Making Art and Creating Connections

opening minds through art - art show

There’s a new program at Christian Village at Mason that brings area youth and residents together to spark amazing art plus new friendships and connections.

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an intergenerational art program that pairs youth with older people with dementia. It focuses on what elders can still do, not what they can’t. Founded in 2007 by Miami University professor Elizabeth Lokon, OMA is a nationally recognized effort that provides a creative, social outlet for people who are may be underserved because of their inability to communicate well.

Ten Mason High School National Art Honor Society members have been working one-on-one with Christian Village residents since February, going through each step of their art projects together. Residents can choose from abstract projects and can use Kool-Aid, glitter, paper towels and other found objects to make unique patterns, according Linda Kurzynski, Director of Community Life Services for the Christian Village at Mason.

“There are no rights or wrongs with their art,” said Kurzynski. “We use a variety of mediums, but it’s mostly watercolor. Families who have seen the artwork are thrilled!”

Dr. Lokon, who named the program after the German and Dutch word for grandma, based the program on her research while doing her master’s thesis on gerontology. She checked herself into a long-term facility to observe first-hand what practices might help people with dementia, and her initial efforts didn’t work. But one day, she brought art supplies and the residents were engaged, according to Beth Rohrbaugh, assistant director of OMA.

That moment sparked the OMA program, which is now utilized in 40 long-term care facilities across the U.S. and Canada.

You’re Invited

To see the artistic efforts for yourself, Christian Village at Mason is proud to host the OMA Art Show, which is open to the public on May 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. If you’d like to learn more about on OMA’s artistic outreach programs and dementia research efforts, please visit the OMA website.

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