AN exhibition of work created by people living with early onset dementia is now open to the public for the first time.
Creative Age, a new exhibition created by a group of the same name, opened on April 22 at Arts Centre Washington.
Our pioneering initiative, funded by Comic Relief and Arts Council England, aims to support cultural venues to widen their offer for people living with dementia.
Running weekly in a number of cultural venues in the North East and Cumbria, Creative Age moves away from memory-based activities for people living with dementia and instead focuses on living in the moment and exploring creativity.
Douglas Hunter, our co-director, said: “Creative Age supports cultural venues to widen their offer and provide people living with dementia and their carers valuable links within their communities.
“There is a growing understanding that creativity is intact long after other cognitive functions decline. Moving away from reminiscence, Creative Age instead focuses on the Imagination Model, exploring people’s ideas and being creative.”
The group as Arts Centre Washington have been working with different artists using different mediums and gaining new skills to create their first exhibition. Opening on Saturday it will include drawings, felting, glasswork, giant portraits, cyanotype printing, animation, fantasy film and a 3D installation of Penshaw Monument.
The Creative Age group meet at Arts Centre Washington every Friday afternoon, the sessions are designed for people living with the early stages of dementia and their carers.
Rachel Hamer, Participation Co-ordinator at Arts Centre Washington, added: “The group have been on an amazing journey from the start of this project to working towards this exhibition. Participants are excited to share the work that they have created and share the skills that they have gained from a range of fantastic artists.
"One of the main benefits that the members have found during the sessions is the peer to peer support and conversations that happen without dementia being the focus of the group but with creativity at the forefront."
Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly added: "Truly, this is what the arts and art are all about as they are helping improve people’s lives through creativity."
The exhibition will run until June 2.