Johnstown native, 88, winner of art contest

Lifelong Johnstown resident Jean Freese loves painting in the recreation room of the Fulton Center in Gloversville. This year, her winning painting will be featured in an “Heart from the Heart” calendar. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — From her school years in Johnstown, Fulton Center resident Jean Freese had a passion for art.

The 88-year-old was chosen one of the 13 winners against 94 contenders in the “Art from the Heart” contest by the New York State Facilities Association/New York State Center for Assisted Living. The winners are on display in Albany.

Freese admitted she never liked history and some other subjects in school, so she loaded herself up with art courses. Freese said, “I like imaginative pictures,” and she drew pictures of people only when teachers weren’t looking.

“When I was a kid, I got prizes for painting Halloween pictures.” She said she gives away most of her pictures.

Never a person who liked idleness, she raised six children but also worked for a glove maker, the former Knox Gelatin and other companies. Freese said she’s lost count of her descendents, some of whom are in the great-great-great-great category.

“We are all so proud of Jean, and we are happy for her,” said Joann Wille, recreation director at the Fulton Center.

“The is such an honor for her. We all knew what she did was excellent, but it was even better than we thought.”

All sixty member facilities participated in the art contest this year. The winning art will be featured in the 2019 Art from the Heart wall calendar.

The contestants were drawn from Centers Health Care comprising 45 nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, 36 of which are in New York. This was the first year someone from the Fulton Center won, Wille said.