“This is a wonderful opportunity to be a human being with another human being and, for me, art is the way of doing it.”
The partnership between St. Joseph Manor, part of Holy Redeemer network of health services in Philadelphia with ARTZ Philadelphia provides residents of St. Joseph the opportunity to participate in OMA. We interviewed Sue Brown of ARTZ Philadelphia about her journey with OMA. She has been a volunteer at St. Joseph for a number of years, and now has added OMA to her volunteer work there.
The one-to-one relationship in OMA allows artists to flourish. Sue said, “We have one person whose dementia is so severe … she looks vacant. But, you put a volunteer with her and you start working, those blue eyes start to shine and the smile comes back. It’s wonderful to watch!”
Volunteers at St. Joseph have to complete lots of paperwork, so Sue recruited individuals who were already in the system, including the Director of Volunteer Services at Holy Redeemer. The site currently has six pairs of artists and volunteers who participate on a weekly basis, but she plans to have more people involved in the next session.
“Make sure you set aside some time for playtime so that you feel a little more prepared when you go to do your program.”
Sue said all art projects have been pretty successful. There was one project she wasn’t sure about at first, but she was pleasantly surprised with the results. She explained the project as dropping ink on the paper, and tilting the paper around, and then painting in the spaces with watercolor and embellish with iridescent acrylic and sponge brayers with a variety of designs for added texture.
“How could you be sad looking at this? It’s just so joyful!”
St. Joseph, in partnership with ARTZ Philadelphia, hosted their art show in the spring of 2018. The title of the show was “We are like the Whirl of Colors,” a quote from an artist describing her painting.
Overall, they have been satisfied with their OMA program and have high hopes for the future. This summer, Sue hopes for more physical space so that more people can join the fun. Sessions at St. Joseph Manor will resume again this summer!
Congratulations to St. Joseph Manor and ARTZ Philadelphia for being our Featured Site for Summer 2018!