Resident Art

To create is to be fully alive.

The works of art and poetry on the donor recognition wall in our lobby honor the full lives being lived at Laguna Honda.

The artists and poets cope with physical challenges, and come from diverse backgrounds. They call upon a variety of experiences as well as their enthusiasm, curiosity and a willingness to take risks. Some explore social and interpersonal themes, and others offer more introspective pieces, experimenting with forms and emotion.

The artistic expressions they produce reflect the vibrancy of Laguna Honda’s community of care, and enrich the civic life of San Francisco.

The artists and poets whose work appears on the donor wall are participants in Eldergivers’ Art with Elders program, the Laguna Honda Poetry Group, and classes offered by San Francisco City College.


Artists Bio's

Nestor Casco

Nestor knows Laguna Honda as few residents do. He used to work as a plumber here. He immigrated to San Francisco in his late thirties from his native Buenos Aires, where he was born in 1932. It was there that he played the bandoleon and danced tango with his wife, Ana. The couple has two sons. Nestor arrived in Miami with no English and made his way to San Francisco, where he and his wife eventually bought a home in Bernal Heights. Now, he says, “I’m proud of my English and proud to be here in America.” Nestor’s passions in his life, besides his two grandchildren, are sports cars and jazz.

Mary Croney

The mother of two daughters and three sons, Mary was born and raised in San Francisco and lived on Market Street where she and her husband later raised their own family. For many years she was employed by San Francisco General Hospital. There she cleaned floors and washed dishes while she was also working as a home-maker and caring for her children. Mary has memories of singing in her church choir and attending church picnics. She also remembers a cherished country home where she used to take her children when they were small. The green trees, heavy with apples, remain vivid in her mind. She didn’t start painting until she came to Laguna Honda “I try to be as good as I can with my painting just like with everything else in my life,” she says.

Sevetta Gay

With a twinkle in her eye and an easy smile, 75-year old Sevetta tells of her love of baseball, particularly her local team, the San Francisco Giants. Sevetta raised her two daughters as a single mom. She proudly declares her duty as a mother to be her greatest accomplishment. Sevetta grew up ion Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1930’s, and recalls the indignities of segregation. “I never understood why we were required to use separate drinking fountains and stand on the bus while those of lighter skin had the privilege of sitting,” she says. Her father was a reverend and her mother a devout Catholic. She spent plenty of time in church. “I was born a Catholic, I lived as a Catholic and I’ll die as a Catholic,” she emphatically declares. She played the organ at both St. Dominic’s and St. Agnes’s parishes in San Francisco.

Sharon Grace

Whether she is painting, sketching or singing reggae to the Obama family, Sharon is always creating. She is motivated by the healing capacity of art. Sharon has moved gracefully through a life of emotional and physical pain to emerge as a multimedia artist. Compositions, from poems to lullabies, come to her like a sneeze. Sharon was born in Glendale, California, and grew up in Grants Pass, Oregon. In the 1970s, she hitchhiked to San Francisco and has been here ever since. As an adult, Sharon discovered that she has an ancestor who was a freed slave, which, she says, may be what gave her a voice for the blues. She has been singing since childhood, and these days is a passionate activist for animal and women’s rights.

Walter Jorda

“It’s hard being a young person in an old body and an old person in a young body,” asserts this 50-year-old survivor of hydro-cephalus and 15 surgeries. “But now I feel strong enough to take on a grizzly bear.” Born in Louisiana, the youngest of seven children, Walter got his fighting spirit from the best friend he ever had, his mother. “You didn’t mess with momma,” he says of the woman who provided him with lifelong encouragement. He was faced with paralysis in his hands when he was in elementary school, but it didn’t dim his determination. He learned sign language and started playing the piano. He is a student of jazz piano, has composed his own pieces, and written about his life in poetry. Walter studied speech communications in college and worked as a secretary at the Hydrocephalus Association. His passions are cooking and fitness. He cooks up a mean Cajun catfish jambalaya. “I’ve made myself proud of me,” he says.

