Art Therapy Portfolio

“Animating Aging” is an ongoing project started in 2012, now a growing archive of stop-motion animations produced collaboratively with older adults, exploring treasured objects, stories, and life transitions. Mather LifeWays was awarded the Dignity Through Technology Award for this project in 2015. Here are some of my favorites!

Visiting Grandpa
This video is a stop-motion animation created in collaboration with a 94-year old artist, who had previously created beautifully hand-knitted dolls representing friends, family, and famous figures. When no longer able to knit, we began animating her figures into short films, with the assistance of a neighbor down the hall painting our sets.

The Kentucky Derby
This is a short stop-motion animation created with older adults living with dementia in a single group session. We painted horses, named them, then made a game out of rolling large dice to move our horses across the table, all documented through stop-motion animation. All in all a fun way to spend an afternoon.

The SS United States
This video is a short stop-motion animation with artwork created, photographed, and narrated by Bob, a man in his 90’s with a passion for the SS United States, “the most beautiful ship ever to have existed.”

The Art of Poetry, Part II
Poetry can be a powerful tool for self-expression, connection, and understanding, especially for older adults living with cognitive impairment. Freed from the expectations of rationality and linear progression, words within a poem don’t have to follow any rules. Just like visual art, poetry allows us to express ourselves authentically without worrying about “doing the right thing.” “The Art of Poetry” was a 2014 art therapy project in which older adults living with memory loss met weekly to create and share poems on themes of love, loss, and memory, culminating in a video performance to share their words with family members, friends, and staff.

In August of 2013, I facilitated a Community Weaving Project, traveling a 5×6 foot loom throughout Evanston. We asked visitors of all ages, “What do you like about getting older?” Visitors wove their responses into the community loom, generating a dialogue about aging well.

These images depict artwork made by residents of a memory care facility, as part of the Making Time Project, a component of my masters thesis research from 2012-2013.  As part of this project, inspired by the Clock Drawing Test, I invited individuals living with dementia to make art on clock faces, celebrating connection and collaboration in the present moment.

One comment

  1. This work is fantastic! I absolutely love the interaction, generating a whole bunch of cool quirky work. I bet everyone had a blast, I can see it in the art.

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