Residents from dementia care home Chelsea Court Place and pensioners from the Royal Hospital Chelsea celebrate their first joint art exhibition at Peter Jones 5th Floor Cafe from 15th – 28th May, 2019.
The residents and pensioners have been undertaking a highly successful, evidence- based dementia arts programme, culminating in this captivating exhibition which highlights the benefits that artistic output delivers in living well with dementia.
Stories of Spring: Stories of Spring has been inspired by the local Chelsea community and coincides with the iconic Chelsea Flower Show. Memories surrounding the happiness and events of the Springtime calendar are the inspiration for this compelling collection and celebrates friendship between the residents, pensioners and carers. The exhibition showcases the talent, identity and style of the artists with a tangible sense of pride and confidence. It aims to raise awareness about dementia in the community and illustrates the powerful influence that creativity can have on the health and wellbeing of individuals who are living with a diagnosis. The six themes of Stories of Spring were selected and developed by both residents and pensioners and created in circle shapes to represent celebration, eternal journeys and never-ending imaginations. The representative subjects comprise fashion, nature, city gardens, culture, weddings and architecture; each having its very own story to tell from each contributing artist. From the beautiful grounds and walled gardens of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to the fond memories and sense of occasion of weddings and colourful celebrations of multicultural identities, the artworks are vibrant, thought-provoking and joyful.
Art Workshops: The weekly art workshops, which have been delivered to residents at Chelsea Court Place over the last two years, were developed in conjunction with the Dementia Care Centre at the University of West London (UWL). The programme uses using the latest research and evidence to help individuals manage symptoms of dementia and have seen very positive responses from participants.
James Cook, Managing Director at Chelsea Court Place comments, “The art programme has been an immense success for our residents and we have seen tangible improvements and positive outcomes for many participants. Our residents not only look forward to the classes and cherish the creative outlet, but the workshops have also instigated friendships and conversation between each other as well as the carers. Our team is passionate about using creative therapies to help manage symptoms of dementia and promote wellbeing and Stories of Spring encapsulates these successes. We hope to inspire more care homes to adopt creative arts programmes for dementia.”
The art workshops are led by Illustrator and Creative Educator Grace Holliday who incorporates traditional arts skills such as painting, drawing and mixed-media design as well as sensory workshops. The programme draws personal stories, experiences and personalities to provide a meaningful programme that enhances wellbeing. Grace comments, “This inspiring exhibition promotes the the importance of art and sensory stimulation in relation to helping individuals live with dementia. It is commonly considered that euphoric feelings and creative achievements are perhaps an impossibility to people who are faced with a dementia diagnosis, however these workshops showcase talent, identity and style with a tangible sense of pride.”
Harriet Page, Dementia Specialist Activity Worker at the Royal Hospital has seen the many benefits that creative activity has had on the Chelsea Pensioners. Harriet comments, “We are very fortunate to have Grace coming on a weekly basis and working with the Pensioners on Campbell Ward, all of whom cherish the art classes. They provide sensory stimulation, physical elements of using fine motor skills and dexterity and facilitate meaningful and reminiscent conversations as a group session or even 1:1.
Stories of Spring will be running in Peter Jones, Sloane Square from 15th-26th May in the 5th Floor café. Prints will be available to purchase with proceeds going to Arts 4 Dementia to enable more people the opportunity to benefit from creative arts.