What does happiness look like? How would you visualize happiness if you were six, or eighty-six? An innovative intergenerational art show examines those questions at Gallery 2110 in Sacramento, CA. Titled “In the Mind of the Beholder,” this exhibition combines artwork by children and memory care residents of a CALA member community to examine the concept of “happiness,” and through that examination, bring happiness to audience members. According to a press release:
Exhibition co-producers, Eskaton, a Northern California aging services provider, and ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimer’s, set out to guide individuals through a process to identify and share what makes them happy. The two distinct workshops held in late 2012 were comprised of residents of an Eskaton memory care community and a classroom of first-graders.
‘The passion and creativity coming from the two very different groups reinforced the obvious–that happiness is positive and contagious,’ said Stuart Greenbaum, Eskaton’s vice president for public relations, ‘and more, that it flourishes in the uninhibited mind.’
Tiffany Paige, who led the Beholder workshops, directs the Sacramento chapter of ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimer’s, a program of the international I’m Still Here Foundation. ‘This project advanced our mission to use the creative arts to increase engagement and decrease depression,’ Paige said. ‘For however long we can focus the attention of individuals with dementia on happiness, we can decrease aggression, anger, agitation, and especially apathy.’
There are rainbows, hearts, and flowers, as well as families dining together and childhood vacations. Both sessions began with the groups exploring what ‘happiness’ means. Both literal and abstract ideas were recorded and displayed on large sheets of paper to serve as cues and encourage the creative process.
From the several dozen colorful oil pastel paintings produced by the workshops’ participants, the exhibition featured five by the first-grade students from Kohler Elementary School in North Highlands, CA and five by Eskaton residents.
The exhibition at Gallery 2110 (2110 K Street), runs through April 27th. If you visit, tell us what you think of the artwork in the comments below. And, if you’re feeling inspired to hold a workshop at your own community, consider sharing with your residents the submission info for CALA’s upcoming art show at the State Capitol.