Jiandong Ma

A loving and gentle man, Jiandong worked as a silver polisher in Guangzhou, China before he came to the United States in 1997 with his wife and daughter. The family moved to join relatives living in San Francisco, where Jiandong found work as a cook. He began to paint only after he came to Laguna Honda. “Art is new to him,” said his daughter Yanni. “But he’s always had a mind for mathematics.” An avid reader, especially of Chinese history, Jiandong expresses his reflective nature in his painting.

Jeff McFarland

It’s difficult to catch up with this loving, big-hearted artist with an infectious childlike spirit. He might be painting in art class or playing a game with Laguna Honda volunteers. And he’ll definitely be greeting everyone with a smile and a lilting “ah-oh-ah” – getting a smile and a “hello” in return. Jeff’s vivid imagination comes out in his art and his language inventions. Relatively new to painting and drawing, he has developed his own distinct style, often reflecting a surreal and stylized interpretation. Wherever he is, Jeff makes people happy, comfortable, and inspired, just by being in their presence.

Bobbie Moore

Bobbie Moore was born in Miami, Florida and lived in Detroit before she came to California. She graduated from Galileo High School in San Francisco and attended San Francisco State University and City College of San Francisco where she studied music and teaching. She has worked for Goodwill Industries and also volunteered with a foster grandparents program. Bobbie is well known for her good nature and ready smile. She says she is delighted to share her artwork with the Laguna Honda community.

Steven Musick

Known as “the king,” Steven commands respect with humor and exuberance. Like his two older brothers, he was born in San Francisco’s Kaiser Hospital where his mother was a nurse for over 26 years. A big man with obvious inner strength, Steven often defies first impressions. He has a gentle voice, easy smile and kind disposition. Similar juxtapositions are apparent in his approach to his art. His powerful brush and pencil strokes contrast with his choice of a delicate, sophisticated and visually pleasing palette. Steven works hard and consistently strives for perfection. He has been pursuing a degree in art at U.C. Berkeley extension since he started his art classes at Laguna Honda.

David Ratliff

If there’s one lesson 59-year-old David has learned from life it’s this: “We need to learn how to show respect to people.” He found out the hard way, serving 18 years behind bars, an experience he calls “life on the installment plan.” Born and raised in the Bay Area, David spent most of his youth in Half Moon Bay, where he started working at 15 as a cook’s apprentice. Combining his culinary skills with salesmanship, he later gained local fame for the clam chowder he sold at his delicatessen. This engaging conversationalist easily discusses topics ranging from Mother Theresa and Edgar Cayce to the health care crisis and climate change. David has 6 years of college studies in accounting, computers, and speech. He also plays the guitar, and is a specialist in the blues. As for his art, he’s moved from his days of prison tattoos to a desire to master portrait painting. “Now,” he says, “I want to learn how to bring someone to life on paper.”

Carlos Reynoso

Carlos and his two sisters grew up in El Salvador. When he was young, he helped his father in the shop the family owned. He remembers the little store as a place where “we sold everything!” He immigrated to the United States in 1973, worked at Big Sur State Park doing odd jobs, and eventually got married. He has a son and a daughter. Carlos learned to draw in high school and spent time painting portraits of his friends. He has been an active participant in Laguna Honda’s Art With Elders classes for several years where he works diligently on watercolor portraits. He is proud to show his paintings to his cousin, Eduardo, who often visits him at Laguna Honda. When he’s not in art class, Carlos watches movies in Spanish with the guys on his floor.

Raymond Williams

“I paint what I see in my mind,” Raymond says. “I see it and then I paint it.” Although he has been painting since childhood, Raymond didn’t have much time to spend on his artwork during his earlier years. At the age of 15 he left his Florida home to join the army and spent the next 22 years working as a cook for the Inspector General. Afterwards, he made his way to Oakland where he joined his sister. Raymond focuses mainly on landscapes and collage in his art. One of his favorite series is a collection of street drawings. “I like them,” he says, “because I know I drew them, regardless of what they look like.” Raymond also has a decidedly green thumb and enjoys growing and tending plants. He always has something to offer others. “Money isn’t everything,” he says. “Even when I’m broke, I still have something to share.”