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Fund Brings Art to Affordable Housing


Vineyard Village resident Betsy Stubbs shows off a piece she painted during an art class.

Sometimes, the act of picking up a paintbrush says more than words ever could. That’s one reason that Dianamaria Baciarelli wanted to offer an art class at Vineyard Village.

“Art is a way of communicating without talking,” says Baciarelli, service coordinator for the Livermore, California, community. The class, called Let There Be Paint, offers a calm and serene atmosphere where residents can express themselves and bond over the shared activity, Baciarelli says.

Since it began in May, the class has attracted a regular group of about 10 to 12 residents.

“It’s kind of a beautiful thing for them. It’s something they’ve maybe always wanted to do, and here’s the opportunity,” says Anne Giancola, the artist and brains behind the class.

When the funds needed to continue the class began to dwindle, Baciarelli turned to a new lifeline — the KL Synergist Service Fund. The fund helps enrich the lives of residents of Beacon Communities, ABHOW’s affordable housing subsidiary, by providing health and wellness services that may not otherwise be available due to a lack of resources.

Support from donors is vital to continue the fund and bring people like Giancola into the lives of residents, says Andrea Schulte, the Foundation’s planned giving adviser.

Betsy Stubbs, who has lived at Vineyard Village for eight years, never considered herself an artist. Now her art portfolio is brimming with paintings of trees, lighthouses, animals and people. She credits her blossoming artistic impulses to the supportive environment that Giancola has created in the class.

“Everybody seems to be very comfortable with Anne. She’s very easy to be around,” says Stubbs. “She’s a real human, do you know what I mean?”

The most essential part of the class, Giancola says, isn’t the finished product — it’s about the journey itself.

“It’s a very relaxing, meditative style of painting,” she says. “My goal is to get them to just relax and have fun.”

The KL Synergist Service Fund is not the only avenue to contribute to affordable housing via the Foundation, so ABHOW team members may feel torn when deciding how to give. But there’s one thing to remember, says Linda Coleman, Beacon’s vice president of resident services.

“We’re all working together,” she says. “We all have the same mission.”

  Vineyard Village is owned
  by Interfaith Housing, a
  nonprofit & nonsectarian 
  organization providing 
  low-income housing for 
  seniors. Click here to see 
  our other properties:
  Arbor Vista
  Hillcrest Gardens