We think that this February is a great month to celebrate all things creative. While you can certainly still celebrate red and pink Valentine’s Day, make this month extra sweet by showing that your community loves all kinds of art. Your group members will love this theme because it truly has something for everyone, and it isn’t intimidating for those who may not feel like artists. Art is anything creative, anything that makes the creator feel good and gives the audience something to talk about. Art can be music, food, or pottery. It can be dancing, writing, or photography. Use February to explore all things art – you just may end up finding a hidden artist (or critic) in the heart of each person participating.
MUSIC – Music is certainly an art form that most can appreciate. For a special activity this month, hold a songwriting activity. You can bring in one of your favorite entertainers to co-lead the program with you, along with a guitar or piano. Consider writing a new chorus to a familiar tune or try writing a new song all together. To help you get started, come to the activity prepared with a few topics or themes to write about, along with the first line or so. The group members can take it from there, adding words or ideas to create a song composed by the group.
SOCIAL – Dancing is beautiful to watch, and fun to do. For a social event this month, ask a local dance studio to bring dancers to lead a demonstration and then a class (for those who can stand or who prefer to dance in a chair). Work with your dance studio to incorporate many types of music, tempos, moves, and even props.
FAMILY – Get families involved with a special scrapbooking legacy night. Serve refreshments and provide plenty of table space, scrapbooking supplies, and sample pages for inspiration. Ask families to bring in a few of their favorite photos of the family. Encourage families to work together to create a scrapbook page, or two, that can be framed as a legacy work of art. Participants can share their memories of that photo on the page and add embellishments to create their own family art. Work with your marketing director to see if he/she could purchase frames for the art pieces, for display at home or at your facility.
FOOD – The kitchen is a great place to get artistic, whether through baking or cooking. Let your dining staff show off to participants as you host your community’s own Top Chef. You just need 2-3 chefs from your dining team to square off on a dish category of your choice (think appetizers or desserts). Chefs can come with their own creation and serve residents as they give an explanation of why they chose their recipe, how they made it, and any other fun facts about it. After participants sample all of the dishes, they will pick their favorite. Award fun prizes to all your chefs, like a wooden spoon that is spray painted gold (the Golden Spoon, of course) and a big round of applause.
SPIRITUAL – Tap into spiritual practices of the Far East by leading a mandala art project. Mandalas are geometric figures that represent our world and the world beyond. Typically circles, mandalas are beautiful. Start by finding a few mandalas to look at as a class, then encourage participants to make their own or to color/paint mandalas that are already drawn. Your whole class will be surprised at how beautiful the work turns out.
CRAFTS – Tie in Valentine’s Day with your We Love Art craft activity by making valentines to pass out to staff members. This is a great activity to clear out some of those craft supplies that are sitting in your storage closet. Pull out your lace, construction paper, paint pens, beads, and sequins, and encourage participants to be creative with the materials.
SENSORY KIT – Try out a pottery sensory kit. Include a few pottery pieces (a bowl and cup/saucer combo work great), along with modeling clay. It’s the modeling clay that is the star of the show, giving residents a fine motor workout as they squish and shape the clay. If the modeling clay is hard for some to work with, use some self-hardening clay, which is softer and can be painted. Add some relaxing music, photos of pottery creations, a lavender essential oil diffuser, and a tea bag to brew a cup of tea and you have a multisensory experience that everyone will enjoy.
INTERGENERATIONAL – Host a love poem social with a local elementary school classroom. Serve heart-shaped cookies and pink lemonade before starting adult/child groups with their task: make a love poem about a silly topic. Pass around a bowl of preselected topics for the groups to draw from (think of things like “a sandwich,” “my pet goldfish,” “a basketball,” or “my old slippers”) and get them started with a good format by reading a few silly Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue poems. Finish out your event by reading their silly poems out loud and giving prizes for the silliest.
GIVING BACK – February is Low Vision Awareness month. Consider working with your Human Resources department to plan a few staff events that could raise money to bring a special kind of art to your group. Bring books to those who have low vision by making a contribution to your local library’s Books on Tape services or by bringing more audio books to your residents through tablets or other technology. Have a “jeans day” where staff must pay $2 to wear jeans, or have a bake sale to raise funds as well. Get families involved by keeping them up to date on your efforts via the community newsletter.
CELEBRATION – Host a “We Love Art” show to display what your participants, family, and staff made during the month. Serve finger food and sparkling cider, and encourage the artists to sit or stand near their works of art to answer any questions about their pieces. Invite the greater community, family members, and the entire staff to celebrate each of your artists!
WE LOVE ART TRIVIA
- Name the three primary colors. Red, Yellow, Blue
- Some people remember the colors of the rainbow, in order, with the acronym ROY G BIV. What colors do those initials stand for? Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
- Mixing which two colors makes green? Yellow and Blue
- The song “Over the Rainbow” was featured in which movie? The Wizard of Oz
- In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends traveled along the yellow brick road to get to which city? Emerald City
- Which song features the lyrics “I see trees of green and red roses, too…”? “What a Wonderful World”
- Which bird, with a colorful breast, is said to usher in spring? Robin
- A male cardinal is red. What color is a female cardinal? Brown
- Artists have drawn Cupid for many centuries as a baby with a special weapon. Which weapon does Cupid typically carry? A bow and arrow
- What color of roses is meant to signify love? Red
WE LOVE ART – THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.” – Joss Whedon
“We Love Art” written by Haley Burress. Copyright 2016 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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