Reflection and George Luks’s Telling Fortunes

George Luks, Telling Fortunes, 1914. Oil on canvas 20 x 16 in., Acquired 1922. The Phillips Collection, Washington DC.

The Phillips is currently hosting the exhibition Art and Wellness: Creative Aging. The display features work from our program which encourages older adults (many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia), along with their families and caregivers, to make connections and access personal experiences and long-term memories through gallery conversations and hands-on art therapy. It is part of an ongoing collaboration between The Phillips Collection and Iona Senior Services.

Through the program, we looked at George Luks’s Telling Fortunes. Members of the group made observations about the artist’s use of color and the emotional impact of the figure. Individuals were also curious about the woman in the painting. They considered what she may be holding, suggesting a crystal ball, cup, or candle giving off light. They described the figure as looking “amazed,” “curious,” and “intense.”

The exploration continued in the art therapy studio at Iona. Individuals were invited to reflect further by making silk mandalas. Using ink, they were encouraged to let the colors spread on the silk. This freeing and meditative process brought forth feelings of “amazement” and “curiosity” within the group. One group member related her experience to Luks’s painting, stating “This kind of thing has elements of unknown, just like the painting…”

IonaWellness_LuksSilkpainting

Top: (left to right) Larry, Untitled, Ink on silk; Oscar, Untitled, Ink on silk; Patricia, Untitled, Ink on silk. Bottom: (left to right) Suzanne, Untitled, Ink on silk; Theresa, In the Flow, Ink on silk; Anita, Untitled, In on silk.

 

 

Art and Wellness: Creative Aging

This video features the ongoing collaboration between The Phillips Collection and Iona Senior Services. The program encourages older adults (many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia), along with their families and caregivers, to make connections and access personal experiences and long-term memories through gallery conversations and hands-on art therapy.

In November, the Phillips opened  Art and Wellness: Creative Aging for Arts & Health Month and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The exhibition features over 80 artworks created as a part of the program.

Our colleagues at Iona created this video to celebrate the opening reception for the exhibition, which brought over 100 participants to the museum, including many artists and their families. One family expressed, “Thank you for an amazing exhibit. We appreciate your grace and kindness. You inspire us.” Another attendee said, “Great show! Looks like the Iona participants were having fun, as well as having memories and thinking about elements of some works of art.”

If you’re interested in more information about the artworks in the video or the Art and Wellness program, please contact education@phillipscollection.org.

Capturing a Moment

Two visitors sharing a moment at the Phillips during our Creative Aging program. Photo: James Brantley

Two visitors sharing a moment at the Phillips during our Creative Aging program. Photo: James R. Brantley

Everyone once in a while I see a photograph from one of our programs that stops me in my tracks. James R. Brantley recently took the image above during one of our Creative Aging programs with Iona. This program offers older adults (many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia), along with their families and caregivers, the opportunity to connect with each other through guided conversations about art at the Phillips. These individuals then continue processing their responses in the art therapy studio at Iona.

This photograph is a powerful reminder to me. It serves as a testament of how powerful art can be in creating shared and loving experiences.