Silvera Artist on the Go Bus a result of generous partners and creative vision

24 November 2023

It’s the Season of Giving, and we’re profiling a few Friends of Silvera — the organizations and individuals who so generously support residents with their time, energy and skills. Become a Friend of Silvera or donate today!

Many Silvera residents used to spend their days taking care of a house or yard, puttering in their gardens, or working on projects in their workshops. However, living in a seniors’ suite or an apartment generally means limited opportunities or appropriate spaces for pursuing such hobbies.

Enter the Silvera Artist-on-the-Go bus! This woodworking/art studio on wheels is a re-purposed city bus, stripped down to its frame and renovated into a mobile workshop.

“We are so very excited to introduce our Silvera-Artist on-the-Go Studio,” says Olivia Chubey, Chief Service & Operations Officer. “We are confident it will bring joy to many residents as they create and work together.”

The bus is equipped with tools, work benches and equipment allowing residents to do hands-on projects from woodworking to artmaking. Silvera residents helped informed the design. It will move between Silvera’s supportive living buildings through the year, allowing residents to participate in unique small-group programming, host a workshop or hop on-board to work on a project of their own.

The bus is the result of a collaboration between Pacific Western Transportation, Big Rig Collision and Mac/DeWalt Tools and a passionate Silvera board member who partnered to bring the bus to life.

And happily, earlier this year, Silvera secured a three-year partnership with the Calgary Stampede Kinettes. Their support will help keep the bus on the road and re-stocked with tools. Silvera residents and the Stampede Kinettes (along with their families) plan to collaborate quarterly on intergenerational programs (on the bus!)

 “The Kinettes are a service group whose mandate is ‘Serving the Community’s Greatest Need’,” says Marie Nicholson, who has been a Stampede Kinette for 34 years and is currently the club’s Service Director. “The Stampede Kinettes are community builders.”

The Kinettes support a variety of organizations, from their main charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ($50 million raised nationally since 1964) to the Children’s Hospital, STARS, Kids Cancer Care, Seniors Secret Service, and more. Across the country in 2022, Kinettes and Kinsmen logged 380,449 service hours and raised $25 million that they donate to other organizations.

“Our members vote on where to put funds each year, and this year we decided to give some to Silvera to support the maintenance of the Silvera-on-the-Go studio,” Marie says. “We think the bus is a great way to help people, which is exactly what the Kinettes enjoy doing. We are all about giving back to the community.”

Olivia believes the bus provides a meaningful way for residents to continue or learn hands-on hobbies and pursue lifelong interests.

“The mobile studio serves as an extension of Silvera’s communities, providing an opportunity for residents to socialize and engage in hands-on activities that promote healthy aging,” she says. “We hope it inspires residents to collaborate, form more resident clubs, and connect with their families and volunteers who share their interests and passions.

“We are truly grateful for the support of our partners in bringing this community-building vision to life.”

Facts about the Silvera-on-the-Go Studio

  • The bus has power/water/ventilation/heating, partially powered by solar panels!
  • The bus is outfitted with DeWalt tools that are more ergonomic and easier for seniors to use.
  • The bus can be lowered to make entry easier.
  • Residents who aren’t into creating in this way still can make social connections with other residents and local neighbours just by visiting and watching. There’s even a coffee station on board!