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DALLAS Arrow

The Woodies Contribute to Overall Ambiance of Artscape Reimagined

These talented woodworkers are contributing to the look of Artscape by donating 100 hand-crafted wooden signs.

The Woodies Contribute to Overall Ambiance of Artscape Reimagined 2017 | by Jo Ann Holt | News | Dallas, Texas, USA

Pictured (L to R): James Anthony, Lowrance Hodge, Fred Christen, Charles Smith, John Gould

Posted 3/26/17 | © Photo courtesy of Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden hosts Artscape Reimagined 2017, a juried fine art and fine craft show and sale, April 29-30, with a special member's preview April 28. The event features more than 100 outstanding artists from around the country.


Artscape Chair Kaki Hopkins said, “Artscape will transform the Dallas Arboretum’s Pecan Grove into a unique gallery of artistic creations. The Woodies, a group of talented woodworkers from C. C. Young Senior Living Facility, are contributing to the overall look of Artscape by donating 100 hand-crafted wooden signs for our event. They created the numbered signs designating individual artists' booths from four original designs we furnished.”


The Woodies are especially excited about contributing their handiwork to Artscape Reimagined 2017 to create a special ambiance for the art show.   The signs will also help visitors more easily find their favorite artist's booth.


Sharon Ballew, Development Director at C. C. Young, said, “The Woodies are the brainchild of Fred Christen and a few other residents who enjoy woodworking.  These men turned their passion as a hobby into a passion for helping other residents.”


Ms. Ballew said, “A large storage unit on campus was turned into a woodshop, and they were on their way.  Designing and crafting items of wood, they make children’s toys, kitchen items such as napkin holders and coasters, repair furniture and have even built a Communion Table for the campus chapel. The most popular item they make are Texas Cheeseboards. Many of the items are sold on campus at the C. C. Young Gift Shop and at several shops in the Bishop Arts District.”


“There are a few 'Woodettes' in the group as well,” she added. “These gifted ladies paint and finish some of the items. All of the net proceeds from the sales of their items benefit the Benevolence Fund, which provides funding for residents who might outlive all of their income and assets. C. C. Young is very fortunate that the Woodies and Woodettes have a passion for their hobbies as their efforts have been a big help in our fundraising efforts. This group also serves as an inspiration to us all.”


Group leader Fred Christen says he is one of about eight active Woodies, who first started working on joint projects in the spring of 2014. That’s when CEO Russell Crews at the retirement facility found a space in the old laundry room they could use for a workshop.


Mr. Christen said, “Many tools had come down from Arkansas with one resident. I provide others from a woodshop we have had nearly 30 years at University Park United Methodist Church, our operating model. Five or six residents were in the original group. Three were experienced woodworkers and the rest willing to learn. Of that group only two of us remain but most all are great workers and learners.”



“Our first two projects that won us our spurs were cubbies in the mail rooms of the Overlook, Asbury and Julian Thomas, the three primary independent living units at C.C. Young. Residents loved them and they greatly facilitated communications on campus. Then at the chaplain's request we made a communion table for Blanton with the inscription "Do This in Remembrance of Me." A beautiful piece of cabinet building,” Mr. Christen added.


“We do work primarily for three groups, and most important, residents who have just moved in or otherwise have a broken chair, cabinet or anything needing help.  We also help administration, anything that needs fixing or problems we can solve for those who keep this place running. Then we created items for sale at C.C. Young functions to generate income for the Benevolence Fund. That money helps those who running short on resources,” Mr. Christen said.


“All work is done without charge. Contributions are welcome and a donor may choose to memo line checks to the Benevolence Fund or to the Wood Shop. The first go directly to benevolence, the others go into a Wood Shop account from which we buy all our supplies,” Mr. Christen said. “We pride ourselves in not costing C.C. Young a cent and contributing to the place in various ways. Sharon Ballew administers both accounts. At year’s end "woodies" typically roll excess woodshop funds into the benevolence account.”


Mr. Christen said some of the group’s most interesting projects include one “where a new resident moved in and found all her legal papers locked up in a drop front desk and the key lost in the move. Among the ‘Woodies’ we have many skills including a bit of lock picking. Happy ending. And, there was a request to drill holes in some 80 olive wood crosses from the Holy Land. We did, and eventually found that a slightly larger cross was wonderful as a palpating device for those recovering from hand injuries or fighting arthritis. That one has grown into literally hundreds of crosses given as gifts by CCY to donors, and requested over and over by physical therapists from here and elsewhere.”


“Our patient advocate asked if we would replace two rotted boards in the gazebo near the Asbury. Well, two boards ended up being all of one side of the gazebo below shoulder level.  Yes, we did it without expense to CCY, using pressure treated wood, but we left the painting to our maintenance staff.”


See additional information below or visit:

Dallas Arboretum | Artscape

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