Look Art Talk is the first Art and Alzheimers Program to be delivered in the Central West.
The pilot project aims, over a six week period, to engage people with Dementia and their care-givers with artworks at the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.
Participants come from the local Seymour Centre, Illumba Gardens, Macquarie Care Centre and St Catherine’s aged care facilities. The residents will undertake tours of the exhibitions and cultural activities providing social inclusion and intellectual stimulation which in turn act to promote wellbeing.
This pilot program is an initiative funded by the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) and presented in partnership with Arts OutWest’s Arts and Health Program and Western NSW Local Health District.
The art works in Look Art Talk were specially selected from BRAG’s Permanent Collection by presenters Adrian Symes, Cate McCarthy and project coordinator Christine McMillan.
“The art works in Look Art Talk were chosen to facilitate discussion between care givers, people with dementia and the presenter around comparing and contrasting of visual features and elements of design and to create links with the everyday through images that evoke storytelling,” Arts and Health Coordinator Christine McMillan said.
“It’s a different experience for most of the people involved. It’s about giving time for people to speak and think. There are often long silences whilst people form ideas and sentences but this is very important,” Ms McMillan said.
“The images artworks have prompted memories and conversations.”
Look Art Talk is based on a program that was developed by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York in 2006.
This MoMA program was later taken up by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in 2007 through its Art and Alzheimers Program.
Feedback from the National Gallery of Australia project found that ‘Looking at and talking about works of art enables people living with Dementia to connect with the world in enriching and life-enhancing ways.’
The NGA subsequently provided an Art and Alzheimers Program professional development course at BRAG for Central West art and health workers May 18 and 19, 2011 as part of their Art and Alzheimers Outreach Program.
The Look Art Talk program will commence at BRAG on Monday, August 13 and continue every Monday for six weeks.