Using discussion based tours of artworks, the program aims to improve well being and connect participants in a shared activity through interpretation, memories and personal insights.
"Through discussion and interpretation of works of art, participants are able to reconnect with their sense of identity and communicate to their optimum cognitive capacity"
It's run by Bayside City Council at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre. This program is based on one instigated by the National Gallery Australia and many regional galleries are creating their own programs.
Our family has been touched by dementia so my approach to this is deeply personal. This is an illness and while it manifests differently it includes many dramatic outcomes of loss...memory, rationality, social skills and emotional reactions. My participation in this program helps me, as well as the participants, connect with what many of us take for granted.. our memory and language. It's lead me to deeply reconsider a fundamental question 'If we are not our memories , then what are we?'
I love being a witness to the joy, growing confidence , silence and sometimes even animation of the participants to pieces of modern and contemporary art so carefully chosen by the coordinator and volunteers.
I know that as soon as they leave on the bus to go back to their residential care facilities they will not remember anything of their visit, and there is no evidence that the program provides any lasting effects.
But it also reminds me to value and appreciate the moment and that's worth promoting.