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Senior Citizens Recreate Works of Art While in COVID-19 Quarantine

Getty Museum ChallengeGetty Museum Challenge

“Girl in a Black Hat With Red Flowers,” by Pierre Renoir, 1890 | Marion Rowe

The Getty Museum Challenge has taken the world by storm. During COVID-19 quarantine, when cultural institutions were (and many still are) closed, the at-home art project has inspired people to recreate iconic paintings with things they have on hand. This boredom-busting activity appeals to kids and adults alike—including the residents at the Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. They have accepted the Getty Museum Challenge and rocked it by dressing up as paintings by Paul Gauguin, Pierre Renoir, Mary Cassatt, and more.

Karen Schaefer is the recreation manager at Amenida and had the idea to try the project after seeing how anxiety-inducing the pandemic has been for the seniors at her complex. Being in a high-risk group, they need to isolate and have not allowed visitors since March.

Schaefer began the Getty Museum Challenge by printing a half dozen portraits and giving them to the community. The residents then went on the hunt to find props, which included everything from a lampshade to faux flowers to copy paper improvised as part of a dress. While it’s not the same as being out in the world, the activity is helping to keep their spirits up.

“What's really touched my heart is that they're asking, ‘Am I going to be on Facebook? Will you email [the photos] to my daughter or my friend?'” Schaefer explains. “Or they'll say, ‘I've got to call my sister, my daughter, my brother to let them know.'”

Senior citizens at the Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada have taken on the popular Getty Museum Challenge.

Getty Museum Challenge

“Portrait of Luise Halbe in a Straw Hat,” by Lovis Corinth, 1898 | Eunice Salt

Getty Museum Challenge

“Child in Straw Hat,” by Mary Cassatt, 1886 | Trudy Castagner

Getty Museum Challenge

“Lady at the Tea Table,” Mary Cassatt, 1883 | Dorothy Weijer

The residents recreated famous portraits using materials they had on hand.

Getty Museum Challenge

Unknown Impressionist artist, circa 1880s | Kathie Stanley

Getty Museum Challenge

“Woman With a Mango” by Paul Gauguin, 1892 | Florence Grewal

Getty Museum Challenge

“Portrait with a Sunflower,” Anthony van Dyke, 1632 | Jim Cullina

Getty Museum Challenge

Portrait of a woman from the Joseon dynasty 1392–1910, unidentified artist, ca. 1920 – 40 | Young Ok Yang

Getty Museum Challenge

“Monk With Wine,” artist unknown, circa 1900 | Jim Smith

Getty Museum Challenge

“Kim Eun-ho,” Miindo, 1935, ink and color on silk | Chong Soon Jung

Getty Museum Challenge

“Portrait of a Girl With White Dog,” by John Russell, 1790 | Brenda Hawkes and her dog, Ellie

Getty Museum Challenge

Unidentified artist | Jung Ja Lee

Getty Museum Challenge

“Self-Portrait” by Sesshū Tōyō, 1495 | Tadashi Horii

Getty Museum Challenge

“Portrait of a Young Woman” by Isaac Israels, 1920 | Dorothy Hannah

Getty Museum Challenge

“Young Girl in a Straw Hat” by Pierre Renoir, 1884 | Margaret Beaver

Getty Museum Challenge

“Queen Marie of Romania” by Philip de Laszlo, 1924 | Ursula Fraatz

Amenida Seniors Community: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Amenida Seniors Community.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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