She loves to photograph flora and fauna, and then create charcoal sketches or oil prints from her photos. Outside her apartment here at Glenmeadow, and inside on her walls, are lovely lithographs of landscapes, lily pads, black-eyed Susans.
Ann Togneri also enjoys the outdoors. She has dabbled in the dirt for many years, getting a start as a gardener 50 years ago by landscaping the new home she shared with her late husband on Long Island with trees, evergreen shrubs, spring bulbs, day lilies, pachysandra, and a boxwood hedge.
“It’s relaxing to get your hands in the ground and take care of live things,” Ann says. “It’s a labor of love.”
At Glenmeadow, our labor of love is building relationships with residents like Gert and Ann so that we have a window into their hearts and minds. We learn what inspires our residents, what projects and programs would enhance their lives. Then, we work to create opportunities for them to experience success.
Art studio In Her Apartment
We know from Gert that she was an art teacher in the public schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, for many years. As a member of the Springfield Art League, she frequently exhibited her work at the Springfield Museums. Recently, she felt the tug to create again and turned the second bedroom of her apartment into an art studio. Her paintings are on view in there along with a cupboard that holds the tools of her trade—charcoal, black pencils, Cray-Pas.
Gert’s renewed focus on art gave us the idea to display her work publicly at Glenmeadow in a new gallery space in a hallway over Cotz Hall. “They asked me if I would be the first artist to exhibit in the gallery, and I felt shy about it,” Gert says, noting she went ahead with the plan and was pleased to wear a lace jacket—a gift from Meghan Reynolds, our director of Resident Services—to the artist’s reception that was held for her in September. “I think it’s wonderful,” she says. “The recognition of my handiwork is appreciated.”
Ann moved to Glenmeadow 18 months ago. Not long after, our President and CEO Anne Thomas—a green thumb herself— started a monthly garden club for residents, following Glenmeadow’s lead in creating opportunities for residents to thrive. Ann was an eager early member.
Things really got growing when Ann’s granddaughter—a landscape architect who designs rooftop gardens and terraces with her husband in New York City—delivered two ficus trees, three ferns, and a ZZ plant to Glenmeadow. CEO Anne gave resident Ann the go-ahead to spruce up the hallway and patio over Cotz Hall. Ann recruited a woman she’d met in yoga class, Beth Young, a Lifestyle Pass member, to help. A botanical refresh and a close-knit friendship began to blossom.
Ann and Beth beautified the patio and also created the art gallery in the adjacent corridor where Gert’s work hangs. They also replaced artificial plants in our Life Plan Community with live ones. They filled the pool room, Kirkham Parlor, and other sitting areas with such beauties as ferns, cast-iron plants, and ponytail palms.
Now, on Saturdays, Ann and Beth walk around Glenmeadow, watering their miniature gardens. “I think it’s wonderful,” Ann says. “It has enhanced my living here. I’ve made a great friend and got to focus on something I enjoy.”
Once a caretaker for her husband and late daughter alike, Ann feels inspired by Anne Thomas and Glenmeadow. Likewise, Gert is grateful for the opportunity to put her life’s work on display for others to contemplate and admire once again.
“There are a lot of exceptional people here,” Gert says.