We’re excited to spread the news about one of our award-winning programs –it’s not every day we get recognized with two awards at once. So yes, we’re patting ourselves on the back…just a little.
We were honoured to recently receive the City of Toronto’s Quality Improvement Achievements award for our Seniors Arts Engagement Program. This prestigious award recognizes initiatives that help improve the quality of life for its Long-Term Care Homes & Services residents. We also received the People’s Choice Award, voted on by our industry peers!
Our Seniors Arts Engagement Program is a three-year pilot program supported by Paul Elia and the Elia Family and run in partnership with the City of Toronto. It connects seniors with youth as part of a multi-generational approach to artmaking. So far more than 400 long-term care residents have participated. In addition, 100 young people have become involved through the AGO’s Youth Art Ambassador Program.
The program begins with residents from various care centres spending a day exploring their creativity at the AGO. They discover the collection and share conversations about artworks with AGO Education Officers and Gallery Guides. Participants then enjoy lunch and have a chance to create their own sculptures, which they can take home.
Following the visit, volunteers (ages 14-18) from the care centres spend a day at the AGO learning how to lead artmaking activities. The youth take the knowledge they’ve gained and share it with the residents to keep the inspiration going on-site. Those who want to keep in touch with the Gallery can connect through a Facebook group where they gain tips and share successes.
AGO Program Coordinator Melissa Smith has seen first-hand the powerful impact this programming has had on the seniors and youth involved. “We continue to hear that being able to have conversations about art, rather than health care, is so refreshing for both the participants and the caregivers,” she says. “The art gives everyone an opportunity to share and open up, connecting in new ways.”
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