Staff Have Fun Learning How to Paint While Learning Valuable Insights about Caregiving

” I learned to put trust in another person when I could hardly trust myself.” Caregiver and workshop participant

Nineteen staff members of a senior living community gathered for an art workshop unlike any they ever expected. Some were already nervous about painting for the first time. But before they could even put their first brushstroke on their canvas, they learned that any expectations they had of learning how to paint were going to involve a lot more than listening to and watching the instructor!

With their eyes closed and relying on their other senses, they worked collaboratively with their peers to complete their beach paintings. This was just one of the many challenges that they had to overcome that gave them a deeper insight and empathy for those they care for who have mobility and sight impairments.

After completing a collaborative diptych (a painting composed of two panels), participants were asked what they appreciated or learned. Many people shared that they learned how to trust others, value teamwork, and appreciated getting to know other members of the staff in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. One person shared: “I learned that painting is a beautiful thing; it shows how beautiful the world can be when you share it with people you love.”

Daughters Open Doors to Creativity for Others

Since the summer of 2017, the daughters of one of our former clients have been sponsoring other nursing home residents to participate in our creative aging programs through a scholarship in their mom’s honor and memory. We are so very grateful, as are the many seniors who’ve painted because of their generosity!

“Our mother, Marion McAboy, had the rewarding experience of painting for the first time due to the generous gift of a late patient and his family. The fact that Mom had dementia and a stroke did not stand in her way of enjoying this creative activity.

After seeing how much our mother enjoyed her experience, we wanted it to continue. It proved to us to be a beneficial and needed therapeutic experience for both patient and family.  Mom used to tell us as kids that embracing the unknown of new experiences can be challenging but exciting, like an adventure.

Thus, in memory of our Mom, it is our honor and privilege to establish ‘Marion’s Adventures.’ This is a monthly gift for other patients to enjoy an opportunity to enjoy a fun and rewarding creative experience and thereby allowing them as well as us to share in Mom’s fulfilling adventure.”

Connie Gier and Sharon Connor , October 2017

Sept. 2016 Testimonial from INOVA Loudoun Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Activity Department

img_1724“Art Together has provided the residents at INOVA Loudoun Nursing and Rehabilitation Center an opportunity to discover the impossible. Through their collaborative art programs they have brought about creativity, restoration and the preservation of one’s self for those suffering with cognitive impairment. It has inspired our residents with limited speech to use paint to communicate. With special techniques, unusual tools and the touch of one extraordinary hand, residents have been able to bring their imagination to life. It has honored life, fostered dignity and validated self-worth. Our residents have shared beauty with others because of it.“ 

–INOVA Loudoun Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Activity Department


Client Testimonial

Ken at work“I am so happy that my husband Ken, who is 95 years old, is able to reap the benefits of learning how to paint. I love watching him in the process of painting. He is as focused as anyone could ever be. It is a magical experience to see someone who has never done artistic work of this sort create a painting that we are both so proud of!”  –Joanie Walker, June 2014

Client Testimonial

photo_samuel_bunny“Our son Samuel is a bright eight year old boy living with Leigh’s Disease (a mitochondrial disorder similar to ALS). Samuel has reaped many benefits from his weekly art sessions, including improved neuro responses to stimuli and an unmatched pride in his creative art interests.”  –Jennifer and Joseph Bukovac of Leesburg, VA



Learn the funny stories behind  "America's Favorite Illustrator" and his art!

“It is always a joy to have Catherine Fetterman with us! Her enthusiasm for art and her warmth towards our residents is a delight. Her mix of art history and hands-on art class is very captivating. She draws each person in with her knowledge and we look forward to every engaging presentation. I wholeheartedly recommend Catherine to any group desiring to dig deeper into the world of art.” –Chris Kovaluk, Activities Aide, Meadow Glen Assisted Living of Leesburg, VA