Featured Site: Art for the Journey utilizes Virtual OMA for Programming

January 15, 2021

Art for the Journey was started by a small group of artists in the Richmond, Virginia area who were committed to sharing healing through creative expression. The original group soon expanded to include volunteers and programming in service to underprivileged communities as well as women in prison, veterans, and people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

For over five years, Art for the Journey has delivered the Scripps Gerontology Center-Miami University OPENING MINDS THROUGH ART (OMA) program at Saint Mary’s Woods in Richmond, Virginia. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Art for the Journey and OMA certified facilitators collaborated to create virtual programs for elders at Saint Mary’s Woods, pairing seniors and student volunteers via Zoom to create “art huddles” and make art together.

With the spirit that art must go on and fortified by noise-canceling headphones, masks, and socially distanced tables with monitors, four elder artists donned art aprons and met their trained student volunteers for the first time over Zoom.

The excitement was palpable as the Art for the Journey office became a broadcasting studio and the artists entered the “creative flow.”

“You Are My Sunshine” was the opening song for the virtual art session and reflected the radiant happiness of both the elders and volunteers as they admired the beautiful artwork created during the session. One of the elders excitedly remarked that he could not wait until the next session; and a student volunteer offered this reflection:

“OMA is a wonderful way to meet someone new and give people the opportunity to do something fun. I learned that it is very heartwarming to the people that you are partnered with and not only does it mean something to them, it will mean a lot to you since they are also taking the time to be there with you. My partner was sweet and simply amazing. Knowing that she looked forward to another session with me warmed my heart and made me feel good inside.”

Congratulations to Art for the Journey for the success of their Virtual OMA program!

For more information about Art for the Journey and virtual OMA, check out this video.

Visit the OMA Art Show Gallery at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, sponsored by Art for the Journey. 

Get updates and learn more about Art for the Journey by visiting their website.

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Meghan Young

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