Art in a suitcase

…this is great for art students, art teachers, art scholars and art lovers who’ve taken the time and interest in studying artistic styles, periods, and the masters.

Pack a suitcase or portfolio with 3-12 of your favorite prints.  Have conversant knowledge on the period, the artist, the style and the subject matter – the more, the better.  Take all this to a nursing home or assisted living facility, and present the artwork as a discussion or workshop.  Seat folks close to you and be ready to get the art into their hands, so they can really see the picture (You may have people who have low vision or are blind; be ready to talk about color, shape, texture, etc in detail.)

Since approximately half of seniors aged 85 and older live with some form of dementia, indicating you will probably have varied levels of ability among your participants, consider the following:

-Speak slowly and directly, but in a conversational, adult-to-adult tone

– Initially, keep comments short and solicit feedback, to help you know how to structure your presentation.

– When asking questions, allow participants ample time to respond to you.

– Locate the caregiver and ask for their attendance throughout your presentation.

– Simply stated, open-ended questions about the subject matter, period, or style can elicit great discussions.  “What kind of person do you think he/she is?”  “How does this painting make you feel?”  “What jumps out at you in this picture?”  all are good starting points.

Art creates a wonderful bridge to unlock memories and stories, and open doors to communication.  Much more program information is available on the Tidewater Arts Outreach website.





About maryann4tao

Executive Director at Tidewater Arts Outreach. Former Volunteer Hampton Roads Training Manager and United Way/Salt Lake City Major Gifts Officer.
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