Art viewing for the older person

“You’re drawn into it. Brilliant it was. I enjoyed it so much.”

– Open Gallery participant

Open Gallery is an art viewing programme which invites people – and their family members/carers – to look at, discuss and enjoy paintings from the UHW Art Collection in a safe and welcoming space, supported by professional artists Caroline Schofield and Jill Bouchier.

In each session, participants explore up to three paintings, making observations, describing, building connections and enjoying art together.  The paintings usually have a theme, for example, landscapes, portraits, colour etc.  Participants do not need any experience, or to know anything about art to take part in Open Gallery.  The conversations are structured, and begin gently with questions such as “What do you see? What colours can you see?” before moving on to interpreting the painting, for example “What time of year do you think it is? Why do you think that?” etc. During some Open Gallery sessions participants have the opportunity to make art in response to the paintings in the room. Each session lasts about one hour and finishes with a cup of tea and a lively discussion!

Open Gallery is currently being delivered to residents of Waterford Residential Care Centre, a long-stay care facility in Waterford City, and brings great joy, creativity and discovery to the participants and staff.
Open Gallery was developed by Waterford Healing Arts in 2018, and was adapted for the healthcare setting from “Meet Me at MoMA”, an internationally renowned and evaluated programme of dementia-friendly art looking workshops, devised by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and introduced to Ireland as the “Azure Programme” by the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny, in collaboration with Age and Opportunity, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art).

Listen to our podcast to learn more about Open Gallery.