Arts the Spark @OMA

Organization Associated with Program
Orlando Museum of Art
2416 N. Mills Ave.
Orlando, Florida 32803

Art’s the Spark, an initiative of the Orlando Museum of Art, uses an interactive tour to stimulate discussion with older people living with memory impairment while encouraging their caregivers to learn more about art. Respite time is included for caregivers to give them the opportunity to engage in networking and social interaction, while studio time for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disabilities builds self-esteem and positive social engagement. The program is offered on one selected Saturday each month from January through October at a time when the museum is closed to the general public. Each session lasts one hour and a half, including a 60-minute tour and 30 minutes of studio activity. All sessions are led by a professional teaching artist or museum educator. The program serves approximately 300 people per year.

Program History

Founded in 1924, the Orlando Museum of Art has a mission reflecting the continued growth of Florida, ardent community support for the arts, and OMA’s role as a leading cultural institution in the region. The museum offers numerous community engagement programs including award-winning art enrichment programs, unlimited gallery tours, teacher in-service training programs, video programs, distinguished lectures, art appreciation lectures, studio classes, lecture/luncheon programs, and outreach services. Art’s the Spark, a signature Museum initiative, was launched in 2010 and developed in association with the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It is reflective of the Orlando Museum of Art’s mission to offer fine art and fine art education to all audiences in central Florida.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Art’s the Spark works to lessen anxiety and encourage better verbalization and self-esteem in people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other neurocognitive disorders, as well as to offer support group services to caregivers. The evaluation system has two tiers. The participant diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other neurocognitive disorders is evaluated before and after the program, while the caregiver completes an evaluation only at upon program conclusion. Staff conduct interviews and individual assessments that are subsequently used to guide plans for future program development and implementation.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

The Orlando Museum of Art encourages all museums to offer programs for people with memory loss and their caregivers.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Folk/Traditional Arts, Museums, Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education, Health / Medicine
Target Audience: Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Cognitive Disabilities
Program Setting: Arts Organization
Program Service Area: Rural, Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice