have such a thriving arts and cultural community here in western Mass. Let’s keep it going.”

The Fall Festival was coordinated by the Family Advisory Council (FAC) at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home as a membership outreach opportunity and an afternoon for families to get together and celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving with refreshments and activities, including the creation of a Thanksgiving tree, as well as the sculpture unveiling and tours of the Sosin Center.

FAC member Michelle DeChristopher said, “Our purpose is to serve as a voice for all residents. We are here to work collaboratively with the residents, families, administration and staff, creating and promoting projects and programs to benefit and engage resident, families and employees.” She urged others to get involved.

Susan Goldsmith, chair of the board for JGS Lifecare, thanked the Family Advisory Council members for their service to the organization and “for reminding us why we do what we do.” She also thanked Rosenthal and Kitchen for “recognizing the impact that art has on creating nurturing and reflective spaces and promoting inner well-being.”