For the last two months, I’ve been leading a program at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) that I’ve just LOVED!
The class was brilliantly designed by Colleen Leduc a learning and programs coordinator at the gallery and a certified art therapist.
Colleen has taught the class in the past. But this year her administrative responsibilities at the gallery increased and she couldn’t fit time to lead the sessions into her schedule so she asked me and a colleague of mine to take over.
What a privilege!
The class is called Art to Inspire and this year we offered eight-afternoon sessions on Thursdays in April and May. The people who participated have dementia or Alzheimer’s and come to the program with their caregivers who may be family members or friends.
Our sessions were held in a large sunny studio looking out over the WAG’s rooftop. We began each session with coffee or tea and cookies and friendly conversation around the table getting to know each other.
We talked about our interests, events in our lives and families, and what was going on with the weather and the news.
At our last meeting yesterday one of the participants said the sense of community created through these conversations had been the best part of the weekly sessions for her.
Our second activity was going into one of the galleries in the WAG and looking at a piece of art, or several pieces of art and discussing them. I LOVED this part of our sessions with everyone offering their unique ideas about the artwork and the feelings the artwork evoked.
Both caregivers and those with dementia or Alzheimer’s shared wonderful observations and insights.
After our time in the gallery, we would go back to our studio and create some art. I have included some of the marvelous pieces members of our group created in this post.
We used all kinds of different things for our creations which were often connected in some way to the artwork we had studied in the gallery.
I realized that just because someone has Alzheimer’s or dementia doesn’t mean their artistic instincts or talents have been hampered at all. The work created during our eight sessions was just amazing!!
Leading this class was just a delight for me. My own life was enriched immeasurably by the wonderful people I got to know in the last two months because of the class. I am so grateful to the WAG for giving me this opportunity.
There was one participant in the class who said at the end of every session, “That was so much fun MaryLou.” That moment always made every minute of preparing for the class worthwhile.
The program runs in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, and the University of Manitoba College of Rehabilitation Sciences.
Although the current program has come to an end people who are interested in the course can keep checking the WAG website for information about future classes.
Warli Art- Kids Love It And You Will Too