Art nourishes the soul

As a form of therapy, art can be therapeutic and encourages self-growth through the creative process.

The recent introduction of art classes at Baptcare St Hilary’s aged care community, has facilitated meaningful conversations among residents and nourished their soul.

Since the launch of the art program, the sessions have focused on diverse topics including a theme around ‘family’. Dot-painting was also recently introduced to create a smooth, rhythmic motion of paint to paper during this session, and has allowed the residents to explore what the themes mean to them.

The art classes were the brain-child of Baptcare Chaplain, Geoff Campbell who had long wanted to create a space where residents could explore the forms and mediums of art.

“The residents allowed colour and form to speak to them about their [own] lives and how they had influenced the many people in their lives,” Geoff said.

Despite feeling quite anxious and distracted before her first session, one resident noted that after just a brief time of painting she felt relaxed and at peace.

Geoff said the classes were a way for residents to access their own story and rather than focus on being artists, the residents could explore themselves in an alternate way.

“The participants need not be ‘artists’ but willing to see the blank paper before them as a window into their inner selves,” he said.

Upon consultation with the lifestyle team at St Hilary’s, Geoff set up the space in a quiet room that had somewhat of a tranquil nature about it and encouraged the residents to tap into their inner selves through art.

Any residents who did exhibit a continued interest in and passion for the art sessions, would be able to access the materials and space at any time, to maintain a connection with their past interests that may have ceased when coming into care.

There are many ideas for future sessions, with various mediums and methods of self-reflection yet to be explored. Geoff said future sessions would revolve around childhood memories, self-portraits and the meaning of ‘home’.

With each piece of art signed by the residents, the sessions have also created a sense of accomplishment and pride among the residents, with discussions in place to host an art exhibition of the residents’ works in the future.