Phillips Collection opens Creative Aging exhibition

Phillips Collection presents Creative Aging, an exhibition on view Nov. 1–30, 2012.

The Phillips Collection has forged an innovative partnership with the District’s award-winning Iona’s Wellness & Arts Center to improve the lives of people with memory impairment and physical challenges. Original artwork created by these individuals is featured in Creative Aging, a new exhibition on view at the Phillips during National Arts and Health Month.

Offering an unorthodox mix of museum education and art therapy, the program invites older adults, along with their families and caregivers, to enter the world of Renoir, van Gogh, Picasso, and others, and then return to Iona where they use the creative process of making art to enhance their emotional, mental, and physical well-being. In recent years, a wealth of scientific research has shown the powerful effects that interaction with the arts has on health, healing, and rehabilitation. For individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementia in particular, studies point to the ways art can ease the devastating symptoms and lessen the anxiety, agitation, and apathy associated with the disease.

Over the last year, 30 individuals and 10 family members or caregivers participated in a pilot program at the Phillips and Iona. Sessions take place monthly, alternating between the museum’s galleries and Iona so that individuals with a range of mobility can participate. Using the artwork as visual stimulus, individuals engage in conversations with museum education professionals and each other that help trigger thoughts and feelings, inspiring them to make connections and access personal experiences and long-term memories.

The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations. –