Scripps Gerontology Center

Oxford, Ohio

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is a Scripps Gerontology Center intergenerational art program for people with dementia. Created at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, the program is grounded in person-centered ethics and founded on the fact that people with dementia are capable of expressing themselves creatively.

The program is typically implemented in weekly, small group sessions where people with dementia are paired with volunteers / students who have been trained to promote social engagement, autonomy, and dignity of people with dementia. The elders create the artwork. The students are there for support, encouragement, and social interaction. The art-making sessions culminate in a gallery exhibition celebrating the artists’ accomplishments while educating the public about the creative capacities of people with dementia. This video highlights the art making sessions, an art show, as well as a dance, and demonstrates the capabilities of people with dementia. Through this program, students’ beliefs and attitudes toward people with dementia are positively transformed and they become advocates of the older generation. Our mission is to build bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art. That bridge is a relationship and at the foundation of that relationship is love.

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