Turning Passion into Contribution at Optima Living

Posted on November 17th, 2023

In this Team Member Spotlight, we focus on David Burns of The Hamlets at Penticton.

David works in maintenance at The Hamlets at Penticton, but he’s an artist at heart. His hidden talents were discovered when he was asked to paint the walls of The Hamlets in the summer of 2019.

He was initially asked to paint the walls a light blue to look like the sky, while the Director of Care would look for local artists to volunteer to do the murals. When they didn’t find anyone, David volunteered.

“It was scary to say yes at first, but one thing I learned in my life is that if it scares me and excites me at the same time, then I am heading in the right direction,” he explained. “Once I started, it was incredible how amazing it made me feel, I felt so alive with joy and creativity.”

David says he has always been creative. “I started drawing before I started painting. As a child, I loved drawing, and it carried on into my 20s. That is when I started to incorporate painting and woodworking. So, it was a hidden talent, I guess.”

General Manager Vic Klassen said David always puts the residents first. “When he did the paintings, he was always grinning and proud that he could help. Whenever we need something built or put together, he will jump at the opportunity to create something special.”

No sooner did David start on the project when it was halted in March 2020, and his work hours were drastically reduced. “It wasn't until Optima Living came into the picture that I was able to restart the project,” he said.

“Sadly, I have 14 more murals to do but can’t find any time to complete them due to my workload,” he said. “Hopefully, I can get back to them soon.” He said he’s committed to working on the project at least one full day per 2-week period.

In the meantime, staff, visitors, and residents have given the existing murals rave reviews.

“Thank you, David, for caring, your commitment and desire to help," said Vic, "and for putting those we care for first. You are appreciated!”

The themes of the artwork in the two wings are “male” and “female,” with local landscapes in the hallways in between.

Painting of an old corvette on the wall
Painting of a cat and butterfly on the wall
Mountain landscape painting
Girl playing with her toys mural on the wall
Man standing in front of a mural of an old VW