Gallery gems on loan to Jemalong

Filed : Ageing and disability, Arts & Health, Projects .

Artworks from the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery collection were recently loaned to Forbes’ Jemalong Residential Village as part of an art and dementia program ran by Arts OutWest.
It’s rare that artworks from Bathurst Regional Art Gallery leave their home, other than for major exhibition tours. But select works from BRAG’s acclaimed collection have been recently lent to the the Forbes based aged care facility.

The Sensory Room at Jemalong Residential Village (JRV) has been set up as a small gallery where the works from BRAG are available for residents, with and without dementia, to visit accompanied by staff. Staff at JRV were given special training by the National Gallery of Australia in how to talk about art with people with dementia. Staff, with the help of Forbes artist Ro Burns, then ran weekly workshops, leading residents in discussions about the art followed by their own art making experiences linked to those works. A selection of the art produced by residents will now be framed and exhibited at JRV.

“Looking at and talking about works of art enables people living with dementia to connect with the world in enriching and life-enhancing ways,” Arts OutWest Arts and Health Coordinator Christine McMillan said.

Image: artist Ro Burns (centre) with JRV residents Robyn and Margaret, create artworks inspired by pieces from the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery collection (in background). Photo: Arts OutWest.

The artworks have been especially chosen to facilitate discussion between care givers and people with dementia. The conversations compare and contrast visual features in the artworks and create links with the everyday through images that evoke storytelling.

“We’re privileged to have these high-quality art works on loan to us from BRAG,” Ms McMillan said. “These works don’t usually leave the gallery.”

“Residents benefited immensely from the arts in dementia program. The aim of the program is to support creativity, in a safe and welcoming environment. We hope the program will also foster relationships between residents and provide them with a meaningful occupation, regardless of past experiences with art,” said Krystyna Anderson, occupational therapist from JRV.

BRAG and Arts OutWest conducted a similar pilot program in Bathurst in 2012. That project won a Museums & Galleries NSW IMAGiNE Award and the Arts and Health Australia International Award for ‘Arts and Health in Regional and Rural Australia’.

For more about Arts OutWest’s arts and health programs visit www.artsoutwest.org.au

I’ll return to regular ‘What’s on’ style wrap ups next week. Send event suggestions and photos to news@bathurstartscouncil.org.au