A handful of residents at one Illinois long-term care facility have found new careers as art models. 

 Last summer, the Friendly Painters group was having a hard time finding subjects to practice its portrait painting. Marian Neumann — the mother of one of the organizers and a resident at Friendship Village — suggested they use residents at the Schaumburg, IL, community as their subjects.

 “She said it would be an opportunity for them to do something fun that they’ve maybe never done before while earning a little bit of cash,” says Kathy Smith, Neumann’s daughter.

 The partnership has flourished. Each week, Friendly Painters visits the continuing care retirement community to paint a new resident. They’ve depicted more than 20 so far, paying each model $30 for around three hours of his or her time.  

 Each subject sets up in the community’s perfectly lit Wintergarden room, situated off the main lobby. Often, curious onlookers will pass by and end up volunteering for a future session.  Donna Brown, lifestyles activity manager for Friendship Village, says the partnership has been a big hit thus far.

 “It makes the residents feel special and like they’re one of a kind,” she told McKnight’s. “It’s fun to be immortalized.”