INCLUSIVE: A gallery volunteer leads a Mindful Art session at Caloundra Regional Gallery.
INCLUSIVE: A gallery volunteer leads a Mindful Art session at Caloundra Regional Gallery.

Gallery mindful of dementia with new art program

PROVIDING opportunities for people living with dementia to engage in meaningful and stimulating activities can be hugely beneficial to their wellbeing and Caloundra Regional Gallery's new public program, Mindful Art, offers a creative avenue.

Through Mindful Art people living with dementia, and their carers, will be able to tour the gallery and enjoy visual and sensory engagement with the exhibitions, led by experienced gallery staff and volunteers.

Earlier this year, the gallery staff and volunteers engaged in a training program delivered by the National Gallery of Australia enabling them to deliver specialised tours and respond to the needs of people living with dementia.

Caloundra Regional Gallery Public Programs officer Jenny Jones said the program was designed to give participants an avenue where they could connect in a creative and social setting.

"Through our gallery public programs, we aim to engage all members of the community and make art accessible for those who may not ordinarily visit a gallery," Ms Jones said.

"I'm especially proud to launch the Mindful Art program and provide this opportunity for our local residents who are living with dementia.

"We will work closely with local residential care facilities and the public to provide tours of the gallery, talking through a selection of artworks, engaging the participants in a discussion about the work and encouraging their interpretation and ideas.

"Hopefully the tours will brighten their days and provide an enriching experience."

Bolton Clarke Clinical Coordinator Karynne Paull said their residents were really looking forward to visiting the gallery.

"All of the residents who attended an earlier session at the gallery really enjoyed it and talked about it afterwards," Ms Paull said.

"They enjoyed seeing the artwork and reminiscing about their past, with residents commenting that it reminded them about where they used to live or what their parents used to do.

"One of our gentlemen who normally refuses to talk to people, talked most of the time he was there and said afterwards that 'the ladies listened to me and asked me what I thought about the picture', which is such a positive outcome.

"This is a fantastic program that provides a great opportunity for people who would possibly not be in a position to visit places like art galleries to be embraced, welcomed and accepted.

"Thank you to Caloundra Regional Gallery for creating this program, we look forward to many more visits in future."

The Mindful Art program will be held on a monthly basis.

In 2019, Caloundra Regional Gallery will also launch ArtReach, an outreach program that will see qualified gallery staff take selected works from the Sunshine Coast Art Collection to residential care facilities to discuss the works with residents. If the work is by a local artist, there will also be an opportunity for the artist to engage with the residents.

Residential care facilities interested in participating in the ArtReach program will soon be able to register their interest via the gallery website.

For more information and to register for the program, go to

The ArtReach program has been made possible thanks to the support of Queensland's oldest and largest super fund, QSuper[1]. Council was awarded a $10,000 community prize for its participation in this year's Queen's Baton Relay community events that QSuper was an official supporter for. The ArtReach program is just one way that QSuper is supporting local communities.

The Mindful Art program is being run with the generous support of Helen and Rustum Sethna.

Sunshine Coast Council, Caloundra Regional Gallery, 22 Omrah Avenue.Open Tuesday to Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm.

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