Panorama Arts Walk – Where Art and Creativity are Ageless

panorama arts walk
A resident enjoys her time in the newly remodeled clay studio, one of many creative opportunities the Panorama community has access to.


By Nikki McCoy

panorama arts
April Works, a member of the Panorama Art Guild steering committee, expresses herself with color in the facility’s art studio.

The first thing I notice upon arrival at Panorama is the large, stunning glass sculpture near the reception center parking lot. Looking like a tropical bloom, (and a Chihuly), its red and orange glass spikes glisten in the sun.

I have to admit, art isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Panorama, a senior living community in Lacey. But so far, a Chihuly installation is pretty impressive. This is one of a number of permanent art installations on the 140-acre grounds, including a water fountain and Squaxin welcome pole.

The installations are cool, however, they are just the tip of the iceberg in relation to Panorama’s own art community.

So, I feel lucky to have this assignment – to learn, and share – about the thriving arts groups within Panorama. I know I’m not the only one who will be pleasantly surprised by the capabilities of these interesting and active people, some reaching centenarian status.

“The quality of the work of many of our artists is excellent – how can we share that?” asks Kathy Houston, Panorama resident and member of the arts guild. The team came up with a solution – The 1st Annual Panorama Arts Walk.

panorama arts walk
Resident Jim Crabtree slays a piece of metal in the community’s refurbished metal shop. Jim’s work (and many others) will be available for sale at the Panorama Arts Walk on May 28.

On Thursday, May 28, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., the public is invited to experience the Panorama Arts Walk, where event-goers can view the permanent ground installations, as well as the work of over 35 visual artists, plus enjoy live music, ice cream and more.

Kathy and fellow guild-member April Works, meet with me to share more. We start a pleasant tour through Panorama Hall, stopping in a room to admire some more Chihuly installments, a wave of red glass bowls adorning a fireplace. (Fun fact: Russell Day, 102, is a Panorama resident and a former Chihuly mentor.)

This room gives way to a space where perhaps a more interesting display of art is to be admired – that of the residents.

The 3-D collection features a colorful quilted bowl, an intricately carved walking stick, progressive metal work, weaving and more. The work is high-quality and interesting. This is the second installation in a rotating display of resident artists – and just the tip of what goes on behind the facility’s art studio doors.

I find myself growing more intrigued by what the arts community in Panorama is up to.

In the Quinault Building basement, a long hallway leads the way to a quilting and fabric room, visual arts studio, TV and media studio, wood shop and more. Each room brings a new sense of wonder.

panorama arts walk
A resident enjoys her time in the newly remodeled clay studio, one of many creative opportunities the Panorama community has access to.

Of course one envisions a fitness center in a retirement community – but a space devoted to a television show? A full art studio? We then pass an auditorium, full of people laughing. Kathy explains a Readers’ Theatre is currently underway.

We step into the large wood shop, where a few men work saws, and I chuckle when I see the signs pointing the way to the “Metal Shop” – the red font mimicking that of 1980s metal bands.

In the metal shop, Jim Crabtree is at work, pieces of metal art and tools strung decoratively over head. His work will be on display, and for sale, at Panorama Arts Walk.

“I’m personally just starting to think of myself as producing art work. I’ve always been a mechanic, but then I started making some of these things…I might have to go and buy myself a beret pretty soon,” Jim jokes.

“It’s pretty exciting to be able to think you could come to a community like this and come in and try and do some art work,” he adds. “Whether painting, art, metal sculpture, weaving…I think it’s wonderful to have the facilities to be able to explore these different avenues.”

David Taylor, a resident of three years, says the woodshop is a big reason he chose to live at Panorama. A skilled craftsman for more than 15 years, he admits to being in the shop a minimum of three hours a day. Jewelry boxes are a favorite, and currently, he’s working on a bowl made of 68 pieces, mainly maple.

panorama arts walk
Panorama resident artists’ work lines the wall of the on-campus Chambers House Restaurant. Panorama is hosting an Arts Walk on May 28 that features more than 35 visual artists, as well as musicians, theater and literary artists.

“It’s a good way for my wife to get me out of the house,” he chuckles.

David, Jim and a few of the other 25 active wood shop members also help with minor repairs for residents. For Arts Walk, they prepped tabletop easels and a 4×8 foot chalkboard “graffiti” wall.

The graffiti wall will be open to the public. A shuttle will be available to access all of Arts Walk.

“The Panorama Arts Walk is a celebration of the arts and artists of Panorama,” says Kathy. “It will give both Panorama residents and the community an opportunity to meet artists and view their work. We want the community to know how vibrant the arts are at Panorama. Art and creativity are ageless.”

Panorama is home to 1,200 independent residents as well as up to 50 assisted and 155 nursing facility residents. To learn more, click here.


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