“I am more happy after I have been here [OMA].”
– OMA Artist
The Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program at Rose Villa is more than an arts and crafts program at a senior community. This intergenerational art group for people with dementia is giving Rose Villa’s 10 resident artists a professional-quality art experience, and is allowing volunteers to build one-on- one relationships with those artists. For this reason and many more, Rose Villa is featured as OMA’s Site of the Month for March 2017.
Rose Villa’s Introduction to OMA
Rose Villa is part of Leading Age, a national association of nonprofit senior housing service. At a national conference, Erin Cornell, director of health services at Rose Villa, saw a presentation about OMA.
“I was impressed with the way it was focused on creating meaningful pieces of art using professional-grade materials,” she said. The program is “…research-based and has proven benefits for the artists and the volunteers.”
Melodie Reid, Rose Villa’s activities director and volunteer coordinator, attended a four-day training session at Miami University. She then led a five-hour training session for the 10 volunteers who wanted to be part of the six-week OMA program sessions at Rose Villa.
“Some have worked with seniors before, some are artists and some are not. We provide all the training,” Reid said.
* The story above was adapted from an article in the Portland Tribune.
“Working with OMA has transformed me in so many ways. I found the call for volunteers while searching for a way to give back to a cause bigger than myself. The truth is, I feel like I’m the one who received the gift. […] This approach in interacting with each other creates an instant connection and openness which we all benefit from.” – Rose Villa Volunteer
An insider’s perspective of OMA at Rose Villa – Interview with Melodie Reid, Activities Director
Which art project has been the most successful at your site?
There are several projects that have been successful. It is amazing to see that even though the artists are doing the same projects and steps that their projects look so unique. They are making individual choices that really reflect in their artwork. Among the artists’ favorites are the Magic Dots project and the Foil Ball stamping with ink.
Since you began implementing OMA, what are the most important lessons that you have learned? What advice would you give to new OMA facilitators?
My advice would be to build a team of support around OMA. Get others involved and supporting the program. We have an OMA committee of 9 people that meet on a regular basis. It helps to spread the work and allow for others to participate in the exciting experience of OMA. This has been an integral part of the success of the OMA program at Rose Villa. We have committee members that help in volunteer recruitment, donations, gathering and managing art materials, art show coordination, promoting the program to the public, managing our social media and promoting our on-line store, connect with local artists for project ideas and development, and oh so much more. Our committee members consist of Rose Villa staff (including management) and volunteers. It is fantastic to work with these amazing people who are excited about OMA and dedicated to making OMA succeed.
“That’s a judicious use of glitter!” – OMA Artist
Have there been any challenges that you’ve overcome while facilitating OMA? How did you overcome them?
There are always some problems to be solved or kinks to be worked out with starting any new program. I have been very blessed to have great support at Rose Villa and knew that I always had someone to turn to to help find solutions to any issues.
Does your site have any exciting future plans for OMA?
We have already doubled the number of classes that we offer and are looking to add classes as the program continues. Our next art show is March 24th. In May we will be presenting at a LeadingAge Oregon Conference about our OMA experience.
Congratulations to Rose Villa for being our March Site of the Month.