Once called The Greatest Generation, elders living in Elder Care Homes across our country are now being forgotten. Nearly 60% of elders in Elder Care Homes never have visitors. Elizabeth Kapu'uwailani Lindsey said “I believe that when an elder dies, a library is burned: vast sums of wisdom and knowledge are lost. Throughout the world libraries are ablaze with scant attention.”
The overall goal of Legacy Letters is to connect elders to their community via the written word. The specific aims of this project are (1) Engage and spend time with this forgotten population in Elder Care Centers; (2) Scribe their stories via calligraphy and beautiful letters to and preserve their legacy; (3) Bring joy to the recipients of their letters, encouraging an open dialogue via postal written word between families and bridge the geographical and generational gaps. Every one has a story and wants to be seen. Legacy Letters will give a voice to the voiceless. In partnership with Northwind Art Center and Arts to Elders, the pilot program of Legacy Letters will begin with the Port Townsend area elder population in Elder Care Centers. All initial funding will assist in the pilot program, which will inform the trajectory and size potential of Legacy Letters and help to secure larger funding to continue the momentum and increase the geographical location Legacy Letters may serve. Results from this pilot program will be used to determine feasibility and fine-tune the program.
By facilitating beautiful letters using the dip pen and calligraphy and vintage stamps, Legacy Letters will give elders the opportunity to connect with their past and inspire the future while preserving their legacy into heirlooms. This ancient art is therapeutic for elders.
Writing their last words to you. Writing the stories of elders and sending them with love.
Legacy Letters listens to this forgotten generation. The outreach itself is graceful—a hand-calligraphed envelope home to the written sentiments of a beloved elder. Legacy Letters facilitates elders’ letters, their legacy, their stories, their memories. Letters that their hands can no longer write. Or offers the supplies, tools, and encouragement for their hand to shiver the page.
The impact is incredible and spirals out to connect today’s youth to their elders.
One in five children today have ever received a letter. What if the first letter they receive is from their great-grandmother who lives in a nursing home? What if the letter is beautiful but they cannot read the words because no one taught them cursive? What if the child’s mother reads the letter aloud? What if the mother retrieves letter-writing supplies for her child to write back? What if it elicits a plunge into history? What if it inspires a correspondence that bridges the gap in geography and generation? What does the forgotten elder feel when she receives a letter in the mail?
All of my work is done by hand, I do not use a printer for my stationery, thus each piece is an original art card on 100% recycled paper. I uphold my values in all processes of creating my art. I make slow stationery, one at a time, which results in a rich connection between artist, letter-writer, and recipient.
My art gives a voice to the voiceless. At its core, this project is about connecting communities via the written word.