Our cultural enrichment Outreach Program takes elements of Elderwise to other facilities serving elders. In addition, we partner with museum educators and artists to provide a museum and studio experience for people with dementia at the Frye Art Museum.
Outreach Program: We Bring A Little Bit of Elderwise to You
This program, also known as Elderwise on Wheels, takes the Elderwise approach and activities to independent and assisted-living centers, continuing care facilities, nursing homes, and non-residential settings for older adults. Our much-loved watercolor classes and discussion groups are tailored to the needs and schedules of the facility and residents.
During a typical art class, the Elderwise facilitator demonstrates on an easel to guide the group, introducing a theme-related painting. Participants can choose to follow the facilitator, or their own imagination. A wet-on-wet watercolor technique is used, where colors are created directly on the page. This method encourages physical relaxation and mental ease.
We can provide a series of classes, or train your staff to facilitate the classes, that explore the creativity and imagination of participants in the Elderwise Spirit-centered way. Please contact Sandy Sabersky to discuss how Elderwise can enhance the programming at your facility.
Bonnie’s weekly watercolor class has such heart! She provides a calm, nurturing, and supportive environment for both our trained artists, as well as those who are discovering their creative gifts.
Linda Solbeck Berthy, Horizon House, Activities
Your work with elders has brought such joy to our family and so many others. The times we spent watercoloring with Wilda were some of the richest connections in her final 2 years of life. And we have the art she created and have framed several to give as gifts to her loved ones. Bless you in your soulful work,
Alicia and Edie, Outreach participant family members
We loved having Tamara back. The class went well, we got some new participants in the class and everyone expanded their creative horizons.
Susan Dissman, Providence ElderPlace, Activities Director
Our Unique Relationship with the Frye Art Museum
In 2009 we partnered with the Frye Art Museum and the Alzheimer’s Association of Western and Central Washington to develop a museum gallery and studio program especially for persons with dementia. This program was inspired by and modeled after a similar program at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The key contributions by Elderwise have been sharing our unique “Elderwise Way” of working with this population and sharing our expertise and experience teaching watercolor, collage and other artistic techniques with this group.
The program at the Frye has continued to be a success and Elderwise continues to participate with the here:now program.
The Frye was excited to partner with Elderwise for its approach of integrating cultural enrichment with the experience of aging. Prior to launching the pilot program, Elderwise Executive Director Sandy Sabersky presented an inspiring talk to Frye staff sharing Elderwise’s philosophy and practices of working with older adults. Traci Eshun, RN and Alzheimer’s Association education trainer, discussed the facts of dementia and identified warning signs of the disease. This training provided Frye education, curatorial, security, and facility personnel with an introduction to dementia and communication skills to work with those individuals the Museum would serve in the program.
Integral to the development of the pilot program was training of Frye education staff in teaching art making to adults living with dementia. Tamara Keefe, Director, Elderwise Adult Day Program, taught art-making techniques including wet-on-wet watercolor and collage. Testimony to the strength of her teaching included praise from one participant: “I thought it was a good basic lesson in using watercolor, which I had never really used before. By the end of the time I felt much more comfortable with the medium.” Another commented; “Very helpful and good tips/guidance. At first, it was hard to use this medium, but then it got easier, or we “let go” of controlling it and had fun exploring.” From observation of Tamara’s teaching, the Frye staff learned the importance of clear and simple directions, of slowing down, and the possibilities of creative expression by being fully engaged in the moment.
Mary Jane Knecht, Manager of Adult Programs, Frye Art Museum