Artist Paula Giltner chose just the right color for the background of her mural in the Alzheimer’s unit at Carthage Health and Rehabilitation.


Artist Paula Giltner chose just the right color for the background of her mural in the Alzheimer’s unit at Carthage Health and Rehabilitation.

“This shade of green is very soothing for Alzheimer’s patients,” said Administrator Mike Ricks, pointing to a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

The report found that softer colors can elicit feelings of calm in Alzheimer’s patients, while darker, stronger colors can excite them.

Giltner painted the mural, which depicts historical homes and buildings in the Carthage area, over the course of about six weeks. Giltner chose 10 different structures to paint, including two public buildings — Carthage Public Library and Jasper County Courthouse.

“It’s definitely created an atmosphere that reflects the community and reflects the history of the community,” said Ricks. “A calm, home-like atmosphere.”

Ricks also noted the murals have been beneficial for the patients with regard to memory building, because they can learn to associate their rooms with the buildings painted over their doors.

Giltner said she chose the structures based on personal preference. She simply drove around town and picked the buildings that stood out to her.

“I love architecture,” said the artist, who’s been working in the medium for 15 years. “I love the detail and the function of it. And I love the fall colors in this area. It makes for a beautiful subject.”

Giltner admitted that she got the homeowner’s permission before depicting their homes in CHR.

Giltner is the artist in residence for Ozark Christian College, and she also does freelance work in the area. She has also done mural work in the administration building at OCC, and some of her artwork is being featured in the Koko Art Gallery off the square here in Carthage.

CHR will have an open house on April 15, and the public is invited to come out to view the artwork and meet the author.