Blog Article

Sharing her passion for art at American House Wildwood.

Warsaw was the city that ignited the fire of creativity in Freda. From her childhood in Poland to her current home at American House Wildwood, art has been the primary focus of her life.

It was 1945, the war was on and most of her family had begun immigrating to the United States. Freda remained in the city that made her who she was, teaching art to students ranging in age from preschool to 25 years old. When her mother needed help caring for her aging husband, Freda made the move to Chicago. From 1985 to 1997, she took full advantage of everything the Windy City had to offer. She loved the culture that came with living in a big city, yet she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. As Freda says, “I did everything, from gardening to the ballet!” She feels her varied experiences helped her grow as a teacher.

Freda has always held a strong belief in the power of art. “The brain is everything! You must stay active in your thinking, reading, listening and learning. Painting is all of these!” This valuable philosophy is now being shared with the residents at American House Wildwood—since 2015, Freda has been working as the community art instructor!

While she had been teaching in several senior communities, when the time came for her to make a move, she chose American House Wildwood. “This is the perfect place to be a resident, and it’s especially wonderful working here alongside these good people.” The team took her passion very seriously and gave her the freedom to work how she wanted. “This atmosphere they create here is gorgeous!”

The residents have a say in the programs they want, and the team provides activities they need to grow and thrive. “Problem solving, learning new things—all this is good for us at our age. I have satisfaction, not only because I teach others—I do this for myself, for my brain!” said Freda. Her classes are limited to around 10 people to allow for more one-on-one instruction. As the residents gain skill and get more comfortable, Freda features their work in gallery shows at the community. Along with great art instruction, the residents have the opportunity to relax and socialize with their neighbors. “I want them to be pleased and enjoy it,” said Freda.

When talking about her life as an artist, Freda is again philosophical. “I started working as an artist when I was 20, now I’m 80. I am so pleased that all my life, I’ve done what I love.”

That life’s work has proven an inspiration for her two granddaughters. The oldest is a teacher in preschool, and her other granddaughter is on her way to becoming an artist. “I am happy they’ve followed in my footsteps,” she laughs, “I did my job!”

We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way.

Written By

Lori Bender

Bringing over 20 years of writing experience to American House, Lori has worked in every aspect of advertising and produced award-winning websites. She earned a Journalism degree from Central Michigan University.

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