Senior art to raise money for Alzheimer's through Murals of Memories

Dorothy Gibson sits beside her Murals of Memories art pieces. They will be available at the auction on Tuesday. 

THOMASVILLE — Southern Pines Senior Living will be hosting Murals of Memories on June 21, a public charity auction that starts at 2 p.m. for art painted by their residents, such as Dorothy Gibson. 

Gibson, 97, retired from the federal government in 1979. Taking up painting in the 1980s, she began to travel alongside church groups and friends across America and abroad, taking photographs that she used as reference for her art. 

“I took trips with these church groups and also took some trips with my friend,” Gibson said, “We traveled around different places in the United States.”

Gibson said that she even photographed parts of Ireland, including the Black River, while visiting family.

Her inspiration, she said, comes from seeing things around her that interest her, usually those of beautiful scenery. She said that she’ll go out and take photographs herself or pick things out from local magazines. 

“I just pick out things that are interesting to me and try and see if I can paint ‘em,” Gibson said.

She mentioned that she enjoys painting so much that she’ll often lose track of time, painting late into the evening or coming close to missing lunch.

“I just enjoy doing it,” she said. “When I start doing it, I forget what time it is.”

After not painting for a few years due to getting busy and being “about painted out” after she quit traveling, the auction has renewed Gibson’s desire to create and said she’ll most likely continue beyond the charity auction.

“I might try to paint more because I get bored just sitting in that room,” she said. 

Funds raised by Murals of Memories will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association, which will be hosting its The Longest Day event on the same day. Southern Pines Senior Living is home to more than 100 residents, including those with memory impairments, according to Southern Pines, and more than 40 pieces are already prepared for the auction. 

Jake Taylor, Southern Pines Senior Living’s director of sales and marketing, said they chose to focus on artistic expression for their local charity due to medical research finding that it is one of the last things to degrade because of Alzheimer’s and other dementia. 

“It’s one of the last things to go,” Taylor said.

He added that the residents have really enjoyed painting, even those he said you’d never expect such passion from, such as farmers and lawyers.

“It gives them something to do, they enjoy it,” he said, “people you really wouldn’t think that would enjoy it.”

Hoping to raising $2,000, Southern Pines Senior Living will be hosting Murals of Memories online over Facebook Live, with buyers able to receive their pieces afterwards. 

For more information, contact Chelsea Wilson at (316) 680-1501 or

Payton Fletcher can be reached at 229-226-2400, ext. 1826

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