Opening Minds Through Art

Building Bridges Across Age and Cognitive Barriers through Art

Our goal is to help build a society that values all people, including older adults living with dementia. We achieve this by building genuine friendships between people living with dementia and volunteers as they engage in art-making.

Proven Excellence

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people living with dementia. It was developed at Scripps Gerontology Center, an Ohio Center of Excellence at Miami University, in 2007. People living with dementia (artists) are paired with volunteers (students, families, caregivers) who are trained to rely on imagination instead of memory and focus on remaining strengths instead of lost skills. OMA enables people living with dementia to assume new roles as artists and teachers and leave a legacy of beautiful artwork. OMA has been widely replicated.

Intergenerational Connections

Age segregation in our society has caused people across generations to see each other as strangers. By connecting people across generations via direct, regular interactions centered around the arts, we build positive attitudes about each other in a joyful way.


Published studies have documented OMA’s positive impact on both sides.

Compared to other activities, people living with dementia during OMA show:

  • More expressions of pleasure
  • Greater engagement
  • Better overall well-being

Students who participated in OMA show:

  • Increased positive attitudes toward people living with dementia
  • Increased comfort levels interacting with people living with dementia
  • Increased affection, enthusiasm and a sense of kinship toward people living with dementia

Meaningful Art

Check out the diverse collection of vibrant artwork by people living with dementia in the OMA program. Most of them have not done art since their elementary school days. Many surprised themselves and discovered hidden talents.

Art Gallery

Join in! Anyone can make connections through art.

Find training opportunities to become a certified OMA Facilitator, or an OMA volunteer, or learn how to infuse the arts into your caregiving activities. Learn how you can bring OMA into your own communities.

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