Earlier this year, our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons was awarded a 2017 SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant through the Queens Council on the Arts to positively impact the well-being of older adults through arts-based activities. Her residency at the CCNS Woodhaven Neighborhood Senior Center culminates this Friday, June 9th, with a “Share Our Stories” showcase at the center.

Starting at 1 pm, this special event features storytelling, story collages, songs (and snacks!) inspired by the true-life tales the fabulous folks at Woodhaven shared with her, and each other, for the past few months. Kelly Jean is thrilled to be co-hosting this story-palooza with her Sip-N-Scribe partner in crime Jenn Wehrung (NYTI “Three Strikes” alum, Laugh It Up, Astoria!).

We’re also stoked to share that NYTI “Legacy” artist Sha-Nee Williams  returned to created an original painting of one of the workshop participant’s beloved cat. This stunning piece, which will be on display at the event, was based solely on Susan’s written description (see below) of her cat, Candy.

Susan’s cat, Candy, as imagined by Sha-Nee Williams

My cat’s name is Candy. She is 12 years old, but she is pretty frisky for her age. Her coloring is very hard to describe, but I would say she is dark gray with some calico in the back. She is a short-haired cat with a long gray tail. Candy is a big fat cat, very roly poly with a white tummy and white feet, but she is orangey around the legs. My God, I don’t even know how much she weighs! Maybe 15 pounds?

We feed her moist food in the morning and dry at night. Candy used to love Temptations but suddenly she doesn’t like them anymore. She is a very docile cat, sleeps all the time. We got her from the North Shore Animal League. We wanted an older cat. She was about eight years old when we took her home and that was four years ago. She has a tiny cry, “meow, meow, meow” with a tiny little mouth. Sometimes she doesn’t even make a noise. She just opens her mouth and a tiny “peep” comes out. I remember she used to have a tiny ball with a bell that she played with a lot, but it got lost.

Candy always sleeps next to me, she is very attached to me. She stares at me with these big beautiful eyes. I tell there that she’s “my pretty little girl” and she blinks her eyes. Blinks them slowly, as if I was putting her asleep.

Ready for more? Join us this Friday, June 9th, at 1 pm at the CCNS Woodhaven Neighborhood Senior Center (89-02 91st St, Jamaica, NY 11421) to hear some stories, see story collages made from the writing generated during the weekly memoir workshops, sing songs, and eat snacks!


Partners of the 2017 SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant