Celebrating the Art of Collaboration

Kendal~Crosslands Communities (KCC) and Cheyney University (CU) of Pennsylvania joined together and celebrated their collaborative work of art and photographs that are expected to pave the way for more collaborative projects between residents at Kendal~Crosslands Communities and college students at the nation’s first institution of higher learning for African Americans, Cheyney University.  The artistic venture, Celebrating the Art of Collaboration, was the focus of a reception and ceremony held Thursday, February 27, 2014 at the Kendal at Longwood campus.

The two organizations worked in partnership, despite what some might call a generation gap and racial barriers, and to their delight, they found that they had much in common.  They share a legacy in Quaker roots and Quaker tradition. Lawrence Green, CU’s Assistant Vice President for University Advancement and External Relations, who helped plan the collaboration said, “It became apparent that the Quaker roots that both organizations share provided a bridge that would bring commonality to Cheyney University students and Kendal’s residents.”

CU’s Fine Art Honor Society students came to Kendal twice several months ago to interview some of the residents,” explained CU Art Professor Marietta Dantonio-Madsen. “Then, our biology students came and toured the 500 acre Kendal landscape with some of KCC’s Horticultural Committee, identified plants with them and took pictures.”  The pictures and artwork that was unveiled at the February 27 reception is the culmination of the collaboration between KCC and CU — showcasing the students’ talents and highlighting the residents’ tastes and life experiences.    In addition, students from CU’s Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management (HRTM) major worked side-by-side with KCC’s dining staff to assist with the afternoon reception.

KCC resident Mary Lee Barker thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration.  “I saw youth again,” she exclaimed.  “They were without pretense. It was an exhilarating experience interacting with the students.”  Karen Cromley, also a KCC resident, said she appreciated the students’ talents, their desire for art, and the range and variety of topics and subject matter that they study at Cheyney.  She also enjoyed getting to know them better.  “I learned of their hopes and dreams for the future,” she proudly acknowledges.

This isn’t the first collaborative effort between KCC & CU. Cheyney students previously worked in KCC’s dining services department. In addition, KCC sponsored a Keystone Honors Academy event at Cheyney last year.  This latest partnership, however, brings the students back in touch with seniors.

“This collaboration touches on so many aspects of diversity,” explained Audrey Super, KCC Director of Human Resources. “It provides residents and students an opportunity to explore intergenerational differences.  This collaboration helped to eliminate barriers that may exist between groups of very diverse backgrounds and experiences. We believe this is a model for other educational institutions and organizations demonstrating the benefits from learning from each other and contributing meaningful work to the community in which we live and work.”