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TRU PACE - Lafayette, CO

TRU PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly), located in Lafayette, coordinates and provides all needed preventive, primary, acute, and long-term care services so that older individuals can continue living safely in their communityPurple Art brings expressive art into their community every Monday.  Clients have embraced painting with fervor, some often painting three or more pictures each week. Emphasis is on freely moving paint around the paper. We encourage use of different colors and implements, even fingers! We also compare and contrast work from other weeks, which can be fascinating. It's all about the experience and having fun!


Boulder, CO

ABBY SIVY: About three years ago I had the pleasure of meeting 85-year-old John Peterson. He attended a group painting class of mine at a senior residential retirement community.


I was facilitating an intuitive painting class. The beauty of intuitive or expressive painting is that there are no rules, or techniques, just experiencing the movement of paint and feeling whatever comes up. It can be a form of expressing oneself, or just finding that childlike ease and joy of creating. Many in his generation were told during childhood that their art was not “good.” Young John was told this very thing about a painting he did of a bear. His view of a "good" artist was someone who was able to perfectly represent something. He never picked up a paintbrush or any form of art after that.


Until he came to my group class. After I explained to him that he did not have to paint something representational, and that all I wanted him to do was have fun with the paint on a canvas, and that there were no rules, he dove in. After he painted, he pulled me aside and with tears in his eyes, told me about his childhood and explained what his painting meant. 


He requested to do one-on-one painting sessions, which have been going on for the last year and a half. John has expressed himself in ways he never thought he could. His joy for painting has grown, so much that he talks about how it has changed his life. He believes it is the most therapeutic thing he has done. I believe it is the most gratifying thing I have done. The following is John's artist's statement from a show we put on in the spring of 2018.

Artist's Statement: John Peterson

I want to tell you about my art “career.” In the seventh grade, Miss Daniell, my art teacher, told me to draw a bear.

The bear I drew looked more like a freight train car than a bear. This was not encouraging, and I never tried to make art again after that.


Then, 75 years later, along comes Abby.

Her advice was simple…"Paint what you feel -- not what you see.”  I have found that following Abby’s advice has resulted in one of the most liberating and joyous feelings I have experienced since my children were born. 


Words can be confining, yet painting is liberating!



Let me encourage you to throw caution to the wind and put your feelings on paper.


We did a wonderful session with a group of seniors in Lafayette at a "Memory Cafe." "Memory Cafés" are social gathering for seniors and their caregivers that have begun cropping up around the country. Different programs are offered each month, and we had a lot of fun doing expressive and intuitive painting!


Originally a concept developed in the United Kingdom (UK), the Memory Café concept was ferried across the pond by Lori La Bey, speaker, radio host, and CEO of Alzheimer's Speaks. She is also one of the founders of J. Arthur's Memory Café—the first official café in the U.S.


La Bey likens Memory Cafés to, "social support groups" for people suffering from dementia and their caregivers. According to La Bey, Memory Café meetings give caregivers and those stricken with dementia "a place where they can go that is safe and comfortable, where they can have friends and interaction."


She points out that the difference between a Memory Café and a support group is that a Café gathering is more about the camaraderie, and less about the disease. This approach invites more candid sharing of ideas and solutions to common issues.



The Academy at BELLA VISTA

Monday mornings we work at Bella Vista, a premier memory care community in Boulder,  to encourage residents to express themselves through painting/artmaking.  Working with cognitively impaired folks requires a unique mode of encouragement and collaboration. We prepare projects that stimulate participation and we bring a light attitude to liven up the afternoon with color and fun!


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