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An Innovative Idea Becomes a Beautiful Piece of Art

April 16, 2021

Even before Cindy Fletcher Holden painted the captivating new mural at The Heritage at Ginger Cove, you might have already known her work.

After all, she’s been painting murals all over Annapolis and the Mid-Atlantic region for more than 30 years, plus doing boat lettering and traditional painting.

In fact, it was her well-known murals — many of which are outdoors scenes — that first caught the eye of Ginger Cove managers, who envisioned a colorful mural in The Heritage at Ginger Cove, the just-about-to-open new assisted living and memory care pavilion. More specifically, the senior living experts wanted a mural of a garden scene on a large wall of the Winter Garden in the memory care community that would spark resident memories and help orient them.

“The whole purpose of this space,” Holden says, “is for residents to feel like they’re in an outside setting.” The room already had an oversized skylight and a brick floor, so the mural was commissioned to complete the “outdoorsy” feel.

While the William Paca House & Garden in Annapolis was a loose inspiration for the work, Holden says it was inspired by many formal gardens she researched.

William Paca House & Garden

Dr. Judah Ronch, Ginger Cove’s senior advisor to the project, thought Paca Gardens was a good model garden scene because the site is a highly identifiable and memorable Annapolis landmark, perhaps evoking memories of where the residents were and helping to orient them, even when indoors. Holden was also asked to make it “realistically rendered spatially.” In other words, the goal was for the mural to feel like you could walk right into the scene.

And finally, because the mural would be seen by older eyes, Dr. Ronch asked Holden to make all the colors hyper-saturated, even background colors, which are normally muted.

“Ultimately, the challenge was to create a mural that could fool the eye into thinking it was in an actual space,” Holden says.

To prepare, she created about 9 pencil sketches, then three rough colored ones, which she says is normal for a project of this type. Once the sketch was approved, the painting took a few weeks.

“The whole process from ‘ask’ to ‘finish’ took about a month,” she says. And a month well spent. “It’s probably one of the favorite murals I’ve ever done,” she says.

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