A Hampshire care home operator is helping people with dementia to make the most of a major public art exhibition.
Family-owned Colten Care has sponsored a series of autumn ‘gallery conversations’ as part of the Shorelines exhibition at the St. Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington.
The collection explores how celebrated artists since the 18th century have drawn inspiration from the cliffs, beaches and harbours of the Channel coast.
Among those featured are Constable, Turner and more recent figures such as Kurt Jackson and Jeremy Gardiner.
The accompanying ‘conversations’ are specifically designed to offer people with dementia or memory loss a welcoming, relaxed opportunity to view and discuss the artworks in the company of specially trained expert interpreters. The conversations are open to family members and carers.
Tim Wookey, Colten Care’s Marketing Director, said: “Talking about visual art right in front of you can prompt memories and emotions among people who may otherwise struggle to express themselves. We are sponsoring and supporting the project as a direct way to make this important exhibition accessible to people with dementia. We want to open it up for people in the wider community as well as residents at our Lymington dementia care home Linden House.”
Gilda Newsham, who co-ordinates Alzheimer’s Society art groups for people with memory loss and dementia, said: “The gallery conversations help to stimulate interaction and provide a positive, comfortable experience. We hope people in the community with dementia will come along and be inspired.”
Some artworks produced by the Alzheimer’s groups in Ringwood, Lymington and Milford are on display within St. Barbe alongside the Shorelines exhibition.
An initial gallery conversation was booked out by the Social Care in Action Group, who brought 15 visitors from the Fenwick Health and Wellbeing Centre in Lyndhurst. The session was led by Laura Bullivant, Community Engagement and Learning Officer at St. Barbe, ahead of a launch reception attended by the Mayor of Lymington, Councillor Michael White.
St. Barbe Director Mark Tomlinson said: “This major exhibition contains many paintings of national significance and it is our role to bring great art such as this to Lymington. It is just as important that this art is accessible to everyone. The gallery conversations offer another meaningful way for people to enjoy art in a comfortable environment. Thank you to Colten Care for working with St. Barbe in this endeavour.”