Discussing art can be a powerful tool for people to communicate their feelings and opinions, and instill a better sense of self. When looking at an artwork, whether it was made by Pablo Picasso or Judy from down the hall, it is open to interpretation and everyone’s reaction to that artwork may differ. No matter how someone responds to a piece of art, they may be indifferent or love it; all reactions are valid.
Discussing art is not just about understanding the nuts and bolts of the creation process, it is also about learning how to formulate your own thoughts and express yourself.
When looking at a piece of art, try to avoid asking simple questions such as, do you like it or not?
A more complex question that gets to the root of your artistic taste and style would be, “why do or don’t you like this artwork?”, “what in particular displeases you about the artwork?”, “what are you drawn to in this piece or art?”. These more in-depth questions cause the participants to unravel and analyze their response in a way that is productive and illuminating.
Discussing art (even when it is not complete) can provide new perspectives and self reflection for the artist. It also helps artists to learn from their peers and draw inspiration from others for future projects.
Here are 4 prompts to get the conversations following.
It’s helpful to understand why an artist has chosen a particular subject matter to focus on and their connection to that item, scene or person. By identifying and discussing the connection, the artist is more likely to be thoughtful in their approach and portrayal of the subject matter.
Below are 3 questions to ask your residents to help them identify the motives behind their artwork and better understand the significance of their subject matter (*before they put pen to paper)!
For centuries artists have studied and learned from their predecessors. When looking at iconic artworks, it may be difficult to understand the historical significance of a piece. It’s helpful to learn about an artwork’s place in history and why it was/is relevant. When we are provided context to a piece of art we can better understand the motives of the artist and how it was received by society at the time of its creation; this can also impact our ultimate impression of the artwork.
Here are some great questions to ask your senior living group when viewing historical art.
When do you think this artwork was made, ie. what decade?
What message do you think the artist is trying to convey?
Why do you think this artwork has stood the test of time?
To support residents in a self-motivated art project, it’s helpful to organize a brainstorming and idea session that is completely dedicated to coming up with a new idea for an artwork. Just like when writer’s come up with writer’s block, artists can lack inspiration some days. By setting up a designated brainstorming session, resident artists can explore new ideas and enhance their practice.
Here are three strategies to help overcome ‘artist’s block’ and reinvigorate your artistic practice.
a. Use a photographic prompt. Ask residents to bring down a photo of a loved one to create a personal and heart-felt portrait.
b. Choose a theme to work within. Sometimes narrowing down the scope can help to ignite someone’s creativity. The theme can be broad and abstract like ‘love’ or ‘friendship’, or it could be more specific like ‘birds’.
c. Use digital or printed images. Scan through magazines, newspapers or the internet to find new sources of inspiration. Gather a bunch of options and then narrow it down from there (you may start to see a pattern in your selection).
Talking about art can bring people together in a shared creative space that promotes critical thinking, self-expression and the exchange of different perspectives and ideas.
Try some of these ideas out and tell us how it went! Send an email our way to firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you are curious to learn more about Artfull Enrichment programs or would like to set up a demo and free 30-day pilot please email email@example.com
We have dozens of discussion-style art programs and presentations uniquely designed for senior living communities.