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Holiday tradition celebrates residents while making season even more beautiful

By: Country Meadows |

What began eight years ago as a simple art contest has become an annual tradition at Country Meadows Retirement Communities and its non-profit sister, Ecumenical Retirement Community.

“Bark, Bark, Burr…” by Country Meadows of Frederick resident Ellen Tarpey is the winner of this year’s Holiday Card Art Contest.

Every year residents are invited to enter winter- or holiday-themed artwork into a Holiday Card Art Contest. The winner’s entry is used as the basis for the organizations’ holiday card which is mailed to residents, family members, co-workers and friends.

This year’s contest marked the eighth year for the tradition and nearly 200 entries were received. Ultimately a painting by Country Meadows of Frederick resident Ellen Tarpey was selected as the winner. The piece features a happy dog dressed up in festive cold-weather gear.

Tarpey painted “Bark, Bark, Burr…” as part of the art class she takes at Country Meadows. She is new to painting since moving to the community a little more than two and a half years ago.

When asked if she painted during her lifetime, she jokes, “I had eight children so I didn’t have time to do art,” adding,” but my children are very talented in that way.”

Contest winner, Ellen Tarpey, peruses artwork at a local exhibit.

In addition to Tarpey’s overall winning piece, one entry was selected from each one of the organization’s 12 campuses to serve as finalist entries. (Scroll down to see the 12 finalist entries.)

President & CEO Michael Leader, along with his sister, Jane Leader-Janeczek, were tasked with judging the entries to select the winner and finalists. This was no easy feat. “Really, any one of the entries would make a beautiful holiday card,” notes Leader.

Tarpey enjoys being around animals, especially dogs. She has had dogs her entire life and since moving to Country Meadows, opened her home to a new companion—a cat named Allie.

In addition to taking art class, she takes a writing class, plays card games and has lots of new friends.



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