Advice Independent Living

An Artful Story: Joan Kaskell’s Career at the Metropolitan Museum

Resident Joan Kaskell

Embracing Culture and Community at Meadow Ridge

Meadow Ridge, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Redding, Connecticut, places a high value on the arts.

The community regularly showcases resident artists and offers lectures and classes in various mediums. It’s the perfect place for 91-year-old resident Joan Kaskell, who continues to stay interested in and informed about art. Joan retired from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan about 7 years ago after a career as a staff lecturer.

From Market Research to Masterpieces

Her career in the art world began serendipitously. “I had a market research business of my own, a very small one,” recalls. But when she got married and moved to Connecticut, she was looking for a job change. “A friend was starting up a volunteer program at the Metropolitan Museum and I thought ‘Good Lord, I’m way out here in exurbia,’ but I was curious enough to take on the regular drive into New York.” She liked the museum environment so much that she went back to school to earn a master’s degree in art history and was subsequently hired by the museum. In the ensuing decades, Joan spent much of her time lecturing in the Met’s galleries on the featured exhibitions. “My gallery lectures were open to the public,” she explains.

“Then for the last 20 years, I planned and ran a program for high-level donors. The program was, with not much originality, called Behind the Scenes. After meeting in the Trustees Boardroom over coffee and a scholarly lecture by me on the subject of the day, we would visit the relevant curatorial department to see paintings under conservation, perhaps, or the arms and armor workshop—curatorial visits were never available to the general public.”

Living Vibrantly: Joan’s Impact on the Meadow Ridge Community

A long-time resident of nearby Wilton, Joan moved to Meadow Ridge in 2017 with her late husband, Peter. She’s found it easy to make friends. From time to time, she gives art lectures in the Meadow Ridge auditorium. Sometimes, she is the keynote speaker at Meadow Ridge’s most anticipated event for prospective residents, Arts and Appetizers, where she gives a lecture related to the current exhibit of art by residents in Meadow Ridge’s gallery.

At Meadow Ridge Joan found a new interest as co-editor of the Ridge Record, a bi-monthly magazine that publishes work by residents, ranging from fiction and poetry to various serious and current topics.

“I’m happy here.”

Reflecting on her life at Meadow Ridge, Joan smiles, “I’m happy here. I like my apartment and the bucolic surroundings. I like the staff and residents best of all.”

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