By Reeve Washburn, Art Walk Coordinator
Bringing community inside. Brianna Eigner, Outreach Manager of Brookdale West Seattle Senior Living, takes this as her purpose, developing partnerships with outside resources for the benefit of the Brookdale residents. Now more than ever, we all appreciate the value of community: a safe place, friends that lift you up, a healthy environment, activities that nurture us. At Brookdale, Art Walk’s newest Partner, art has become an essential component of their community, thanks to Brianna’s progressive vision for her residents’ wellbeing. Her ability to reimagine life for the better makes her work much more than a job.
(Editor’s note: at the time of posting, there were no cases of COVID-19 at Brookdale.)
Servant of the People
Brookdale’s mission and cornerstones have encouraged Brianna to shape her vision for senior living by her own passions for the arts and community development. As Outreach Manager, she connects with anyone in the greater community who might have resources to benefit the residents: skilled nursing, doctor’s offices, real estate agents. For Brianna, the connection goes both ways, with the belief in being a good steward of the greater community. She has created opportunities for Brookdale residents to give back to organizations like the West Seattle Food Bank, Westside Baby and the Salvation Army, with activities that become meaningful social opportunities for the seniors while helping others.
Joining the Brookdale team was a natural decision for Brianna as she has always been a servant of people. She’s worked in marketing and community development with Seattle Children’s and real estate developers, always helping people in some capacity. In considering her next career move to Brookdale, her “a-ha” moment was when she realized that retirement living is still a community, with just a different demographic to serve. Brianna also began working to integrate her strong personal interest in and knowledge of natural health care into the partnerships she’s making for the Brookdale residents. Her Optimum Life Wellness Fair – scheduled for March 12, and unfortunately an early pandemic cancellation – was to be a robust showcase of holistic senior health resources, with 35 vendors and partners in attendance: The West Seattle Farmers Market, class demonstrations hosted by the YMCA, Friend to Friend America that supports isolated seniors, HomeAgain VR Foundation virtual reality experiences for seniors with dementia, and Rosefit, a local fitness training company. The fair also featured a wide variety of hosted seminars: Healthy Cooking Demo with Chef Malina in partnership with West Seattle Farmers Market; Eating Right for Life – Nutrition with Stella Loichot of Allons-y Coaching; Introduction to Natural Medicine with Bastyr Center for Natural Health; and Cardiovascular Wellness and Prevention with Swedish Medical Center, Heart and Vascular Institute. The fair will happen in July with fingers crossed – but its breadth is a clear example of the kind of difference Brianna is making for the residents.
“What’s beautiful is that we are still able to share and experience art virtually. It creates balance, that we can still be connected artistically.” Brianna Eigner, Outreach Manager, Brookdale West Seattle Senior Living
A New Place for Art
Brookdale is the largest senior resident organization in the nation for residents age 65 and up, with a mix of independent living and assisted living for medical assistance and aging in place. For those who are interested and able, there is transportation to grocery stores, appointments and shops in the Junction. Brookdale joined Art Walk as a partner to create a new place for art, a showcase that highlighted community, both local artistic and residential. The featured art is displayed in the dining room and mezzanine gallery, with the intention of inviting the public – guests and family members of residents and well as the artists – in to view the shows and learn more about Brookdale. The changing displays brighten and beautify the interiors, give art lovers something to think deeply about, and spark conversation, engaging viewers in ways they may not be used to.
Art Lovers can still check out featured artists Linda Sifri and Vanessa Ly-Nguyen’s work at the Brookdale at the West Seattle Art Walk April blog post and in a specially created video for the April 9 Virtual Art Walk.
Art Walk is only one part of Brookdale’s arts programming: they have founded an Internal Arts Council to plan additional ways for residents to experience art or create their own art as a personal expression. Already in process is the heart-felt initiative of Executive Director Michelle Worcester to build a “quilt” of decorated wooden panels to grace the exterior wall of the building. Brookdale invites the public as well as their residents to participate! See PDF for details. It is important to point out that, unlike other senior living communities, Brookdale intentionally does not have their own curator. Brianna is putting the structure in place to support the real work of art. We will all benefit from Brookdale’s local partnerships and their quest to bring community inside.
Brookdale Support During COVID-19 Crisis
It is important for our West Seattle seniors community to know that Brookdale can help if they need any resources at all during this uncertain and distressing time for our city. You don’t have to be a member to benefit. Through their own partnerships and community leaders like Lyle Evans of the Senior Center, Brookdale can link isolated seniors to social support services, free lunches, can pick up medications or get things delivered. If Brookdale staff can’t help, they will find a resource who can. That’s how much heart they have for West Seattle. Call Brookdale West Seattle (206) 932-5480, or Brookdale Admiral Heights at (206) 938-3964 to learn more.
Brookdale West Seattle is located at 4611 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126. You can learn more about their community at their website.
Read more Business Spotlights on our West Seattle Art Walk blog: Inner Alchemy, The Office of Rebecca Mitsui, Northwest Art & Frame, Wild Rose’s, West Seattle Garden Tour + Capers Home, Canna West Seattle + Culture Shop, West Seattle Art Nest, John L. Scott West Seattle, The Building, Mural Alley Unveiling, Brace Point Pottery and Gallery, Admiral Junction Art Walk, and the Morgan Junction Art Walk.