April Sun, 25, has lived at Judson Park for less than a month, but already it feels like home.
“I know most of the residents on my floor already,” she says. “They’re all so supportive. There’s a great sense of community here.”
April, a pianist, is part of Judson’s innovative Artist-In-Residence program in which students from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) live at Judson rent free in exchange for regular music recitals for the residents.
Until recently, the program was offered only through Judson Manor. But given its popularity with residents and the national media coverage that generated more interest in the program from other CIM students, Judson decided to expand it to the Park.
“There’s an amazing woman on the seventh floor, Eugenia, whose embroidery artwork is displayed throughout the floor,” says April. “She goes to all the concerts the artists-in-residence put on.”
A Warm Reception
Nina Sandberg, 22, is the other artist-in-residence at Judson Park, and similarly feels right at home among the older residents.
“I love walking down the hall and hearing the music coming out of other people’s apartments,” she says.
Nina, a violinist, played her first concert for residents in September with her boyfriend, right after she moved into the Park. “It was a fun way to inaugurate the artist-in-residence program.”
“Everyone has been so nice,” she says. “We had a Halloween-themed floor dinner last Monday, and several residents who grew up in Cleveland were telling us what Halloween used to be like in the 40s and 50s.”
Both Nina and April have already made plenty of friends throughout the Park. April even recently took a Judson resident and newfound friend to a lecture at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
“All of my interactions with residents are quite insightful,” says April. “They’re always telling stories about things that happened in their lives, and they’ve experienced so much and I learn a lot. One of them had a connection to the Three Stooges!” she laughs.
The Flagship of Intergenerational Programming
Judson’s intergenerational program was founded 1981, its first collaboration with Ruffing Montessori School in Cleveland Heights. Today, with the support of generous donors, Judson works with more than 40 different educational and civic groups on curriculum-based programs that serve as a national model for connecting generations, enriching lives and stimulating the minds of all ages.
“Intergenerational” has become a bit of a buzz word. But the difference with Judson’s approach is that the collaborations move beyond a generic “program” – they offer participants a platform to share and realize new experiences and give back to the greater community.
And if former artists-in-residence are any indicator of the success of the program, April and Nina have a lot to look forward to in their time living at the Park. Deep friendships have formed between residents and students in past years, and continue to this day. One former CIM student even had a wedding reception thrown for her by a Judson Manor resident.
Nina’s next recitals are November 8, 9 and 10, and she’ll be performing Op. 30 Beethoven Sonatas, again with Chee-Hang See.
April’s first formal recitals at the Park are November 11, 12 and 14, and she will be performing Brahms Cello Sonatas.
Another performance on November 20, spearheaded by Nina, will introduce a small string orchestra from CIM. They will be performing works by Bach, Nielsen, Puccini, and Dvorak.
“I’m excited to bring so many friends from school to Judson to work on this project,” says Nina. “I think it will be fun to bring an orchestra to the residents, particularly those who aren’t able to get out often to hear live orchestra concerts.”
These are just the first of many performances the artists-in-residence will put on for residents at the Park.
“This opportunity for any CIM student is absolutely incredible,” says April. “I can’t imagine a better living situation. To interact with this community that is so kind, so knowledgeable and so experienced, it’s an amazing learning opportunity and I feel so lucky and grateful to have had it.”
For more information on the Judson Artist-in-Residence program, and to see some of the national media coverage the program has received, click here >