Volunteers facilitate the art making process of one woman.
Volunteers facilitate the art making process of one woman.

New support received to expand innovative arts programming

For more information, visit OMA’s website at: www.scrippsoma.org.

New grants will support the strategic planning and expansion of the Opening Minds through Art program.

The Scripps Gerontology Center and the Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program recently received grants from two prestigious area funders to support OMA’s strategic growth and development. OMA is one of the nation’s leading art programs for people with dementia.

The awards include an $1,800 project grant from the Ohio Arts Council, in Columbus, as well as a $2,000 project grant from Cincinnati-based ArtsWave. The grants will enable the staffs of OMA and Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center to work with Cleveland-based consultant Max Stark, with Max Stark and Associates, to conduct the first phase of a strategic planning process.

OMA, founded in 2007 at Scripps, is an innovative intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia in which student-volunteers work with elders in long-term-care facilities to create works of abstract art. The program currently serves more than 200 elders and an equal number of volunteers every semester at 11 long-term-care facilities in the greater Cincinnati area. Because of the program’s growing reputation—it has received recognition from the National Center for Creative Aging in Washington, D.C., as well as from LeadingAge Ohio, the state association of non-profit elder-care providers­—OMA frequently receives inquiries from sites interested in adopting the program. The strategic planning effort is designed to help OMA develop a sustainable strategy for growth. 

“We are delighted by the vote of support for OMA that these grants represent and by the fact that these grants will enable OMA to reach more elders with dementia,” said Dr. Elizabeth Lokon, OMA’s founder and director. “OMA provides a source of joy and self-esteem to people with dementia, whose numbers are growing rapidly,” she said. “At the same time, the beautiful artworks produced by participants help to ‘open the minds’ of volunteers, family members and caregiving staff to the capabilities of people with dementia,” she added.

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) is a state agency that supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically. Organizations that receive OAC funds are required to match state tax dollars with additional public and private funds. Every state tax dollar the OAC invests generates $45 in matching funds by recipient organizations, according to the agency. 

ArtsWave is the region's leading local arts agency and the nation's largest united arts fund. The ArtsWave Community Campaign receives contributions from 40,000 individual and corporate donors in the Cincinnati area; through its support of the arts, ArtsWave helps to make the Greater Cincinnati region a vibrant place to live.

ArtsWave, Creating Community Through the Arts               Ohio Arts Council

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Making a Positive Difference

Making a Positive Difference

Opening Minds through Art

When Miami undergraduates are paired with older adults with dementia, something beautiful happens–friendships form and lives change.

An elder with dementia and his volunteer partner from Opening Minds through Art

A positive impact

Our preliminary research shows that our Opening Minds through Art program has a lasting positive impact on quality of life for the elders.
An elder with dementia and her volunteer partner from Opening Minds through Art

Volunteers developing a bond

The relationships formed between the artists and volunteers have a profound impact for both people. The volunteers often develop a greater appreciation for older people and the partnership often results in a bond of friendship that impacts them long after they graduate.
Art created by elder with dementia

Stunning results

OMA provides elders with a failure-free creative environment where they get to make the choices and the outcomes are often stunning.
Art created by elder with dementia

Stunning results

Stunning results

Stunning results

Art created by elders with dementia on display at Cedar Village retirement community

Cedar Village Art Exhibit

The artwork on display at Cedar Village Retirement Community. 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.
For more information, visit OMA’s website at: www.scrippsoma.org.