TRU PACE was thrilled to host an exhibit of paintings by Boulder artist and TRU PACE participant, Mary Beckman, earlier this week. Mary curated ART RECALL exclusively for TRU PACE, and the selections for the show convey the depth and breadth of work in Mary’s fine art background both as an illustrator and a painter.
“I paint what I see—both in my imagination and in my community. I have my own vision,” said Mary. “I’m most proud of the work I did for Caravan International—an original collection of artwork for notecards and journals. The paintings for that series were about powerful women. The Native American images in this body of work were sanctioned by the Chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.” Mary’s landscapes lean towards abstraction, and her still life compositions can be whimsical and bold, influenced by folk art and traditional fabric and quilting patterns.
Now in her 70’s, Mary has painted and created for most of her life. She enrolled in the TRU PACE program in April of 2020, in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary’s daughter, Jessica, shared that PACE saved her mom and their entire family. Mary’s healthcare needs and expenses were increasing, and the financial burden was becoming too much. Jessica learned about PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) and thought it sounded too good to be true. One program that would coordinate all of her mom’s healthcare needs – physical, social, and emotional – at no cost to their family? How could that be?
A signature feature of PACE is an interdisciplinary team (IDT) representing every aspect of a participant’s well-being. From physical therapy, medical disciplines, social work, recreational therapy, nutrition, transportation, and more, PACE takes care of the whole person. In Mary’s case, the IDT knew how much art means to Mary. She has thrived at PACE and has enjoyed participating in the Purple Art program, an expressive art program for seniors. She spoke often of her work and how it motivated her throughout the pandemic to look toward the future. Her care team discussed the idea of hosting an art show for Mary as part of her plan of care. They knew that sharing her talent with her caregivers, friends, and family would do her a world of good. Jill Bilek, PACE Recreational Therapist, took the idea and ran with it.
When asked about their favorite things about Mary, members of her care team shared, “her openness and sense of humor, her honesty and spunk, the great energy she has about her, that she doesn’t let anyone or anything get in her way.” When asked how they think PACE impacted Mary and her family they shared, “it alleviated Mary’s need to lean on her kids and helped them return to being a family. PACE has helped her stay as healthy as possible and helped her psychosocial well-being. We’ve helped her daughter feel supported in caring for her mom, and we’ve helped Mary to feel that she has healthcare advocates.”
In addition to having worked in commercial illustration and toy design, Mary holds a Masters of Divinity in Practical Theology, Art, and Spirituality and has spent more than 15 years in the ministry, working with diverse inner-city populations and the Native American community. Currently, Mary spends her time on private commissions and connecting with the community, through art workshops and gluten free baking.