Arden Courts Memory Care Community of Towson held a special gallery walk tour of artwork by famous local artist and Arden Courts resident, Jerry Dadds, on April 13.
Born on the Eastern Shore and raised in Baltimore from the age of three, Dadds was recognized early as a gifted artist. He graduated in 1957 from Baltimore City College's experimental "art curriculum" track, and attended the acclaimed Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Arts (now University of the Arts).
Dadds excelled in many mediums, but his exceptional talent in woodcutting and printmaking is where he made a unique mark on the world. Upon his return to the Baltimore area, Dadds worked for WJZ Channel 13 for several years, and then founded the Eucalyptus Tree art studio in Charles Village.
During his career as an illustrator and commercial artist, Dadds' work became highly sought after. He created the original logo for the Pride of Baltimore, and many illustrations for book covers, magazines, and calendars.
He may be best known for his largest commissioned project – designing and illustrating a set of 36 postage stamps pressed in 1986. The stamps featured portraits of deceased presidents and the White House. Dadds' daughter, Holly Merker, recalled the countless hours that went into those presidential illustrations.
"Sketches were taped up all over the house, and for a long time he was doing it in secret," she said. "He had to do portraits of the four [at that time] living presidents, too, in case anything might have happened to any of them before the set went to press."
Merker and others at the showing were delighted to see the gallery of her father's art. "It means a lot to him to have his work on display here," she said.
The 15 prints installed around Arden Courts were remarkable, each a testament of devotion to fine detail and appreciation of texture and pattern and the beauty of wood grain. Not all the prints were presidential. Among Merker's favorites are portraits of abolitionist John Brown ("his face shows such determination") and Henry David Thoreau ("probably because bearded men remind me of my dad!"). Another cherished print is "Raven," now more of a local icon than ever. A piece called "Sharon's Cat" was favored by Arden Courts' Executive Director, Louise Griffin.
The display of Dadds' work was launched as part of Arden Courts' "Hearts Desire" programming, where the interests and strengths of residents are cultivated into special activities to enrich their lives and engage the community. For more than 20 years, Arden Courts has provided specialized memory care in a secure assisted living environment that recognizes individual physical, mental and social needs and provides a home-like community that fosters independence for as long as possible.
If you'd like to learn more about dementia, come to the free seminar, "The A's of Alzheimers and Dementia," (understanding anxiety, anger, aggression, apathy, amnesia, aphasia, agnosia and apraxia) with Dr. Tam Cummings, on Tuesday, May 9, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Raddison in Timonium. RSVP to 888-478-2410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.