Program to Spark Joy with seniors

Art therapist Krista Schneider and ceramicist Andrea Vuletin (standing) introduced water colour painting to people attending an open house at the Thames Art Gallery last week. The gallery is launching a new program called Spark Joy! to help Chatham-Kent seniors to explore the world of art.

A new initiative at the Thames Art Gallery is looking to Spark Joy! through art for area seniors.

Thanks to a New Horizons for Seniors grant from the federal government, the gallery has three projects planned over the coming year and organizers are looking for 10 volunteers to help out.

According to gallery co-ordinator Irene MacCreadie, volunteers don’t need to have an extensive art background; they just need have to have an interest in art.

MacCreadie called Spark Joy! a “fun, unpretentious” approach, noting new recruits will be trained for the role.

“We want people to come out and learn a bit more about art,” she said of Spark Joy! for participants and volunteers alike.

Watercolour and acrylic painting, print making and clay hand shaping are among the subjects that may be studied. Art therapist Krista Schneider and ceramicist Andrea Vuletin will also play a role teaching and lending their expertise to develop programs.

Spark Joy! volunteers will also expand their digital experience by creating art appreciation videos and art kits for participants who take part through the Alzheimer Society of Chatham-Kent’s Wallaceburg and Chatham day programs. Volunteers will also help develop a four-week online art series with kits for people across Chatham-Kent who may not be able to access programs in person.

Socializing, research and gallery tours are also on the agenda, she added, in an effort to enhance the art experience.

The grant-funded program hopes to engage participants who are 55-plus.

The Thames Art Gallery is located at 75 William St. in Chatham and is fully accessible.


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