Growing Old Together*

*An exhibition in collaboration with and by Frankeland seniors

1 November 2022 to 8 January 2023

All the artworks featured in the exhibition Growing Old Together. Frankeland seniors tell their story were created by residents and clients of the Frankeland Group as part of the Project Kunst (Project Art) competition. Participants were invited to submit a piece of art that was related to the theme ‘together’. Following the huge success of the competition, the organisers reached out to the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. The works of the five winners – and all the other participants – will be on display in the new Stadsgalerij (City Gallery).

The winners
‘The submissions were incredibly diverse, and each and every one of them was both impressive and moving’, says the museum’s city programmer Dorien Theuns. The Project Kunst competition was instigated by Matthijs Lokerse, head of well-being at the Frankeland Group, and visual therapist Sofie Noordzij, who uses art to help elderly people establish connections and reminisce in a creative way. The competition proved a resounding success; when the submissions kept flooding in, the organisers decided to get in touch with the museum. A jury was soon formed, comprising staff from the Frankeland Group and the museum and the artist Pris Roos. After careful deliberation, the jury finally selected five winners: Gerald Woensdregt (60), Carla Kostense (68), Christina Franken (66), Yvon Suttorp (84) and Bep van Hagen (88). Their works will be given a prominent spot in the exhibition, but the other submissions will certainly not be forgotten – they will also be displayed on a screen for visitors to see.

More than an exhibition
The museum was so enthusiastic about the project that it was keen to go the extra mile for the participants. Artist Pris Roos was asked to catch up with each of the five winners to find out more about who they are and what ‘together’ means to them. She then used these conversations as inspiration to create portraits of Gerald, Carla, Christina, Yvon and Bep. These portraits will also be on display as part of the exhibition. Visitors will also be able to listen to short audio clips of the conversations between Pris Roos and the winners.

The Frankeland seniors were very enthusiastic about the art programme. But to lend a helping hand to those residents who were initially struggling for inspiration, the museum sent museum lecturer and artist Geneviève Kooijman to Frankeland’s locations to give a creative workshop. During the session, Kooijman guided the seniors as they paused to contemplate their hands in a tender and poetic way. Sharing stories of the things they had been through brought back very special memories. They then painted each other’s hands, before expressing their thanks to them at the end of the session with a loving song. The workshop was very moving and stirred up a lot of emotions and memories. ‘I was able to express myself for the first time’, says one of the participants.

The exhibition Growing old together will be on show in the new Stadsgalerij at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. This is a special space in the museum; it hosts exhibitions that have been created in collaboration with Schiedam’s local residents. Growing old together. Frankeland seniors tell their story is the second exhibition to be held in this unique new space; the first, A colourful collection of ordinary people, inspired by the Buurtplaatjes (photos of neighbours) series, runs until 16 October 2022.

About the Frankeland Group
Guided by its motto ‘As normal as possible’, the Frankeland Group offers seniors in Schiedam and Vlaardingen a wide range of healthcare and well-being services, both through its home-care team and at its five locations.

Photo: Bep van Hagen (88) with her piece Woman with green [Vrouw met groen]. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn.