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 John Frederick Peto’s Old Time Card Rack. Memories and personal mementos played an important role during a conversation about the painting. Members of the group first noticed the “well worn” and “very old” objects in the picture. One individual said he thought the artwork seemed to be about “memories of one time or another.”
The exploration continued in the art therapy studio at Iona. Members of the group created their own containers of memories, or memory boxes. Pictures and important objects were shared and discussed. One individual, Susan, used this process to reconnect with her mother. She made the work pictured below. She said, “I wanted to honor my mom because I miss her and love her dearly…. This is my tribute to her.”