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Carolina Meadows Residents Reveal ‘Downton Abbey’-Inspired Portraits at UNC-TV Fundraiser Kick-Off Dinner
Carolina Meadows

Downton Meadows

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Months of hard work have finally paid off for residents at Carolina Meadows, the largest continuing care retirement community in the Triangle, as they revealed stunning “Downton Abbey”-inspired portraits at a dinner in their honor held Feb. 21.

“The project, including the dinners and other related events, was terrifically successful and another example of Carolina Meadows creating environments in which people have fun in different ways,” resident Mike Kesner said.

It all began last spring with an idea that quickly grew into a community-wide effort that organizers named “Downton Meadows.”

“When Susan spoke to me about her idea I had no idea it would grow ‘legs’ and eventually sprout ‘wings,’ ” resident Dorothy Samitz said.

After finding a skilled photographer – Jack Benjamin – to work pro-bono and costumes from PlayMakers Repertory Company and Bernard’s Formalwear, organizers began casting residents for the creative photo project that captured the spirit of the popular show and the community.

“I think many residents saw this as another opportunity to invest in the future of this wonderful community,” organizer Chris Kesner said.

The UNC-TV annual fundraiser kicked off this week, and to celebrate the start, Carolina Meadows hosted a “Downton Abbey”-themed dinner for residents where the spectacular “Downton Meadows” portraits were revealed to the public.

“Everything was so professional looking and Dorothy O’Connell (as Violet Crawley) was perfect! Everyone looked so happy in the photos and that made us feel happy,” residents Albina and Chuck Giardino said.

Organizers hope these portraits will encourage residents to make donations to UNC-TV’s month-long fundraiser.

Residents recreate a scene from the kitchens
“It’s one of those things you come to expect at CM. The abundance of creative, dynamic people here continues to enhance the quality of our community, with the synergy benefiting all residents,” Kesner added.

Resident volunteers will stop by the studio March 18 at 5:30 p.m. to answer calls and gather pledges live on air. Last year, Carolina Meadows residents and their company matching programs raised more than $22,600 in just three weeks, contributing to the importance of North Carolina’s 12-station public broadcasting system.

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