Artful Surroundings

Kondos family donates work to senior center

By Corky Mau
February 2020

Past the glass lobby doors, you’re greeted by stunning artwork from famed San Francisco artist William Gatewood (1943–1994). Large images of kimonos and Japanese screens, enhanced by splashes of gold and silver leaf, are displayed on the walls.

Further into the building, take a stroll along the Sacramento River Delta, courtesy of landscape paintings by legendary local artist Gregory Kondos.

No, this is not the Crocker Art Museum. It’s Maple Tree Village, the newest residential community in the Pocket neighborhood that provides assisted-living and memory-care services to older adults.

Maple Tree is part of Asian Community Center Senior Services, a nonprofit whose mission for 47 years has been to enhance the quality of life for older adults with culturally sensitive health services and educational programs. Maple Tree will begin receiving residents in early 2020.

Moni Van Camp Kondos, the artist’s wife and longtime supporter of Sacramento community art, led the effort to permanently house a large collection of fine art at Maple Tree. She helped select the artists, artwork and placement of each piece.

The Kondos family donated 11 limited edition and signed prints. Moni placed most of her husband’s paintings in the “Blue Jay neighborhood” of the assisted-living area—an appropriate setting as the color blue is a signature for many Kondos pieces.

“Gregory Kondos is very impressed with the design of the Maple Tree Village community—he can’t stop talking about it,” Moni says. “The river has been a major part of Gregory’s life and he loves that residents will be surrounded by familiar delta images on a daily basis.”

Why would the family select Maple Tree Village as the beneficiary of these art pieces? It’s all about relationships. As Moni explains, “I helped my friend, Scott Okamoto, to install some artwork at the Eskaton Monroe Lodge. He moved to Maple Tree Village and proposed a similar, but larger art display at this new residential community. I jumped at the opportunity to make this happen. It’s a great venue to house some of our favorite pieces.”

Okamoto is marketing manager for Maple Tree. A tour of the facility brings out his pride in the newly constructed senior community. The village is built around a “person-centered program” philosophy, he says.

There are 72 apartments in the four assisted-living “neighborhoods” and 30 in the memory-care neighborhood. Each apartment has state of the art lighting and adaptive living features to ensure a safe and comfortable environment. And there’s the art.

“Our residents, their families and the greater Sacramento community will have this extraordinary opportunity to enjoy this special art collection for many years to come,” Okamoto says.    

Okamoto anticipates acquiring more artwork as other artists express interest to exhibit at Maple Tree. Down the road, he hopes to offer self-guided art tours. With the help of Maple Tree staff, Moni Kondos is creating informative signage to accompany each piece.

Many featured artists are local or have roots in Northern California. There are 17 pieces from William Gatewood, who was Moni’s brother. She says, “Billy passed away 25 years ago. To see his Asian-inspired art displayed in this beautiful building is a great tribute to him.”

Lotus-inspired artwork from Shimo, a Chinese artist, hangs in the Welcome Center. A Shanghai native, Shimo moved to Sacramento in 2003 and is a good friend of Gregory Kondos. The Midtown gallery Shimo Center for the Arts is dedicated to promoting local artists.

“I want everyone who passes through Maple Tree Village to admire the beauty around them, both inside and out,” Moni Kondos says.

Corky Mau can be reached at corky.sue50@gmail.com.

 

 

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